Russ Cochran admits he is disappointed at being unable to defend his title at The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex, but the American still hopes his trip to Turnberry can be a week to remember.
Cochran held off the challenge of his compatriots Mark Calcavecchia, Tom Watson and Corey Pavin to win his first Major Championship at Walton Heath last year, firing an impressive closing 67 after beginning his final round with six birdies in ten holes.
However, a back injury, which forced him to retire from the US Senior Open, caused him to miss his chance at playing in The Open Championship last week and it has now also ruled him out of defending his Senior Open title at Turnberry.
Nevertheless, the left-hander is on site at Turnberry and is making the most of his visit to Britain with his family.
“It’s kind of ironic that the place (Britain) that’s given me probably one of my real highlights in golf at last year’s Senior Open has kind of been one of the major disappointments in golf the last couple of weeks,” he said.
“I brought my whole family over here. We have a party of seven and I was looking forward to trying to put up a good defence here and play in The Open as well, but sometimes when these kinds of things happen, you want to fight through them.
“It’s almost better that I wasn’t able to play because I certainly would not have wanted to play at 50 per cent. At the same time, we’re enjoying the country, traveling around and visiting the sites and we are very happy to be here.
“I’ve been hurting for two or three weeks now. I’ve had a little tightness and soreness, and I had to withdraw from the US Senior Open after two rounds. I felt like I was playing pretty well there but I wanted to hedge my bet a little bit for The Open and if that wasn’t going to work, then the Senior Open.
“I’ve never really had any back issues in my life and this strain has just been something I can’t overcome. It’s very disappointing, but at the same time it’s what I was dealt and I’ll deal with it.
“I don’t think I have any type kind of tear and with me, I think it’s just more of a strain. I’m thinking it may be three or four weeks and then I’ll have a full recovery.”