Ian Woosnam admits he will be a proud Welshman when his country hosts The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex for the first time this month, and the former World Number One is hoping to produce a performance befitting the special occasion.
Wales’ greatest golfer will undoubtedly have the home support on his side when Royal Porthcawl Golf Club welcomes the world’s leading senior stars, including Bernhard Langer, Miguel Angel Jiménez, Colin Montgomerie and Tom Watson, from July 24-27.
The 2006 European Ryder Cup captain, who won two European Tour titles on home soil, narrowly missed out on capturing the Wales Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl in 2009 and last year, finishing tied third on both occasions.
He is now hoping the Welsh fans can inspire him to be in contention once again as the Bridgend links becomes the 12th different venue to host The Senior Open Championship.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever had a Senior Major in Wales, so it’s pretty special for the country and obviously I’d love to play well,” said Woosnam.
“I’m very proud that The Senior Open is coming to Wales. We do have courses in Wales that can cope with The Senior Open and big tournaments.
“We had The Ryder Cup in Wales in 2010 and we’ve had the Welsh Open over the years, so this will keep Wales on the map. For a lot of the American players, it will be the first time they have been to Wales, so hopefully they will get the chance to see what we have to offer.
“I’m hoping we get some big crowds to come out and support us. It will be interesting to see how the course is set up. If the weather is fine, you can shoot five, six under par, like I did last year, but if the wind blows, level par is a good one. So it really all depends on the conditions we get.
“Some of the American players have been asking me about the course when I’ve been playing over there. I’ve told them to be prepared for a tough test and to get their low ball out if the wind blows.
“I do know the course well so that could be an advantage to me, but then I also know where the trouble is too.”
Woosnam’s glittering collection of global titles already includes a Major Championship following his victory in the 1991 Masters Tournament, and he is planning to hone his game on some of Wales’ famous links courses as he attempts to become only the second player from the country to win The Senior Open Championship, after Brian Huggett 16 years ago.
“I didn’t play too well at Royal Birkdale last year, so hopefully I will get off to a good start this year and be up there,” said Woosnam, who in 2008 became the first former European Tour Number One to win the Senior Tour Order of Merit. “I’m going to spend a few days in Wales before we go to Royal Porthcawl and play some of the courses to get some sea links practice. I’ll go to Aberdovey and Harlech, then maybe Tenby as I’ve never been there. We’ve got some great courses so it will be nice to spend some time playing them.”
Woosnam will be also using his homecoming to help unearth the next generation of Welsh talent as part of the Valleys Golf initiative involving local schoolchildren, which will take place the day before the start of The Senior Open Championship.
Tickets are now on sale to see Woosnam and many more of golf’s most iconic names in action at Royal Porthcawl.
Any One Day tickets for the biggest Senior golf championship in Europe are priced at £30, while season tickets, which include the Official Practice Day on Wednesday, July 23, are only £80. Practice day entry on July 23 only is £15.
Under-16s are admitted free of charge, while car parking is located on site close to the course and is also free. Anyone wishing to sample the golf and also the facilities within Porthcawl town centre will be able to hop on and hop off an open top double decker bus which will run daily between a number of locations around the town and the golf course.
For adults and kids alike, there is plenty of fun to be found in the Activity Zone located in the Tented Village at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club. There is an opportunity to enjoy the facilities within the Village and participate in a number of activities including free PGA golf lessons supported by The R&A in the Swing Zone while Golf Development Wales will be on site to lend their support to the activities.
Also, the public will be invited to attempt a range of challenges, both authentic and with a simulator, such as trying to hole in one or hole a bunker shot – all for the cost of a minimum £2 donation towards the Championship’s two Official Charities, Age Cymru and Tenovus.
Additionally, hospitality packages for the four official days of championship play are selling out fast. Friday is already sold out and Sunday is filling up quickly so act now to purchase an outstanding day out at Royal Porthcawl, for just £99 plus VAT.
The Senior Open Hospitality package will be located within our tented village which is located close to the 18th green and includes admission ticket, parking, breakfast, two-course lunch with wine, programme and drawsheet and guaranteed seat in the 18th green grandstand.
Tickets for The 2014 Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Royal Porthcawl can be bought online via www.senioropengolf.com or by calling +44 (0)800 0232557, with details of the hospitality packages also available.