The iconic Old Course at St Andrews is set to become the centrepiece of the senior golf calendar in 2018 when the Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex returns to Scotland, the Home of Golf, from July 26-29.
It will be the first time in the 32-year history of the Senior Open that the Championship has been played over the majestic Old Course, creating a golden opportunity for the legends of the game to re-live past glories, or avenge near misses and disappointments over the world’s most famous golfing location.
Defending the title will be the remarkable Bernhard Langer, who won at Royal Porthcawl in tremendous style last month and is now exempt for a wonderful ‘double-header’ in Scotland - The 147th Open at Carnoustie from July 19-22 and the Senior Open at St Andrews the following week.
Today, the four qualifying venues for the 2018 Championship have been announced by the event’s joint owners, The R&A and the European Senior Tour. Fairmont St Andrews, Ladybank, Lundin Links and the world’s 13th oldest golf club, Scotscraig, will each host an 18-hole qualifying competition on Monday, July 23.
Two weeks ago, 398 hopefuls jostled for 42 places alongside the 102 exempt players who took part in the 2017 Senior Open Championship, and similar numbers are expected for the quartet of high quality venues in 2018.
Entry forms will be available shortly for the next edition of the Senior Open, which will become the eighth world-famous links course on The Open rota to host Europe’s Senior Major. The others are Turnberry, Royal Lytham & St Annes, Royal Birkdale, Royal Portrush, Muirfield, Royal Troon and Carnoustie.
Fairmont St Andrews, along with Ladybank and Scotscraig, hosted Final Qualifying for The Open in 2010. It was the first time the Torrance course at Fairmont had been used for that purpose, but is well-known on the Senior Tour as the venue for the Scottish Senior Open between 2009 and 2014.
Ladybank has been a constant feature on The Open qualifying rota since 1978 and on six occasions subsequently. Lundin, which celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2018, hosted Final Qualifying six times between 1978 and 2005 with Scotscraig staging that event on six occasions between 1984 and 2010.
Langer, who joined Gary Player and Tom Watson as the only three-time winners of the Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Royal Porthcawl last month, said: “I am looking forward to two very special weeks in Scotland next July. Firstly, I can play another Open Championship at Carnoustie, a links that I love and where I won my Senior Open in 2010.
“Then I can look forward to spending a week in St Andrews to defend my latest Senior Open title. It’s one of my most favourite places and a fantastic place to play golf with all the tradition and history attached to it.”
Ticket registration for the 2018 Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex will be available soon. A special ticketing offer will be available to subscribers only.