Champions Golf Tour
CHAMPIONS - Senior British Open Championship Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, July 23rd through Sunday, July 26th
SITE: Sunningdale Golf Club (Old Course), Berkshire, England
COURSE ARCHITECT: Willie Park Jr (1901)
PAR: 70
YARDAGE: 6,616
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 5 492 Yds10 - Par 4 475 Yds
2 - Par 4 489 Yds11 - Par 4 322 Yds
3 - Par 4 318 Yds12 - Par 4 442 Yds
4 - Par 3 156 Yds13 - Par 3 185 Yds
5 - Par 4 419 Yds14 - Par 5 503 Yds
6 - Par 4 433 Yds15 - Par 3 228 Yds
7 - Par 4 406 Yds16 - Par 4 434 Yds
8 - Par 3 193 Yds17 - Par 4 425 Yds
9 - Par 4 273 Yds18 - Par 4 423 Yds
--------------------------
35 3,179 Yds35 3,437 Yds
 
Annual:  23rd
Television:  TNT - Thursday/Friday -- 12-2 p.m. (et),
  ABC - Saturday -- 1:30-3 p.m. (et),
  Sunday -- 1-3 p.m. (et)
Defending Champion:  Bruce Vaughan
Runner-Up:  John Cook
Tournament Record:  263 (Tom Watson, Carl Mason, 2003)
54-Hole Record:  196 (Carl Mason, 2003)
36-Hole Record:  130 (Loren Roberts, 2006)
18-Hole Record:  62 (Jim Colbert, 2003 - Westin Turnberry - Ailsa Course)
Total Purse:  $2,000,000
Shares:  1st Place - $315,000; 2nd Place - $210,000; 3rd Place - $118,000
 
2008 Finish
PlayerScorePlayerScore
Bruce Vaughan *278Greg Norman282
John Cook278Tom Watson282
Eduardo Romero279Phil Blackmar285
Bernhard Langer280Costantino Rocca285
Gene Jones282Andy Bean286

* - Won in Playoff

 
Past Senior British Open Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2008*Bruce Vaughan (278) -- John Cook
(Royal Troon Golf Club)
2007Tom Watson (284) -- Mark O'Meara, Stewart Ginn
(Muirfield Golf Club)
2006*Loren Roberts (274) -- Eduardo Romero
(Turnberry Resort - Ailsa Course)
2005*Tom Watson (280) -- Des Smyth
(Royal Aberdeen Golf Club - Balgownie Links)
2004Pete Oakley (284) -- Tom Kite, Eduardo Romero
(Royal Portrush Golf Club - Dunluce Links)
2003*Tom Watson (263) -- Carl Mason
(Turnberry Resort - Ailsa Course)
2002Noboru Sugai (281) -- John Irwin
(Royal County Down Golf Club)
2001*Ian Stanley (278) -- Bob Charles
(Royal County Down Golf Club)
2000Christy O'Connor, Jr. (275) -- John Bland
(Royal County Down Golf Club)
1999Christy O'Connor, Jr. (282) -- John Bland
(Royal Portrush Golf Club)
1998*Brian Huggett (283) -- Eddie Polland
(Royal Portrush Golf Club)
1997*Gary Player (278) -- John Bland
(Royal Portrush Golf Club)
1996Brian Barnes (277) -- Bob Charles, David Oakley
(Royal Portrush Golf Club)
1995*Brian Barnes (281) -- Bob Murphy
(Royal Portrush Golf Club)
1994Tom Wargo (280) -- Bob Charles, Doug Dalziel
(Royal Lytham & St. Annes)
1993Bob Charles (291) -- Gary Player, Tommy Horton
(Royal Lytham & St. Annes)
1992John Fourie (282) -- Bob Charles, Neil Coles
(Royal Lytham & St. Annes)
1991Bobby Verwey (285) -- Bob Charles, Tommy Horton
(Royal Lytham & St. Annes)
1990Gary Player (280) -- Deane Beman, Brian Waites
(Turnberry Resort - Ailsa Course)
1989Bob Charles (269) -- Billy Casper
(Turnberry Resort - Ailsa Course)
1988Gary Player (272) -- Billy Casper
(Turnberry Resort - Ailsa Course)
1987Neil Coles (279) -- Bob Charles
(Turnberry Resort - Ailsa Course)

* - Won in Playoff

Note:Formerly called Volvo Senior British Open (1988-90).

Top Contenders in the Field
Player2002200320042005200620072008
Bruce Vaughan---------------T-34Won
John Cook------------------2nd
Eduardo Romero------T-2T-92ndT-43rd
Bernhard Langer------------------4th
Tom WatsonT-14WonT-22WonT-23WonT-5
Greg Norman---------3rd------T-5
Gary Hallberg------------------T-11
Tom Kite---4thT-2mcT-10T-10T-16
Mark McNulty------T-58thT-27T-34T-16
Mark James------4thT-12T-15T-61T-16
Jeff Sluman------------------T-21
John Bland10thT-32T-30T-12wdT-23T-27
Mark Wiebe------------------T-27
Mark O'Meara---------------T-2T-34
Scott Simpson------------T-40T-34T-34
Seiji Ebihara---T-37T-18T-1673rdmcT-34
Scott Hoch---------------T-23T-41
Craig Stadler---19th---4th4thT-73T-51
Pete Oakley------WonmcmcT-48T-68
Des Smyth---13thT-132ndT-27T-10mc
Sam Torrance------T-9T-29mcT-10mc
Bob CharlesT-14T-2065thT-56mcT-34mc
John Harris---mcT-38T-42T-10T-38mc
Bob Gilder---mcT-33T-16mcT-51mc
Bill Longmuir---T-207thT-23mcT-68mc
Gary Player---T-51mcT-61T-6576thmc
Carl Mason---2nd8thT-16T-27mcmc
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Eduardo Romero
Darkhorse - Greg Norman
 
Last week's Pick to Win (Fred Funk) - Finished tied for 34th
Last week's Darkhorse (John Morse) - Finished tied for 31st
 
NOTES:
The Senior British Open Championship returns to Scotland this week for the 23rd edition of this somewhat storied tournament. Now in it's seventh year as an official Champions Tour event and second major of the 2009 year, the Senior British boasts quite a winner's list with Gary Player, Bob Charles, Brian Barnes and Tom Watson. This week, Watson will try to become the first player to win this event four times. He and Player are the only players who have won three times and Watson will carry all of his momentum from last week's amazing playoff loss to Stewart Cink at the British Open Championship.

Last year, Bruce Vaughan drained a 20-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to beat fellow American John Cook and win the Senior British Open Championship. Vaughan closed with a one-under 70 at Royal Troon and took advantage of a mini-collapse by Cook, the third-round leader who lost a three- shot lead with a double-bogey and two bogeys on the back nine. Cook carried a one-shot lead to the 18th hole, but made a closing bogey to post an even-par 71 and force the playoff with his final-round playing partner. The duo finished regulation at six-under-par 278. Cook, after surrendering the lead, put himself in good position to win when the players returned to the par-four 18th for the playoff. He knocked his tee shot into the first cut of rough and then stuck his pin-high approach to 12 feet. Vaughan split the fairway with his drive, but played his second shot to just 20 feet to give Cook the advantage. Putting first, Vaughan took the perfect line on his birdie effort and rolled it in. When Cook pushed his birdie try past the right edge of the cup, Vaughan had his first Champions Tour title and first major championship. Vaughn's only other PGA-sanctioned wins came on the Nationwide Tour in 1994, when he won twice. This week, Vaughn will try to join Christy O'Connor Jr. (1999-2000) and Brian Barnes (1995-96) as the only back-to-back winners of this tournament.

In 2007, Watson won his third Senior British Open in five years, the only survivor to par at tough Muirfield after four windy days on the Scottish coast. Watson closed with a two-over 73 in the final round, making a double- bogey at the 18th hole, but still beating Mark O'Meara and Stewart Ginn by a shot. He met an old foe in Muirfield, the site of his 1980 British Open victory on the PGA Tour. The weather cooperated for Watson down the stretch, with clouds yielding to blue skies as he closed out his fifth major on the Champions Tour. Watson now owns eight British Open titles among his 13 career majors on the PGA and Champions Tours. He ended the event at even-par 284.

In 2006, Loren Roberts parred the first playoff hole to defeat Eduardo Romero and win the Senior British Open. Roberts opened with two rounds of 65 to set a new 36-hole record of 130, breaking the old mark of 131 established by Player in 1988 and Carl Mason in 2003.

In 2005, Watson parred the third playoff hole to defeat Des Smyth and win the Senior British Open Championship for the second time. It was Watson's first win since losing his longtime caddie Bruce Edwards, who succumbed to ALS in April, 2004.

When Watson won in 2003 at Turnberry, site of last week's Open Championship, he joined Bob Charles as the only player to win both a Senior British Open and British Open at the same venue. Watson captured the 1977 British Open at Turnberry. Charles' one-stroke victory over Player in the 1993 Senior British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes came 30 years after his playoff victory over Phil Rodgers in the British Open there. The New Zealander's winning score of three-over par 291 at Royal Lytham was the highest in Senior British Open Championship history. Charles, a two-time winner of this event, has been a runner-up five times. He is the only player to have competed in all 22 Senior British Open Championships. When he prevailed in 2003, Watson became the first player to win this event with four consecutive rounds in the 60s. Besides Watson, only Brian Huggett (1998), O'Connor, Jr. (2000) and Ian Stanley (2001) have won Senior British Opens with four consecutive sub-par rounds.

In 2004, long shot Pete Oakley, who qualified for the tournament two days before it started, closed the Senior British Open with a two-under 70 in the final round to win his first Champions Tour title by one stroke. He finished with a winning score of four-under-par 284 in just his second trip to the Senior British Open. It was his 18th appearance in a major championship overall.

In 2004, Australian Graham Marsh made a pair of aces on the same hole, a first in Champions Tour history. Marsh aced the 11th hole in the first round and again in the third round.

When Noboru Sugai won in 2002, he battled wet and windy conditions in his final round of 74 to become the first competitor since Player in 1988 to win wire-to-wire.

When Player won his third Senior British Open Championship in 1997 at age 61, he became the oldest player ever to win this event. Player's brother-in-law, Bobby Verwey, won the Senior British Open at 50 years, five months and 23 days, the youngest winner in championship history. In 1990, Player scored the biggest come-from-behind victory in Senior Open Championship history at Turnberry. Despite posting a five-over 75 on the final day, Player rallied from five strokes down to edge Deane Beman and Brian Waites by a stroke.

The Champions Tour moves back to the United States next week for the third major championship of the season, the U.S. Senior Open, where Eduardo Romero will defend his title.

07/21 15:49:03 ET

As of July 21, 2009, at 03:49 PM ET