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The Northern Irishman has tasted success twice since turning 50 in 2018 – both on the PGA TOUR Champions – and tees it up in Berkshire this week having finished in a tie for tenth on his Championship debut in 2019 at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
The 2011 Champion Golfer of the Year could become just the fourth player to win both The Open and The Senior Open this week, with only Gary Player, Bob Charles and Tom Watson having achieved the feat in the game’s history.
“The Majors are all Majors,” he said. “They are the ones we want to win more. Sometimes it’s easy to get ahead of yourself, and this is a really important tournament, you want to play well and you want to win them.
“But at the same time if you put too much pressure on yourself and expect too much of yourself, that’s when you make mistakes. These are the ones you want to win. You want to win the Majors when you’re on the European Tour and you want to win the ones out here, as well. I would dearly love to add the Senior Open next to my Claret Jug.”
A strong field is set to compete for Europe’s Senior Major Championship this week, including 2018 Ryder Cup Captains Thomas Bjørn and Jim Furyk, and a total of 12 Major Champions, with the stunning Sunningdale Golf Club providing the perfect setting.
“It’s a good field and it’s pretty strong,” he said. “I think it goes without saying with all the Covid restrictions, a lot of my colleagues weren’t able to travel and compete with us but that’s the way it is. We’re in a different world right now. You’ve got Ernie [Els] and so many great players that are very good this week, as well, so I think the fans are in for a treat.
“I can’t sing its praises high enough. It’s a beautiful walk. The golf course is in sensational condition. There are birdie opportunities out there but already there is bogeys and double-bogeys, if you don’t know what you’re doing or hit it in the wrong place. But it’s a wonderful walk. Any time I get a chance to come back and play Sunningdale, I love it.
“I think it’s going to be wonderfully entertaining. I think you’re going to see some really, really good scoring. But Sunningdale is one of those golf courses where when you play it, you think you’re going to have lots of chances and you go out and play with a card in your hand, it’s a very different golf course.
“It’s going to be a wonderful challenge, and if the weather stays like it is, I think we’re going to have a very exciting week of golf.”