Senior British Open 2013: Players to Watch at Royal Birkdale

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IJuly 21, 2013

TURNBERRY, SCOTLAND - JULY 29:  Fred Couples of the United States poses with the trophy after the final round of the Senior Open Championship played over the Ailsa Course, Turnberry on July 29, 2012 in Turnberry, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Phil Inglis/Getty Images)
Phil Inglis/Getty Images

If the 2013 British Open has left you hankering for more major links golf, you are in luck. The Senior British Open rolls our way July 25 to 28. 

The world's best 50-and-over players will take on Royal Birkdale in Southport, England in a quest to add this major title to their resume. 

The famed course will be hosting this event for the first time, but it is no stranger to major golf. It has hosted the British Open nine times. 

All of this should set up for a competitive and fun tournament. Here are three players I expect to make a run at the title. 


Fred Couples

Defending champion Fred Couples is in a great position to make another run at the title. For a sign of that, we need just look at this past weekend's action. 

Playing in the British Open, Couples finished tied for 32nd. What's more, he did that after improving each day. Couples shot a 75 in the opening round, a 74 in the second, 73 in the third and a 71 on the final day. 

Couples struggled with his accuracy in ball striking in that tournament, but he was above the tournament average while needing just 1.62 putts per green. 

Couples will now likely take that hot putting hand into the Senior Open, where that and his booming distance will pay big dividends. 


Colin Montgomerie

Colin Montgomerie is set to be the young whippersnapper in this field. He turned 50 at the end of June and has just two Champions events under his belt. 

He tied for ninth in his first event and then placed 30th at the U.S. Senior Open. 

Montgomerie narrowly missed out on qualifying for the British Open despite his rushed schedule, so he should have his game prepared for the links test. 

And I expect him to be anxious to get a crack at winning this title.

Montgomerie has famously never won a major despite being in contention numerous times. While winning a major on the Champions Tour is not the same as doing so with the younger guys, I have to believe he would love to add a major of any kind. 


Tom Watson

We can't talk about a British Open without checking in on Tom Watson. Watson is 63, but he still has a knack for links golf.

He failed to make the cut at Muirfield after firing a 75 and 78, and he'll need to do a better job of hitting fairways if he wants to contend for the senior title. He hit just 57.1 percent of his fairways. 

However, I don't think anyone would be surprised if this five-time British Open champion and two-time Senior Open champion pieces together a strong tournament.

The last of Watson's British Open wins came at Royal Birkdale in 1983. He has fond memories at this course and this event, and I expect Watson to take fans on another wild ride.