With the Open Championship at Hoylake behind us, we now turn to the Senior British Open, the first ever to be played in Wales at Royal Porthcawl.
The questions leading up to the tournament are plentiful. Will anybody replicate Rory McIlroy's impressive showing at the Open Championship? Can anybody stop Colin Montgomerie? Will Tom Watson continue his dominance of the tournament?
Let's break it down.
Is anybody going to bet against this guy?
Given the recent form he's in this year, it probably wouldn't be wise. Montgomerie has won two majors this year, reversing a career trend he was probably quite pleased to put behind him.
From Justin Ray of the Golf Channel:
Colin Montgomerie: 0-for-71 in his career in the 'regular' majors. Now 2-for-7 in Champions Tour majors.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) July 13, 2014
While Montgomerie isn't entirely sure what has sparked his dominance at the majors this year, he offered a few theories to Martin Dempster of The Scotsman:
Yes, that’s me two majors up this year on both Tiger and Rory. You wait 24 years for something to happen and two majors turn up around the same time—it’s amazing. I definitely feel it’s been a case of getting a monkey off my back, especially in America.
I think it’s just a confidence thing. I gained a bit of that from the way I played at Benton Harbour in the Senior PGA and that gives you confidence. You know that you’ve beaten these guys once then feel you can go out and do it again.
He's certainly earned plenty of confidence heading into the Senior British Open. For Montgomerie, it's all about maintaining momentum and continuing to do what has been working so well this year.
If he's on his game, it's hard to imagine anyone beating him at this tournament.
Of course, if there is one man who can knock Montgomerie off his perch in Wales, it's most certainly Tom Watson.
All Watson has done in his career is win five Claret Jugs and conquer the Senior British Open in 2003, 2005 and 2007. And, just this past weekend, he made the cut at Hoylake and finished with a 68 on Friday, finishing a mere stroke over par for the tournament. At the age of 64, that's an astonishing performance.
And with a win, well, he could add another bit of history to his long and successful career, per Jason Sobel of the Golf Channel:
Tom Watson tearing it up. He's 64. How old is that? If he wins again, he'll be oldest winner ever. Not just on PGA Tour. On Champions Tour.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) July 20, 2014
At this point, is anyone going to doubt him?
Don't sleep on Bernhard Langer. With three wins on the Champions Tour this year, and after losing in a playoff at the Senior British Open a year ago, Langer is absolutely a man to watch in this tournament.
Take away the majors this year, and there's no doubt that Langer is the top player on the Champions Tour. At the Senior British Open, he might prove it.