Senior British Open 2014: Players to Watch at Royal Porthcawl

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJuly 21, 2014

Tom Watson of the US plays a shot off the 4th tee during the second day of the British Open Golf championship at the Royal Liverpool golf club, Hoylake, England, Friday July 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Scott Heppell/Associated Press

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.

Colin Montgomerie

EDMOND, OK - JULY 13:  Colin Montgomerie of Scotland poses with the winner's trophy after winning the 2014 U.S. Senior Open Championship in the final round at Oak Tree National on July 13, 2014 in Edmond, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Imag
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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:

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.


Tom Watson

HOYLAKE, ENGLAND - JULY 19:  Tom Watson of the United States tees offduring the third round of The 143rd Open Championship at Royal Liverpool on July 19, 2014 in Hoylake, England.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

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:

At this point, is anyone going to doubt him? 


Bernhard Langer

EDMOND, OK - JULY 13:  Bernhard Langer of Germany chips from the bunker over the 16th green during the final round of the 2014 U.S. Senior Open Championship at Oak Tree National on July 13, 2014 in Edmond, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Ima
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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. 

Oh, and he also has 12 top-10 finishes this year. And he leads the Champions Tour in greens per regulation. And ball striking. And, well, he's up there in a slew of other categories. 

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. 


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