Watson absent but US Open great contest
BY Bruce Young | Champions Tour | 2011 US Senior Open Championship | Preview | 28 Jul 2011
The mid season Champions Tour schedule retains its intensity this week when the US Senior Open is played immediately following last week’s Senior Open Championship held in England.
The Inverness Golf Club in Toledo Ohio is the venue for this week’s event where Bernhard Langer will aim to defend the title he won last year when winning by three shots over Fred Couples and John Cook at the Sahallee Golf Club near Seattle.
Inverness is known for its multiple stagings of the US Open and PGA Championships the last of those coming at the 1993 PGA Championship when Paul Azinger defeated Greg Norman in a playoff for the title.
There was another hard luck story for Norman at Inverness when fell victim to Bob Tway’s holed bunker shot at the final hole of the 1986 PGA Championship.
The last US Open held at the course was in 1979 when Hale Irwin defeated Gary Player and Jerry Pate by two shots.
The course also held a US Senior Open in 2003 when Bruce Lietzke defeated Tom Watson.
That is in the past however and looking ahead to this week then those players currently in form on the Champions Tour are those likely to feature this week.
Langer is working his way back from injury and a solid week when 12th at the Senior Open Championship last week suggests he is getting close.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this week’s event is the non appearance of Tom Watson who played so well in Britain in the past two weeks but has decided instead to play the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic out of respect for a commitment he made to that event’s organisers. It seems a strange decision but one typical of Watson.
It brings into mind as to just what a great week would do for Watson if he was to play very well. Watson is a long way at this point from consideration for a place in the Presidents Cup side but given that he has won at Royal Melbourne and that he is the type of player that course suits then is the suggestion as preposterous as it might initially appear? How good would it be for the tournament although captain’s selections in an event of that nature should not be made on what is best for the tournament.
Russ Cochran could conceivably follow in the footsteps of Langer and go back to back in 2011 as Langer did in 2010. Cochran won the Senior Open Championship at Walton Heath last week and given that it was his 6th top 5 in 9 starts this season it would be a surprise if he was not in the mix on Sunday.
Tom Lehman and John Cook must also be automatic considerations in what is a strong field.
The Australians in the field are Peter Senior and Graham Marsh, Senior looking to recapture some form after a few in different weeks by his standards.
Marsh won this tournament in 1997 but has seldom played in 2011 as he winds his outstanding competitive career down.
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