IN A SUMMER IN WHICH WE HAVE BEEN BLESSED WITH ICONIC COURSES FOR SIGNIFICANT EVENTS ACROSS THE WORLD INCLUDING THE OLD COURSE, ST ANDREWS FOR THE 150TH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, HILLSIDE FOR THE CAZOO CLASSIC, THE COUNTRY CLUB FOR THE US OPEN, ROYAL LYTHAM FOR THE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP AND Hunstanton for the women's amateur championship, it seems only fitting that the senior open comes to a course which is part of the history of the game and set in a landscape of breathtaking and uniquely Scottish beauty.
the kings course at gleneagles will stage its first significant men's professional event since the 1994 bell's Scottish open this week, and the legends of the game will do battle for their own claret jug in the 35th edition of the senior major. sanctioned by the legends tour and PGA Tour champions, this championship is set to evoke memories of past glories for the likes of Ian woosnam, who won twice around the kings course in the bell's Scottish open.
woosnam is joined by us senior open champion padraig Harrington, 5-time senior open champion Bernhard langer, 2018 senior open champion Miguel angel Jimenez, defending champion Stephen Dodd, 2-time masters champion Jose Maria olazabal, 2-time major winner sandy lyle, 2012 Johnnie walker championship at gleneagles winner (1999 open champion) Paul Lawrie, David Duval, Darren Clarke, Ernie els, Corey pavin, vijay Singh, padraig harrington, rich beem, shaun Micheel, ye yang, Colin Montgomerie, Thomas Bjorn and a multitude of past winners on the European and pga tours.
we are set for a sensational week of championship golf with remarkable weather in an even more remarkable place, and the 156 players are set to add to the incredible history of not only this championship, but the glorious playground, gleneagles.
the kings course has taken a back seat to its younger sibling in recent years when it comes to staging big golf events, but this week the greatest of the three courses here is set to shine as bright as the sun which is scorching it right now. its a moment in history for the course, which celebrated its 100th year back in 2019, and with gleneagles hotel itself approaching its centenary in 2024, let us look back at the astounding tournament history of one of Scotland's truly iconic golfing destinations.
the PGA Centenary Course, originally known as the monarch's course, opened in 1993 and is designed by jack Nicklaus, making it the only Nicklaus design currently open for play in the united kingdom. the opening, as you would expect, was a grand affair and featured Nicklaus himself, along with stars of the sporting world and celebrities from stage and screen including Jackie Stewart and Sean Connery.
within 6 years the course would host the European tour with the Scottish PGA Championship launching in 1999, and would later be renamed the JOHNNIE WALKER CHAMPIONSHIP at gleneagles. the event would be won by young stars Paul Casey and Adam Scott in 2001 and 2002 respectively, and would go on to become the final qualifying event for the European Ryder cup team. famously in 2010 Italian Edoardo molinari birdied the final 3 holes to secure the title and ensure Colin Montgomerie virtually had no other choice than to pick him for his team at Celtic manor.
Thomas Bjorn would overcome 5 others in a remarkable 6-man playoff in 2011 before Paul Lawrie added to his collection of Scottish titles at iconic destinations with success in the 2012 edition. the final Johnnie walker championship was played in 2013, a year prior to the resort hosting the long-awaited Ryder cup, and youngster Tommy Fleetwood claimed his first European tour title with victory in a playoff against home favourite Stephen Gallagher and Argentine Ricardo gonzalez.
gleneagles was awarded the Ryder cup in 2001 AND THE COURSE UNDERWENT SEVERAL CHANGES TO ENSURE IT WAS OF THE CALIBRE REQUIRED TO STAGE GOLF'S GRANDEST EVENT. THERE WERE FEARS OF BAD WEATHER IN SEPTEMBER IN SCOTLAND, BUT THOSE WERE MISPLACED AND THE SUN SHONE FOR MUCH OF THE WEEK, AND EUROPE PREVAILED IN FRONT OF THE A PARTIZAN CROWD IN THE SHADOW OF THE OCHIL HILLS. GLENEAGLES HAD, IF IT NEEDED TO, PROVEN ITS BIG EVENT CREDENTIALS.
4 YEARS LATER WHEN GLASGOW CO-HOSTED THE 2018 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS, A MULTI-SPORT EVENT SHARED WITH BERLIN, THE GOLF EVENT WAS PLAYED ON THE PGA CENTENARY COURSE BUT FEATURED VERY FEW OF THE WORLD'S TOP PLAYERS, DUE TO THE ALREADY CROWDED GOLFING CALENDAR, AND BEING PLAYED OPPOSITE THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP IN AUGUST. THE EVENT FEATURED MEN'S, WOMEN'S AND MIXED TEAM EVENTS DURING THE WEEK, WITH GEORGIA HALL BEING THE MOST NOTABLE PARTICIPANT.
12 MONTHS LATER THE BEST WOMEN GOLFERS FROM EUROPE AND THE UNITED STATES WOULD DO BATTLE IN WHAT WOULD TURN OUT TO BE A TRULY STUNNING 2019 Solheim cup. ONCE AGAIN THE PGA CENTENARY COURSE WAS THE SETTING FOR THE EVENT, AND IT WAS STAGED WONDERFULLY, WITH THE REGULAR RANGE AGAIN SERVING AS THE TENTED VILLAGE AND ARENA FOR THE SPECTACULAR OPENING CEREMONY EVENT FEATURING SEVERAL EMERGING SCOTTISH ACTS AND BEING HEADLINED BY TEXAS. ON THE COURSE EUROPE PREVAILED IN DRAMATIC FASHION WITH THE RETIRING SUZANN PETTERSEN SECURING THE WINNING POINT ON THE FINAL HOLE.
THE SOLHEIM CUP AND RYDER CUP HAVE SECURED THE LEGACY OF THE PGA CENTENARY COURSE, ADDING TO THE INCREDIBLE TOURNAMENT HISTORY OF GLENEAGLES, A HISTORY WHICH BEGAN WITH THE KINGS COURSE AND FLOURISHED WITH THE STAGING OF THE BELL'S SCOTTISH OPEN.
Percy Alliss WON THE 1935 SCOTTISH OPEN AT GLENEAGLES, BUT IT WOULD NOT RETURN FOR ANOTHER 52 YEARS.
when it did return it spent 8 glorious years at gleneagles, in the glorious playground, and attracted many superstar players to play IN THE WEEK PRIOR TO THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP. THE 1987 EDITION WAS WON BY Ian Woosnam IN COMMANDING FASHION, THE WELSHMAN WON BY 7 SHOTS OVER PETER SENIOR, DOMINATING A FIELD WHICH INCLUDED SEVE BALLESTEROS, Fred Couples, JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL, MARK JAMES, EAMONN DARCY, HOWARD CLARK, TOM KITE, SAM TORRANCE, RONAN RAFFERTY, WAYNE GRADY, KEN BROWN AND JOSE RIVERO. THE 20-UNDER-PAR SCORE SHOT BY WOOSNAM WAS ONLY BETTERED BY Bernd Wiesberger SOME 33 YEARS LATER IN 2019.
IN 1988 Barry Lane WAS VICTORIOUS IN THE BELL'S SCOTTISH OPEN, WINNING BY 3 OVER THAT YEAR'S MASTERS CHAMPION Sandy Lyle. IN 1989 MICHAEL ALLAN BECAME THE FIRST AMERICAN WINNER OF THE SCOTTISH OPEN, DEFEATING JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL AND Ian Woosnam BY 2 SHOTS. WOOSNAM'S LOVE OF GLENEAGLES WAS THERE FO ALL TO SEE AGAIN IN 1990, WINNING AGAIN BY A COMFORTABLE 4 STROKES OVER Mark McNulty, AND 8 OVER THE FOLLOWING WEEK'S OPEN CHAMPION, Nick Faldo.
AUSTRALIAN Craig Parry WOULD TAKE THE TITLE IN 1991, EDGING Mark McNulty BY A SINGLE STROKE, BEFORE IN 1992 ARGUABLY THE MOST FAMOUS OF ALL THE SCOTTISH OPEN'S AT GLENEAGLES TOOK PLACE.
WORLD NUMBER two Nick Faldo WAS HEADLINING THE FIELD, A WEEK BEFORE HE WOULD WIN THE OPEN FOR A THIRD TIME AT MUIRFIELD, AND HE WAS IN SERIOUS CONTENTION TO WIN THE BELL'S SCOTTISH OPEN, ALONGSIDE HOME FAVOURITE AND NEW, YOUNG SUPERSTAR, Colin Montgomerie. THE FIELD ALSO INCLUDED Ian Woosnam, WHO BY NOW HAD WON THE MASTERS IN 1991, Bernhard Langer, WHO WOULD WIN THE MASTERS FOR A SECOND TIME IN THE FOLLOWING APRIL, Larry Mize, Ben Crenshaw, Vijay Singh, Sandy Lyle, TOM WEISKOPF, MARK BROOKS, DUFFY WALDORF, LEE JANZEN AND ISAO AOKI. BUT NONE OF THEM HAD RECKONED ON THE SPECTACULAR, STUPENDOUS PLAY OF AUSTRALIAN Peter O'Malley.
O’Malley PRODUCED A QUITE OUTRAGEOUS SUNDAY BACK NINE OF 28 and completed his last five holes in seven-under-par: eagle, birdie, birdie, birdie, eagle TO STUN FALDO AND MONTGOMERIE, AND WIN BY TWO STROKES, DENYING THE HOME FAVOURITE AND THE WORLD'S BEST GOLFER.
THAT WAS THE HIGH WATER MARK OF THE BELL'S SCOTTISH OPEN, AND THE TOURNAMENT WOULD LEAVE GLENEAGLES AFTER THE 1994 EDITION AND DISCONTINUATION OF BELL'S SPONSORSHIP. THIS ALSO MARKED THE END OF TOURNAMENT GOLF AT GLENEAGLES UNTIL THE SCOTTISH PGA CHAMPIONSHIP (WOULD BECOME THE JOHNNIE WALKER CHAMPIONSHIP) WAS LAUNCHED IN 1999.
THE KINGS COURSE OPENED IN 1919, AND SHORTLY AFTER THE QUEEN'S FOLLOWED. 2 YEARS LATER THE COURSE HOSTED WHAT IS BELIEVED TO BE THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL MATCH BETWEEN PROFESSIONALS OF THE UNITED STATES AND GREAT BRITAIN, A PRE-CURSOR TO THE RYDER CUP AS PART OF PREPARATIONS FOR THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, WHICH WAS BEING PLAYED AT THE OLD COURSE, ST ANDREWS. THIS WOULD NOT BE THE FIRST TOURNAMENT PLAYED AT GLENEAGLES, AS THE GLASGOW HERALD TOURNAMENT MADE ITS DEBUT IN 1920 AND RAN UNTIL 1926, THIS WAS FOLLOWED BY THE 1935 CURTIS CUP AND 1957 WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN (THIS IS NOT THE SAME TOURNAMENT WHICH IS NOW KNOWN AS THE AIG WOMEN'S OPEN).
IN 1974, 1976 AND 1977 THE KINGS COURSE WOULD HOST THE SKOL LAGER OR DOUBLE DIAMOND INDIVIDUAL, WITH THE 1977 EDITION SEEING SIR NICK FALDO CLAIM THE FIRST PROFESSIONAL TITLE OF HIS CAREER.
GLENEAGLES WOULD CONTINUE ITS HERITAGE OF HOSTING WOMEN'S EVENTS WITH THE MCDONALD'S WPGA CHAMPIONSHIP OF EUROPE FROM 1996 TO 1999, THE MOST RECENT SIGNIFICANT PROFESSIONAL EVENTS TO BE STAGED ON THE KINGS COURSE.
ASIDE FROM THESE EVENTS GLENEAGLES ALSO BECAME SYNONYMOUS WITH BBC PRO-CELEBRITY GOLF, REGULARLY FEATURING ON THE TV SERIES HOSTED BY PETER ALLISS BETWEEN 1981 AND 1988. THE SHOW FEATURED A PLETHORA OF SUPERSTAR GOLFERS INCLUDING SEVE, MILLER, WEISKOPF AND TREVINO AMONG OTHERS, ALONG WITH CELEBRITIES FROM SPORT, STAGE AND SCREEN. THE SERIES IS CREDITED WITH GROWING INTEREST IN THE GAME IN THAT TIME.
THE 2022 SENIOR OPEN PRESENTED BY ROLEX HAS ASSEMBLED A STUNNING FIELD OF LEGENDARY MAJOR CHAMPIONS, AND THERE IS NO DOUBT THEY WOULD ALL LOVE TO ADD THEIR NAME TO THE ROLL OF HONOUR OF BOTH THE CHAMPIONSHIP AND GLENEAGLES. MANY OF THIS WEEK'S FIELD PARTICIPATED IN THE BELL'S SCOTTISH OPEN ON THE KINGS COURSE IN THE 80'S AND 90'S AND NO DOUBT THIS WILL EVOKE MEMORIES OF THAT GOLDEN PERIOD FOR GOLF AT GLENEAGLES.