Senior Open Championship
|Location|| United Kingdom
|Established||1987, 29 years ago|
|Course(s)||Carnoustie Golf Links,
|Length||7,345 yards (6,716 m)|
|Tour(s)||European Seniors Tour
PGA Tour Champions
|Prize fund||₤1.25 million
|Tournament record score|
|Aggregate||263 Tom Watson (2003)|
|To par||−18 Bernhard Langer (2014)|
The Senior Open Championship, or simply The Senior Open (and originally known as the Senior British Open) is a professional golf tournament for players aged 50 and over. It is run by The R&A, the same body that organises The Open Championship, and is usually held the week following The Open Championship. Prize money won in the event is official money on both PGA Tour Champions (formerly the Senior PGA Tour and Champions Tour) and the European Seniors Tour. The purse, which is fixed in United States dollars, was $2 million in 2011, with a winner's share of $315,600. For sponsorship reasons, it is currently known as The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex.
The tournament was first held 29 years ago in 1987 and became part of the European Seniors Tour schedule in 1992. In late 2002 it was designated as the fifth major championship on the Champions Tour schedule. All winners before 2003 were not retroactively designated as Champions Tour major winners. Winners gain entry into the following season's Open Championship.
On 2 February 2016, it was announced that the 2018 Senior Open would be held at St Andrews for the first time in the tournament's history, a decision which was heavily influenced by five-time Open champion Tom Watson.
The standard field size is 144 players and an 18-hole qualifying round is held at the championship course on the Monday before the tournament, with a minimum of 24 places available. If fewer than 120 exempt players (see below) enter, the field is filled to 144 with more high finishers from qualifying. If more than 120 exempt players enter, the top 24 finishers earn entry even if it causes the field to expand beyond 144. If an exempt player withdraws before the start of the tournament, his place is filled by an alternate who participated in the qualifying round.
Currently, the following players are exempt from qualifying for The Senior Open, provided they are 50 years old as of the opening day of the tournament. Amateur categories require that the player is still an amateur on the opening day of the tournament.
- Any past winner of The Senior Open Championship
- Past winners of any of the major championships or The Players Championship
- Winners of the European Tour Order of Merit (now Race to Dubai) in first five years of age eligibility
- Winners of the BMW PGA Championship in first five years of age eligibility
- Top 30 from the previous year's European Senior Tour Order of Merit
- Top 50 from the European Senior Tour all-time money list as of the start of the tournament
- Top 30 from the previous year's PGA Tour Champions money list
- Top 50 from the PGA Tour Champions all-time money list as of the start of the tournament
- Top 15 finishers, plus ties, from the previous year's Senior Open Championship
- Winners of official events on the European Senior Tour and PGA Tour Champions in the previous two years (starting with the first tournaments after The Senior Open Championship of two years prior)
- Winners of official events on the European Tour, PGA Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia, Japan Golf Tour, and Sunshine Tour in first year of age eligibility
- Past members of Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup teams in first year of age eligibility
- Winners of the last five editions of all other events recognised as majors by PGA Tour Champions (Senior Players Championship, The Tradition, U.S. Senior Open, Senior PGA Championship)
- Current holder of the Japan PGA Senior Championship
- Current Japan Senior Open champion
- Top four players, not already exempt, in the top 40 of the current year's European Senior Tour Order of Merit as of the start of the tournament
- Top eight players, not already exempt, in the top 75 of the current year's PGA Tour Champions money list as of the start of the tournament
- Current Seniors Open Amateur Champion
- Current U.S. Senior Amateur champion
- Leading amateur in the previous year's Senior Open Championship who completed 72 holes
- The Championship Committee may award special exemptions.
The following men have had more than one win in the Senior British Open Championship through the 2015 tournament:
- 3 wins: Gary Player, Tom Watson
- 2 wins: Brian Barnes, Bob Charles, Bernhard Langer, Christy O'Connor Jnr, Loren Roberts
Winners of both the Open and Senior Open
The following men have won both the Open and the Senior Open, the professional majors run by the R&A.
|Gary Player||1959, 1968, 1974||1988, 1990, 1997|
|Bob Charles||1963||1989, 1993|
|Tom Watson||1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983||2003, 2005, 2007|
|2017||Royal Porthcawl Golf Club||Porthcawl||Bridgend||Wales||TBA|
|2018||Old Course at St Andrews||St Andrews||Fife||Scotland||26–29 July|
- "Senior Open Championship: results". PGA Tour. 24 July 2011. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
- Senior British Open now a Major
- Senior British Open elevated to Senior Major
- Inglis, Martin (3 February 2016). "Tom Watson plays key role as Senior Open heads to St Andrews". bunkered.
- "The Senior Open Championship 2010 – Entry Form" (PDF). PGA European Tour. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
- "Senior Open returns to Sunningdale and Carnoustie". PGA European Tour. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
- "Senior Open Championship to return to Royal Porthcawl in 2017". PGA European Tour. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
- Coverage on the European Seniors Tour's official site
- Coverage on the PGA Tour Champions' official site