Andrew Oldcorn: I'd have played in Senior Open at Gleneagles on one leg
“I’d have played on one leg here, to be honest,” said the Edinburgh man as he prepared to join Colin Montgomerie, Sandy Lyle, Paul Lawrie, Euan McIntosh and Scott Henderson in flying the Saltire in the over-50s major, which starts on Thursday.
Both the 2014 Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup in 2019 were staged on the PGA Centenary Course at the Perthshire venue, but the King’s Course is staging this week’s $2.75 million event.
For many players in the field, including Oldcorn, it’s stirring memories of playing there in the Bell’s Scottish Open, the event’s spiritual home.
“Awesome,” said Oldcorn of being back. “I must admit that I have been looking forward to this for a long time because we knew it was here and it was then pushed back a year due to Covid.
“I’ve got many happy memories from the early part of my career playing the Bell’s Scottish Open here as that was just an awesome golf tournament.
“It’s a totally different golf course from then, though. They’ve put some new tees in and I spoke to David Williams, the tournament director, and said, ‘Willy, I can’t get over the hill at the 12th and 50 per cent of the field won’t get over that hill’.
“Yesterday me and Jock Bickerton had to hit 3-wood off the tee then another 3-wood and we still couldn’t reach the green. Those long enough to hit it over the hill are left with a wedge for the second shot.
“It’s going to be quite challenging for me in terms of the length, but I’ve played it so many times that I can hopefully adapt my game to what’s out there.”
Even though it sits in the heart of Scotland, the King’s Course is not only looking links but also playing linksy.
“When we played in Germany last week, it was bone hard and it’s not as bouncy as that, but there is a bit of run and for me that is essential as it’s got to be playing over 7000 yards,” added Oldcorn.
“Also, I had Covid three weeks ago and I’m still really struggling to get back to full fitness. I played last week when I was about 30 per cent fit just to get something in my legs to play this week, but I’m still only 50 per cent fit.
“I’ve no expectations other than making the cut and then take it from there. I know I’m not fully fit, but I don’t care. It’s a major so you just get on with it.”
Padraig Harrington, who won the US Senior Open last month, heads a field that also includes Ernie Els, Darren Clarke and Retief Goosen.
Referring to Harrington, Oldcorn said: “He’s still a tour length golfer in a seniors’ body. When he won at the US Senior Open, there was no-one within 30 yards of him in the driving stats and that’s the whole of the Champions Tour - the best they’ve got.
“I’d say he’s the favourite. When we played the course yesterday, we said that somebody that can bomb it as far as he can has a massive advantage this week and he’s obviously in form, so I’d say he’s the man to beat.”