People may look down on the U.S. Senior Open, which will be held at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs this Thursday through Sunday. They may say it’s not the real U.S. Open—it’s just a bunch of past-their-prime, white-belt-wearing duffers who don’t actually matter.
Well, I’ve been to one of those real U.S. Opens, at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in North Carolina. And it wasn’t a great experience. Now, I love golf. I wake up early on the weekends to watch the European Tour. I vacation in Alabama because it’s got great golf. As I write this, I’m wearing a golf sweater over a golf shirt atop golf shorts—and I’m nowhere near a golf course! (And, yes, I own a white belt, although my wife has taken to hiding it from me.)
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But the real U.S. Open was so packed with people, the only time we could spot any of the golfers was when they walked from one hole to the next. (At least, I think that was Bubba Watson’s visor.)
The senior version promises to be more relaxed, so you’ll be closer to the players. The only challenge is deciding which golfers to follow once you’re on the grounds of the Broadmoor. Fortunately, I’ve examined the field to find the right fit for every spectator, whether you’re a golf aficionado or just looking to be entertained.
If You Like Boring
I don’t like to rely on stereotypes, but Bernhard Langer is sooo German. Yes, by birth, but also by playing style. He’s a well-tuned machine, a Mercedes, who never really screws up—or smiles. No wonder he’s won 37 times on the Champions Tour (the circuit for players 50 and older), including 10 majors. But boring isn’t bad in golf. If you love the sport, you want to watch someone hit great shot after great shot after great shot. (President Donald Trump also credited Langer with providing him proof of widespread voter fraud—except that, shockingly, the tale proved false. Do with that information what you will.)
If You Like Baseball
A person shouldn’t be allowed to be great in two sports. That seems unfair to the rest of us who are trying our best to be average in just one. But here’s John Smoltz, a Hall of Fame Major League Baseball player, mainly for the Atlanta Braves, teeing it up at the Broadmoor this week. (John Elway also tried to qualify for the event, but didn’t make it—which makes us feel a bit better.) At least Smoltz isn’t acting all nonplussed about it.
If You Want to Boo Someone
Nah, we’re just kidding: Don’t boo anyone. But if you get a perverse pleasure out of rooting against people, there’s always Colin Montgomerie. This rivalry dates back to the 1997 U.S. Open, when the Scotsman and the crowd insulted each other (again, don’t do that), and was inflamed when he thumped the Americans during the Ryder Cup, a competition held every two years between U.S. and European players. He’s since reconciled with “Yanks” and is reportedly a fan favorite now on the Champions Tour, proving the old adage that there’s a fine line between love and hate.
If You Like Rooting for Locals
Hale Irwin, a graduate of both Boulder High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder, is the most successful senior player of all-time, having amassed 45 Champions Tour victories. Although not the dominant force he once was, Irwin, now 73, will still play a big role at the Broadmoor: on Tuesday, he’ll host an instructional clinic aimed at juniors on the driving range.