Tom Watson, the 58-year old, who has also won five Open Championships, will host a special golf clinic for young players aged nine to 14 years old on Wednesday July 23rd, during the practice ahead of The Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard, which takes place from July 24 – 27.

As well as meeting one of golf’s greatest champions, and picking up invaluable tips on how to improve their swing and hit holes in one, the young golfers will be given a tour of the famous Royal Troon links which will host this year’s tournament, as well the tented village, TV compound and media centre.

clubgolf – the national junior programme which aims to create the opportunity for every nine year old in Scotland to experience the game  – will put forward 60 children from clubs in the Troon area delivering the programme, while 20 will come from Junior Golf Plus and another 20 from the local Southside Church.

Emerging out of Scotland’s successful bid to host the Ryder Cup, clubgolf is a partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers’ Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland. The strategy is funded by the Scottish Government which has committed £500,000 per year to the scheme through sportscotland.

clubgolf Project Manager Torquil McInroy commented: “This is a great opportunity for children on local clubgolf programmes to meet a true golfing legend, and they can then follow Tom’s progress as he defends his title.

“The Seniors offers a chance to see some great golf up close, and to learn from the players who first made their names in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

“I am sure the opportunity to meet Tom Watson will encourage all these children to keep playing, and inspire some of them to higher levels of achievement in their own golf.

“On all four Championship days children aged nine to 14 will be welcome at the clubgolf coaching area on the players’ practice ground, where lessons from PGA professionals will be available free of charge.”

Watson will join a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of the last 50 years of golfing excellence at this year’s Senior Open Championship, as he eyes the top prize of US$320,000. He will also be chasing the chance to enter the record books, in what could conceivably be his fourth Senior Open Championship triumph.

If he retains his title, Watson will have won The Senior Open Championship on three of the courses where he also lifted The Open Championship, following his previous double victories at Turnberry and Muirfield.

Watson has fond memories of Royal Troon, which was the setting for his fourth Open Championship victory in 1982, where he claimed the Claret Jug after clawing back Nick Price’s three shot lead with six holes to play in a thrilling finale.

Watson’s love affair with Scotland, where he won the first of his five Open Championships at Carnoustie in 1975, also saw him win The Senior Open Championship in 2005 at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club. He commented:

“I think it’s fair to say I have an affection for the Scots. In Scotland there is a fabric of golf. People who don’t even play the game in the country have an appreciation of it and its history.

“As far as this year is concerned, many of the other Seniors, especially those coming over from America, have not played Royal Troon before and perhaps that will gives me somewhat of an advantage. I know, if I play like I can do, I can usually stay pretty close to the lead.”

Watson will face stiff opposition from some of golf’s biggest names, including Bernhard Langer, who leads the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit, and Jay Haas, winner of May’s US Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York. Also in the frame are Scotland’s own Sam Torrance and Sandy Lyle, plus Welshman Ian Woosnam.

Championship details

To reserve a Championship hospitality package in the Barcelo Troon Marine Hotel, call today on +44 1292 314444. Alternatively, you can email marine.mande@barcelo-hotels.co.uk

Tickets for The 2008 Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard – which is jointly run by the European Seniors Tour and The R&A and co-sanctioned by the US Champions Tour – can be booked now either via the hotline on 0800 023 2557 or visiting www.europeantourtickets.com .

One day tickets cost £20 for Thursday – Sunday, or a four-day season pass costs £60. Practice day tickets for Wednesday July 23 are available for £10. Children under 16 can gain free entry on any day if accompanied by a paying adult.