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Campbell and Goosen confirm Lytham appearance

FORMER US Open champions Michael Campbell and Retief Goosen will be in the North West this summer when they make their first Senior Open Presented by Rolex appearances after confirming they will tee it up at Royal Lytham & St Annes from July 25-28.

The pair, who both turn 50 this month, have more than 50 worldwide victories between them and are relishing the opportunity to rekindle their competitive spirits and compete at the highest level in senior golf as The Senior Open returns to Lytham for the first time in 25 years.

Goosen, winner of the US Open in 2001 and 2004, became the first South African to earn the title of European Tour number one after leading the rankings in 2001 and then defending his position at the top of the Order of Merit in 2002.

“I’m excited to start the next chapter of my career and tee it up with my peers again,” said Goosen. “The standard of competition at this level is still so high, and I’m looking forward to testing myself against the players who have continued to excel on the over-50s tours.

“The likes of Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie and the defending champion Miguel Ángel Jiménez have set the standard over the last few years and they are continuing to raise the bar.”

In more than 25 years of competing at The Open, Goosen has recorded eight top 10 finishes and the 50-year-old is now looking forward to making his first return to the United Kingdom as a senior golfer in July.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing on links golf courses and Royal Lytham is no exception,” said Goosen. “It’s fantastic that we have an opportunity to play at these traditional Open venues after turning 50 and competition is sure to be fierce later this year.”

Campbell became just the second New Zealander in history to win a Major with his victory at Pinehurst in 2005, overturning a final round, four-stroke lead which defending champion Goosen established.

Teammates at The Presidents Cup in 2000 and 2005, the pair are looking forward to going head-to-head as rivals once again in 2019.

“What I’ve missed over the last six years since retiring is competing,” said Campbell. “I think it’s in my genes to get out there and just do the best I can.

“It’s going to be so, so exciting for the fans, because obviously we had a shared fanbase at a certain time. For them to see us again, out there in the same field, it’s exciting.

“I’m really excited to turn 50 and have a golden opportunity to go out there and play, play again against my friends and have some fun with it as well.

“When you turn 50, you have a second chapter in your life. There are not many sports in the world that you can come out and play again competitively and play against the old foes.

“For me it’s all about creating new memories. To play another Major, and to play on a great golf course as well, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Campbell and Goosen will join the 1999 Champion Golfer of the Year Paul Lawrie as Senior Open debutants this year, with a host of Major champions, Ryder Cup players and European Tour winners set to grace the Lancashire links.

Jiménez will defend the Senior Open Trophy he won in fine fashion at St Andrews last year.

Early Bird tickets for The Senior Open are available from £10. Under-16s and parking are free. The Early Bird ticket offer ends on February 28, with season tickets available from £52.