Santiago Luna got into the Scottish spirit before starting his defence of the SSE Scottish Senior Open this week at Fairmont St Andrews today
The 51-year-old Spaniard donned a kilt during a photocall ahead of the tournament getting underway, before declaring the home of golf as a place very dear to his heart.
“It was a great experience and a great pleasure,” said the enthusiastic Luna, who won his maiden title at Fairmont St Andrews 12 months ago in just his sixth start on the European Senior Tour.
“It was a nice feel and nice looking and it was my first time wearing a kilt but I enjoyed it very much.
“I needed help putting it on as I didn’t know how it was supposed to go! But I love Scotland very much because I have been coming here for over 25 years on The European Tour and I have had some very good experiences in the past here.
“This is a really special place for me and for all my family. Just yesterday I walked into St Andrews with my son, Marcos, who is caddying for me this week, and we went to the first tee and the 18th hole bridge of the Old Course and I showed him where I beat Tiger!”
In 2013, Luna held off the challenge of course designer Sam Torrance to win by a single stroke, 15 years after memorably defeating Tiger Woods in the semi-final of the 1998 Alfred Dunhill Cup at St Andrews, and remembered a frantic final day as somewhat of a blur.
"It was nice to beat Sam Torrance, though, because he is the designer of the course and also a great friend." - Santiago Luna
He said: “It was so strange, the whole day went so fast and I didn’t even look at the leaderboard until I got to the 18th green and knew I had a chip and two putts to win the tournament.
“It was nice to beat Sam Torrance, though, because he is the designer of the course and also a great friend. But when I am in that situation I try not to think about it too much and just concentrate on my own game.”
After his win at Fairmont paved the way for an eighth place finish in the Order of Merit in his debut season in the Senior ranks, Luna added more silverware to his trophy cabinet with victory at the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship this June, and the Madrid native has even loftier ambitions for this campaign.
“I would like to finish even better this year,” Luna reflected. “At the end it is important to have a chance to play in the big tournaments like the US Senior Open and the US Senior PGA Championship. The aim is to be amongst the best but it is not easy because the standard is high and there are a lot of very good players on the Senior Tour.”
Santiago Luna heads up a stellar cast
Santiago Luna is joined in St Andrews this week by 2013 Senior Tour No.1 Paul Wesselingh plus former Ryder Cup captains Torrance, Mark James and Ian Woosnam as well as last season’s 'Rookie of the Year' Steen Tinning and double-Scottish Senior Open winner Barry Lane.
In-form Canadian Rick Gibson, who is riding high at fourth in the Order of Merit currently following a maiden win at the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open in Switzerland and a tied third place at The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex, also has a chance to press home an excellent start with another good finish in Scotland.
• Entry to the SSE Scottish Senior Open to see Santiago Luna and Co. is free of charge for Scottish Golf Club Membership card-holders. Head along this weekend and see the stars of yesteryear in action.