Miguel Angel Jimenez will join an exclusive club when he tees off Thursday in the British Open.

Jimenez, eligible from winning the Senior British Open last year, will be only the second player in European Tour history to play 700 events.

The other was Sam Torrance.

The 55-year-old Spaniard, who turned pro in 1982, earned a European Tour card in 1988. A 21-time winner, Jimenez already holds the record as the oldest winner on the European Tour. He was 50 when he won the Spanish Open.

“This is a very proud moment for myself and my family, and to reach the milestone of 700 events on the European Tour at the Open Championship makes it even more enjoyable,” Jimenez said. “Of course, I am now only six tournaments away from tying, and seven away from beating, the record held by my great friend Sam Torrance. I don’t know exactly when that will happen, but the record is definitely in my sights.”

Jimenez will play the opening two rounds with 60-year-old Tom Lehman and 20-year-old Joaquin Niemann.

WITH HIS WIFE on bedrest as she awaits the birth of twins in a few weeks, Gary Woodland is across the sea playing in the British Open.

At least his wife has the U.S. Open trophy to look at. It’s on the nightstand next to the bed.

“She is looking at it all the time,” Woodland said. “I don’t know if she’s excited about that. But it’s been pretty close to me.”

Woodland said he has it on the nightstand to remind him of the special moment when he won his first major championship, last month at Pebble Beach.

“You want to wake up and make sure it’s not a dream,” he said. “You want to make sure it’s real.”

Just as real is the impending birth of twin daughters, who Woodland hopes don’t arrive before their scheduled time.

“Our girls are supposed to come in two weeks,” he said. “So it was a decision, we sat down and we talked about it. And she was the one pushing me to come. Pretty confident they’re not going to come this week, but you never know.”

CROWDED: Royal & Ancient chief Martin Slumbers is fond of saying that a big-time sport needs a big-time crowd. That won’t be a problem for the British Open’s return to Royal Portrush for the first time since 1951.

Slumbers said Wednesday that a record 61,000 people have attended the practice rounds of the British Open this week, breaking the previous mark of 52,000 set in 2006 when the Open returned to Hoylake after a 38-year absence.

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