You can’t go on forever. Well, unless you’re the indomitable Bernhard Langer, who will probably still be winning events on the senior circuit as the only human being competing in a field of AI robots.

Langer, the tireless 65-year-old, goes into this week’s Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl aiming to claim the over-50s Claret Jug for the fifth time. 

His victory in the US Senior Open at the start of the month was his 12th major title among the golden oldies and a record-setting 46th victory overall on the auld yins’ circuit. There’s no let up for this enduring German great.

As for the mere mortals? “I'm 60 now and things start going awry,” said Colin Montgomerie with a wry grin as he reflected on the meddlings of Old Father Time. 

“You go, ‘why did I do that? Why did I make that mistake or why did I hit that shot?’ I never used to do that. Things probably aren’t as good as they used to be.”

The good old days may not return but there’s still life in this old dog yet. When Monty stops talking up his chances on the Wednesday before a tournament, then we all may as well collapse to the floor in a heap, curl up in the foetal position and allow those aforementioned AI thingamabobs to sweep us into oblivion.

“I'm as ambitious as ever,” he roared with trademark gusto. “I want it as much and I look forward to the challenge of it. I look forward to the competition. I love the competition. I really look forward to putting myself up against not just this field, but against the golf course. To get around this course, you've got to play chess with it because it's a very, very good one.”

He may be 60, but Montgomerie is still learning. In this game, you never stop. “I think if I don't learn after every round of golf, it's been a complete waste,” said the Scot, who won three senior majors on American soil between 2014 and 2015. “I learn something knew about myself, about the ball, about the clubs, about the lies, about what to do. I learn something; and you must take something from every round of golf. And I still do.”

When Porthcawl, that wonderful links in south Wales, first staged the Senior Open back in 2014, Montgomerie finished second, almost a full calendar month behind the all-conquering Langer, who won by a whopping 13 strokes.

“I think that was one of the greatest victories in the modern golfing era,” Montgomerie noted.

The journey to the Principality always gives Monty good vibes. It was in Wales, of course, where he enjoyed one of his finest moments when he captained Europe to Ryder Cup glory at Celtic Manor in 2010. 

“Every time I cross that Severn Bridge, you come to the Celtic Manor Resort on the M4, it brings back great memories of our time in Wales,” he said with a glow of nostalgia that should’ve been accompanied by a Welsh male voice choir. “Every time I come back, I relish it.”

Monty is also relishing the all-round golfing test provided by Porthcawl, which is hosting the senior showpiece for a third time.

“It’s a damn good course,” he added. “The greens have a lot of undulation to them. Most links greens really don't. The trouble is really off the tee with most of the links courses, but here it's actually everything. They put in a number of fairway bunkers in the last five or six years since we were last here and it's made it much tighter off the tee. 

"So you'll see a lot of people having to think more on the tee shots rather than just hit a driver down there aimlessly. There are bunkers in the way. Brian Harman proved it in The Open last week. You drive it well, you stay out of the bunkers, then you can score. You can always move it forward from the rough. You cannot move it forward from the bunkers; you're sideways. It’s a real test of character.”

There are a few well-kent golfing characters on show this week with Monty and Langer forming part of a stellar field that also includes Padraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Jose Maria Olazabal, Vijay Singh, Paul Lawrie, Ian Woosnam and the defending champion, Darren Clarke.