Golden oldies rise to Open challenge

LEGENDS Peter Thomson and Tom Watson will celebrate historic milestones in their remarkable careers at the Champion Golfers’ Challenge on the eve of the Open in St Andrews in July.

Rory McIlroy, who will be defending the Claret Jug after his victory at Royal Liverpool last year, will join the five-time champions in a pantheon of greats who will play in the four-hole challenge on the Old Course on July 15.

Thomson will mark the 60th anniversary of his win at St Andrews in 1955 while Watson will be playing on the 40th anniversary of his debut in the Open in 1975 when he won at Carnoustie.

Fans will be delighted to see three-time Champions Gary Player, Sir Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods playing in the event alongside the 1963 and 1969 champions, Bob Charles and Tony Jacklin, and more recent winners such as Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington.

Among the other confirmed so far are Louis Oosthuizen, who won The Open in 2010, the last time it was played in St Andrews, Stewart Cink, David Duval, Paul Lawrie, Mark O’ Meara, Justin Leonard, John Daly and Sandy Lyle.

The occasion will also be used to pay tribute to Australia’s Kel Nagle, who won the Centenary Open in 1960 at St Andrews and died in January aged 94.

Peter Dawson, R&A chief executive, said: “We all have cherished memories of watching these great players competing over the years and the excitement of seeing such inspirational competitors winning the Open. It will also be a fitting occasion to recognise the wonderful career of Kel Nagle, one of the sport’s great gentlemen.”

The challenge will see groups of three or four play the 1st, 2nd, 17th and 18th holes of the Old Course, competing for a prize of £50,000 which will go to a charity of the winning team’s choice. The best individual score per team on each hole will count as the team score.

The event will begin at 3.30pm with a musical performance in the centre of the 1st and 18th fairway. The first tee time will be at 4pm.

 

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