Open Champions to take part in St Andrews challenge

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Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy among Open Champions to compete for charity

Former Open Champions including Tom Watson and Peter Thomson will take part in a special Champion Golfers’ Challenge ahead of the 144th Open at St Andrews this 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 Wednesday 15 July.

Thomson will mark the 60th anniversary of his win in The Open at St Andrews in 1955 while Watson will be playing on the 40th anniversary of his debut in The Open in 1975 when he became Champion Golfer of the Year 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 Champions 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.
As golf fans, we all have cherished memories of watching these great players competing over the years" 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 sadly passed away in January at the age of 94.

Peter Dawson, chief executive of The R&A, said: “We are looking forward to a wonderful celebration of the rich heritage of The Open at the Champion Golfers’ Challenge in St Andrews. 

“As golf fans, 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, who is sadly no longer with us.”

The four-hole 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 Champion Golfers’ Challenge will begin at 3.30pm on Wednesday 15 July with a musical performance in the centre of the 1st and 18th fairway. The first tee time will be at 4pm.

The challenge will be available to view worldwide on TheOpen.com and through the official Open App. 

The BBC will televise the event live in the UK and ESPN in the US.

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