Global Edition

 

28 Golfing Greats to Play Open Champions’ Challenge

12.55am 27th May 2010 - People - This story was updated on Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Arnold Palmer, Open Champion in 1961, 1962

Open Champions with victories spanning over 50 years, from five-time winner Peter Thomson in 1954 right up to 2009 Champion, Stewart Cink, have confirmed their intention to participate in The Open Champions’ Challenge. 28 of 32 Champions have accepted the invitation to play four holes of the Old Course, the first, second, 17th and 18th on Wednesday 14 July, the day before the 150th Anniversary Open Championship gets underway.

Crowds of over 30,000 are expected to line the fairways to watch the event, which will see Seve Ballesteros return to the golf course after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008. The three-time Open Champion, who was the first to confirm his appearance in the Challenge, is set to return to St Andrews to a rapturous reception, 26 years after he famously triumphed on the Old Course in 1984.

Speaking recently, the Spaniard said: “I am happy and looking forward to playing the Champions’ Challenge. I think I can do very well and say thank you to all my fans at St Andrews, where I have many great memories.”

One year on from his phenomenal runners-up performance at Turnberry, five-time winner Tom Watson will join Ballesteros and 26 other legends of the game for what will be a nostalgic and memorable event for golf fans worldwide.

Tiger Woods, the current world number one and winner of the last two Opens at St Andrews, has also confirmed that he will be taking his place in the Challenge before commencing his bid to become the first man to lift the Claret Jug on the Old Course three times.

“We’re very pleased that there will be such a distinguished and full field for this special occasion,” said The R&A’s Chief Executive, Peter Dawson. “We have six more Open Champions taking part in this special celebration than there were a decade ago at the Millennium Open. It’s sure to be a wonderful celebration befitting the 150th anniversary of golf’s oldest Major.”

Sadly, 1946 Open Champion Sam Snead, who entertained the galleries so memorably with a tap-dance on the Swilcan Bridge during the Millennium Champions’ Challenge, and 1951 winner Max Faulkner, passed away in 2002 and 2005 respectively.

The oldest surviving Open Champion, Kel Nagle, along with Jack Nicklaus, Nick Price and Johnny Miller, is unable to take part.

Seven teams of four Open Champions will compete for a prize of £50,000, which will be donated to a charity of the winning team’s choice. The best individual score per team on each hole will count. In the event of a tie, the team with the highest average age will prevail.

The Open Champions’ Challenge will be streamed globally on Opengolf.com via a high-quality feed. The live feed will also be available on the Opengolf iPhone application, which will be launched at the end of June.

The BBC will broadcast highlights of the event at prime-time on the Wednesday evening. Coverage will also be televised in the United States and Japan.

Tickets for Wednesday’s play can be purchased for the price of £40 online at Opengolf.com or by contacting the Ticket Office on +44 (0)1334 460010. Concessions are available for senior citizens and youths.

The Open Champions’ Challenge will begin at 3.40pm and is expected to conclude by 6.00pm.

The Champions competing, together with the years of their victories, are as follows:

Peter Thomson (AUS) 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1965

Gary Player (RSA) 1959, 1968, 1974

Arnold Palmer (USA) 1961, 1962

Bob Charles (NZL) 1963

Roberto de Vicenzo (ARG) 1967

Tony Jacklin (ENG) 1969

Lee Trevino (USA) 1971, 1972

Tom Weiskopf (USA) 1973

Tom Watson (USA) 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983

Severiano Ballesteros (ESP) 1979, 1984, 1988

Bill Rogers (USA) 1981

Sandy Lyle (SCO) 1985

Greg Norman (AUS) 1986, 1993

Sir Nick Faldo (ENG) 1987, 1990, 1992

Mark Calcavecchia (USA) 1989

Ian Baker-Finch (AUS) 1991

John Daly (USA) 1995

Tom Lehman (USA) 1996

Justin Leonard (USA) 1997

Mark O’Meara (USA) 1998

Paul Lawrie (SCO) 1999

Tiger Woods (USA) 2000, 2005, 2006

David Duval (USA) 2001

Ernie Els (RSA) 2002

Ben Curtis (USA) 2003

Todd Hamilton (USA) 2004

Padraig Harrington (IRE) 2007, 2008

Stewart Cink (USA) 2009

Open Championship www.opengolf.com

       

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