CHAMPIONS GATHER AT ST ANDREWS
The R&A will again be hosting the Champion Golfers’ Challenge when the Open is played at St Andrews in July. Five-time champions Peter Thomson and Tom Watson will join a pantheon of legends, including Gary Player, over four holes of the Old Course on Wednesday, July 15. Thomson, 85, will mark the 60th anniversary of his third Open win at St Andrews in 1955, while Watson will be playing on the 40th anniversary of his Open debut in 1975, when he won at Carnoustie. The four-hole challenge will see groups of three or four play the first, second, 17th and 18th, competing for £50 000 which will go to charity.
The original challenge in 2000 was the result of an idea two-time Open champion Lee Trevino related to R&A CEO Peter Dawson.
Some 22 former champions were there. Roberto de Vicenzo, then 77, nearly drove the 18th green. Sam Snead, then 88, did a nifty jig on the Swilcan Bridge. Snead is gone, and no word on whether Trevino will make the event. In 2010, the event was much anticipated for the planned participation of Seve Ballesteros, then battling the brain tumour that would take his life. Alas, Ballesteros didn’t come, and bad weather cancelled the event.