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The Open For The Ages

St Andrews


Champion Golfers explain why the Old Course is so special

Tiger Woods during The Open at St Andrews in 2000

The Open For The Ages, in association with HSBC, will see the greatest Champions of the last 50 years competing together on golf’s most iconic stage.

The Old Course at St Andrews has hosted more Opens than any other venue and holds a special place in the hearts of players and fans alike.

Ahead of The Open For The Ages, which begins on Thursday and culminates in a three-hour broadcast from 11am BST on Sunday, we look at what some of the finest Champion Golfers have said about the home of golf.


"It's the best, playing at St Andrews is literally the best,” said Woods - a three-time Champion Golfer who has twice won on the Old Course.

"It's like going back in time. And to play at the home of golf and to have won two Opens there, it's one of the greatest walks coming up 18, to see the whole town there. Every great player that has ever played the game has played St Andrews - you can't say that about any other golf course. It's been around that long and every great Champion has played it.”


In his Chronicles of a Champion Golfer film, McIlroy said: “If you want to win an Open Championship, you know there’s only one place that stands out to you that you’d want to win (at) and that’s at St Andrews at the Old Course.”

McIlroy, the Champion in 2014, added: “The amount of great players that have won there, the history of the place, the atmosphere, the feeling. There’s just some sort of nostalgic feel you get when you walk onto the first tee. It’s the perfect venue to win an Open Championship. Honestly, I’d like to see that The Open is played at St Andrews every year if it could be, but I understand why the R&A bring it to different courses. It’s definitely my favourite Open venue by a long way.”


Ballesteros famously triumphed at St Andrews in 1984, with his final putt sparking one of the most iconic celebrations in sporting history.

Looking back on that victory in the Official Film of The 119th Open in 1990, Ballesteros said: “St Andrews is unique in golf and it has very good feelings, especially for me because I have such nice memories from 1984 and it’s something that I don’t think I will ever forget.”


In the Official Film of The 99th Open in 1970, Thomson can be seen discussing St Andrews with fellow great Gary Player.

“This is real golf, this is where it all started,” said Thomson – a five-time Champion Golfer. “And all golf courses, really, are imitations of this one. And there’s hardly any that measure up anywhere near it.”


That Championship in 1970 yielded the first of two St Andrews Open triumphs for Nicklaus, who famously went on to say: “If you’re gonna be a player that’s gonna be remembered, you must win at St Andrews. I can’t think of a course I’d rather win at, and my wish has come true.”

Some 30 years later in 2000, Nicklaus said: “I had a love affair with St Andrews from the first time I saw it.”


Faldo twice won The Open at Muirfield, in 1987 and 1992, but his victory over the Old Course in 1990 was particularly significant.

In his Chronicles of a Champion Golfer film, the Englishman said: “To win at St Andrews is special. It’s the home of golf and there’s something special about that town. And if you could have one choice, yeah, you want (to win) one there.”


Mickelson, the Champion Golfer of the Year in 2013, is another who holds St Andrews in the highest esteem.

"With this being the home of golf, you can't help but feel emotion and feel this sense of spirituality come over you as you play this course, knowing that this is where the game began," he said in the Official Film of The 139th Open in 2010.

The Open For The Ages is in association with HSBC.