ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Tiger Woods was made an honorary member of St Andrews on the eve of the 150th Open, with Wednesday’s R&A also honoring former Open champions Rory McIlroy and Paul Lawrie.
“I am grateful for this invitation to become an honorary member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews,” Woods said in a statement. “Not only is it the home of golf, it is a place in the world that I cherish. I am honored to accept this invitation today along with these outstanding players and those who have come before us.”
Woods has won The Open three times, including twice at St Andrews. After playing as an amateur at the Old Course in 1995, he won his first Open there in 2000 and followed that up with another triumph in 2005 before winning at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in 2006.
On Tuesday, Woods explained why St Andrews is so special to him.
“This is where it all started for me as an amateur,” said Woods. “My first chance to play at The Open Championship was here. I will never forget playing the first two days with Ernie Els and Peter Jacobsen. It was enlightening how easy this golf course is to play and how it played It can be just as difficult when the wind changes, and of course when the tide changes.
“Just being here I think this is my sixth Open Championship here I think. To have that experience and the ability to play here in the home of golf is always very special. Then to have won them [here] twice makes it so much more special.”
Ahead of Thursday’s first round, Woods, 46, was already involved in this week’s events surrounding the 150th edition of The Open. He played at the Celebration of Champions on Monday and attended the Open Champions’ Dinner on Tuesday. He walked 58 holes from his arrival at St Andrews from Saturday to Tuesday.
McIlroy has an Open title in 2014 and Lawrie was victorious in 1999.
“I warmly congratulate Tiger, Rory and Paul on becoming honorary members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club,” St Andrews captain Peter Foster said in a statement. “They have all made a huge contribution to the sport of golf and played their part in inspiring millions to take up and follow the sport around the world.
“Not only are they great champions, they are fantastic ambassadors of golf and, most importantly, have brought so much joy to so many young fans. This is perfectly fitting recognition for three such outstanding athletes and I have no doubt that they will continue to provide exemplary service to the sport through their new roles at the club.”
McIlroy said he was “thrilled” to become an honorary member.
“It is a privilege to represent a club that has done so much for the sport of golf over so many years and I am proud to do my part to advance the sport of golf around the world,” McIlroy said in a statement.
https://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/34235435/tiger-woods-rory-mcilroy-paul-lawrie-named-honorary-st-andrews-members Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Paul Lawrie named honorary St. Andrews members