The highlight of Jack Nicklaus' farewell to the Open in 2005 came when he paused on the Swilcan Bridge to salute the gallery. (Getty Images)
10 great Open moments at St. Andrews
By Stan Awtrey, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
Many interesting and fascinating stories can be found inside the pages of the St. Andrews history book. The home of golf has produced countless glorious moments through the years. Here are 10 unforgettable ones at the Old Course:
1506: The King (not one named Arnold) purchases clubs
Documents show that King James IV, a popular monarch who is said to have been a true Renaissance man, purchased a set of golf clubs at St. Andrews in 1506. The King was reputed to be a long hitter, but never had much time to work on his short game with Sir Dave of Pelz. In 1513 he became the last ruler from Great Britain to die in battle.
1863: Creating the 18th hole
This occurred when Old Tom Morris decided to separate the first green from the 17th green and create the current 18-hole layout. Since then St. Andrews has sported seven double greens, with only No. 1, No. 9, No. 17 and No. 18 having their own putting surfaces.
1927: Jones wins the heart of the people
The first time he played at St. Andrews in the 1921 British Amateur, Jones walked off the course after 11 holes, the immature act of a bratty teenager. He later called it "the most inglorious failure of my golfing life." He made up for the lack of manners in 1927, when he won his first Open Championship. Jones insisted that the club retain possession of the Claret Jug, rather than allow him to take it back to Atlanta.
1930: A Grand Slam in the making
Jones returned to St. Andrews for the British Amateur in 1930, the first tournament in the then-unnamed Grand Slam. After Jones won the championship, he was swarmed by the gallery who carried him off on their shoulders. Observers say the crowd of 15,000 must have carried him a mile before the local officers gained control and took Jones back to the club. He went on to win the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, the U.S. Open at Interlachen and the U.S. Amateur at Merion.
1957: Locking down a victory
Bobby Locke was the greatest South African golfer in history until Gary Player came along. Locke won four Open Championships, including the 1957 event at St. Andrews. Locke is the guy who coined the phrase, “Drive for show, putt for dough.” He proved his ability at the Open, where he finished no worse than eighth over a nine-year stretch.
1970: Sanders misses a three-footer to win
Doug Sanders is a guy with swing so compact they said he could swing in a phone booth. Had he made the short putt on the 72nd hole, he would have won the tournament outright. A miss forced a playoff with Jack Nicklaus, in which the Golden Bear prevailed.
1995: Daly prevails in playoff
After chilli-dipping a chip, Costantino Rocca made an improbable 70-footer from the Valley of Sin on the 72nd hole to knot things up against John Daly. The poor stroke on that previous chip shot seemed to hand the Claret Jug to Daly, as few anticipated Rocca’s long-distance putt to fall. But Daly rose to the challenge and won the playoff by four strokes for his second major championship.
1995: So long from The King
He won the Open Championship back-to-back years (1961-62) but neither victory came at St. Andrews. (Palmer was beaten by a stroke there by Kel Nagle in the 1960 Open.) But he chose the Old Course to make his heart-warming farewell in 1995, his final appearance in a major championship other than the Masters. Palmer is credited for helping American golfers get re-engaged with the Open Championship. In his final appearance he stood on the Swilcan Bridge and waved farewell to the legion of golf fans who supported him and appreciated his efforts.
2005: Nicklaus says farewell
It may have been the perfect goodbye for the game’s greatest champion. Nicklaus, who last competed at the Open Championship in 2000, accepted an invitation for a farewell appearance at St. Andrews. He didn’t make the cut, but his walk up the 18th on the last day included a seminal moment, has he waved goodbye on the Swilcan Bridge with the St. Andrews clubhouse in the background. “I felt like 2005 was pretty good,” Nicklaus said. “It was my last time being involved in a major event. It was perfect.”
2007: Lorena Ochoa wins first major
St. Andrews held its first women’s championship in 2007 and Lorena Ochoa marked the occasion by winning her first major championship. She was the first player since Tony Lema in 1964 to win their first major title on the Old Course.
What's in store this year? You know someone is bound to bounce a ball off a rock wall, maybe even break a window in the adjoining hotel. Someone will miss a putt they should make, while someone else will make a no-brainer that could turn the tide. As King James IV once said, "The championship won't be decided until the back nine on Sunday. Or until the last bagpiper has played."