Legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus became an honorary citizen of St. Andrews, Scotland, in advance of this week’s Open Championship.
A three-time Open champion, Nicklaus received the honor on Tuesday. He won the title twice at the Old Course at St. Andrews—site of the 150th tournament that begins Thursday.
He hadn’t been back since 2005, when he last played there in a memorable event. And when Nicklaus accepted the honorary citizenship, he joined a very small group of Americans.
“I didn’t want to come back and dilute that for what it was. It was fantastic then,” Nicklaus told reporters Monday.
“But when I got the invitation this time to be an honorary citizen of St. Andrews and to follow Bobby Jones and Benjamin Franklin, I’ve got to come back. So to be back is fantastic.”
Franklin received the honor in 1759, Jones two centuries later in 1958. The Royal Burgh of St. Andrews Community Council gave Nicklaus the honorary citizenship.
Nicklaus, an 18-time major winner, won at St. Andrews in 1970 and 1978. He was the runner-up there in 1964. He also raised the Claret Jug at Muirfield in 1966.
“When I stepped on it in ’64, all of a sudden to step out of the clubhouse, step here, look at the first tee, look at what was there, see the town, see everything, I fell in love with it immediately,” Nicklaus said of St. Andrews. “And I’ve had a love affair with it ever since.”