Open Championship in St Andrews 2022
The 150th Open Golf Championship will be held in St Andrews from 14-17 July 2022. To coincide with this event, the University, in conjunction with the local community council, will be holding a special ceremony on the 12th to celebrate the world’s best-loved golfers.
Freeman of St Andrews
In this ceremony golfer Jack Nicklaus is to be made an Honorary Citizen of St Andrews by The Royal Burgh of St Andrews Community Council. Nicklaus will be one only three US citizens to have received the honour of Freeman of St Andrews, the first being Benjamin Franklin in 1759.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was awarded an honorary degree by the University in recognition of his “writings on Electricity” (Senatus Minutes, 12 February 1759), his degree being conferred gratis and in absentia. However, in October 1759 he included a visit to St Andrews in a tour of Scotland during which he was made a Freeman of the Burgh.
Nicklaus will be the first person to be made an Honorary Citizen of St Andrews (the equivalent of the Freedom of the City) since Bobby Jones was made a Freeman of St Andrews in 1958.
Bobby Jones was a frequent visitor to St Andrews and played for the first time on the Old Course in the Open Championship in 1921. In 1930, at the age of 28, Bobby completed the (pre-Masters) Grand Slam by winning all four major golfing championships in the same calendar year which included the Amateur Championship at St Andrews. He is the only player ever to do so.
Within the University’s Collections there are numerous photographs of Bobby Jones in St Andrews, often surrounded by locals.
In recognition of his relationship with the town, Jones was made a Freeman of St Andrews in 1958. The ceremony in Younger Hall is documented in the University’s Collections.
The Bobby Jones Scholarship was established in 1976 and still exists today to support University students for one year of study at Emory University in Atlanta.
Nicklaus will join Jones and Franklin and be awarded honorary citizenship. Well-known St Andrews golfer John Devlin will give a speech of tribute to Jack on behalf of the town, and honorary citizenship will be bestowed in the form of a scroll presented by the Provost of the Royal Burgh of St Andrews Community Council.
Like Franklin before him, Nicklaus was also awarded an honorary degree by the University. In July 1984, Stuart McDowall, former Master of the United College, in his laureation address (UYUY344) stated that, to his knowledge, no sportsman or sportswoman had been awarded to date an honorary degree by the University, an omission in his view.
Nicklaus has 18 Majors to his name and won The Open twice at St Andrews. He played his last Open in 2005 on the Old Course where, in the company of Tom Watson, he birdied the last hole in emotional scenes at the Home of Golf.
In Tuesday’s ceremony the University of St Andrews will also present Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Laws to Lee Trevino, José María Olazábal, Catriona Matthew, Sir Bob Charles and Sandy Lyle. The University’s Collections has an extension collection of Golf photography which includes many of these world-renowned players.
Sir Bob Charles