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Jack Nicklaus has been named an honorary citizen of St Andrews, becoming just the third American to receive the distinguished award.
Nicklaus, who has won 18 Major titles, was victorious at the Open Championship on three separate occasions - twice of which coming at the Home of Golf. It also played centre stage to the Golden Bear's final Open appearance back in 2005 when moments after he ceremoniously waved to the crowd on the Swilcan Bridge, he birdied the famed 18th hole in what proved to be his last in the professional game.
Speaking of his new accolade, Nicklaus said: "I always said St Andrews looked like an old grey town until the Open came around. All of a sudden it just lit up like a light, and it was beautiful," he said. "St Andrews in the week of the Open Championship is always beautiful. I imagine anybody who makes a pilgrimage here to play this golf course feels that way.
"When I first came here in 1964, I couldn't believe that St Andrews was a golf course that still tested golfers of that time. The game of golf essentially started here and it's just absolutely mind-blowing to me that it still stands up to the golfers of today - and it does, especially when you get the weather."
Nicklaus declined the opportunity to return to St Andrews when it hosted the Open in 2010 and 2015 as he didn't want to "dilute" the events of 2005. "I played at St Andrews, because it made my farewell in 2005, and I didn't want to come back and dilute that for what it was. It was fantastic then.
"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."
Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and a signatory to the Declaration of Independence received the honour in 1759, whilst Bobby Jones, golf's most influential amateur golfer, became the second recipient in 1958.
Nicklaus was joined by his wife, Barbara, and was watched on by dozens of adorning fans. Fellow golf legends, Jose Maria Olazabal, Catriona Matthew, Lee Trevino, Sir Bob Charles and Sandy Lyle also received honorary degrees in the ceremony on Tuesday at the University of St Andrews.
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James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.
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