Open Champions 'In Tears' As Nicklaus Says 'Goodbye To The Open'

The 18-time Major winner reduced past champions to tears as he says goodbye to the Open

Jack Nicklaus and the Claret Jug
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sir Nick Faldo has revealed that Jack Nicklaus left everybody in "tears" at Tuesday's champions dinner after the American delivered an impassioned an emotive speech in which he said "goodbye" to the Open Championship.

Nicklaus won two of his three Open Championship titles at St Andrews and called time on his illustrious professional career at the Home of Golf in 2005. It would now appear that the 82-year-old has chosen the 150th edition of the Open and St Andrews once again to mark his final appearance at the annual champions dinner. 

The champions dinner was attended by the likes of Gary Player, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods; who insisted that he was in "great company."

Two-time Open champion Greg Norman however, was not invited to the celebration. The R&A statement read: "The 150th Open is an extremely important milestone for golf and we want to ensure that the focus remains on celebrating the Championship and its heritage. Unfortunately, we do not believe that would be the case if Greg were to attend. We hope that when circumstances allow Greg will be able to attend again in future."

The decision not to invite Norman was supported by four-time Major champion, Rory McIlroy: "It's The 150th Open Championship, and that's what we need to focus on. I think the focus would have been taken away a little bit if he'd have been here,” he said. “I supported that decision, and I think right now, because of everything that's happening in the golf world, I think it was the right decision to be made."

Nicklaus refused to comment on the decision itself but reiterated that the pair remain close: "First of all, Greg Norman is an icon in the game of golf. He's a great player. We've been friends for a long time, and regardless of what happens, he's going to remain a friend," he said. "Unfortunately, he and I just don't see eye to eye in what's going on. I'll basically leave it at that."

Phil Mickelson, who won the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013, reportedly declined the invitation, whilst Louis Oosthuizen, the champion of 2010, was the only LIV Golf defector in attendance. 

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James Hibbitt
James Hibbitt

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.