• Describes Jordan Spieth as 'a phenomenal talent'
• 'Can't wait' to play in the Champions Challenge
Tony Jacklin | Old Course
Two-time major champion Tony Jacklin has described the Old Course at St Andrews as one of his favourite Open venues, saying ‘there is nowhere quite like’ the auld grey toon.
Looking ahead to the 144th Open Championship, Jacklin, who won the Open Championship in 1969 at Royal Lytham and St Annes, played in the event five times over the famed St Andrews links and his most vivid memories come from his fifth place finish in 1970.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Jacklin exclusively told bunkered.co.uk. “In 1970, I was defending the title after winning the year before and I was confident heading into it as I’ve always loved the course and felt at home in the town.
"It’ll be interesting to see how he performs on a course that he’s admitted he hasn’t played much before" - Jacklin on Jordan Spieth's chances this week
“I got off to an amazing start. I shot 29 over the first nine holes and continued that into the back-nine. Sadly, we were pulled off the course when I was playing the 14th after a lot of rain fell and play was abandoned for the day.
“When we got back at 7:30 the following morning, it was a completely different golf course, with the wind and rain making it so much longer. I dropped three shots between then and finishing at the 18th and ended up with a 67.
“My scores got progressively worse over the week – by three shots every day – and I found myself playing with Jack Nicklaus in the final round. We sat together afterwards and watched Doug Sanders miss that little putt on 18 to allow Jack into a play-off the next day. He was really excited at that point and went on to win it.”
Jacklin played in a total of five Open Championships over the Old Course, his last being in 2005, and he claims it was a course he got to know really well over time. How long it took him to get to know the course, though, is a factor he says could work against Jordan Spieth in his quest to make it three major wins in a row.
“He’s a phenomenal talent,” added Jacklin. “What he’s done this year has been truly fantastic and his attitude really is impressive. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs on a course that he’s admitted he hasn’t played much before. There are so many different things that can affect you, but the wind is a major player and if it gets up, you need to know how to get it round without finding any bunkers and still be able to post a score. He’s definitely got the talent to do it and I’m sure he’ll be as prepared as anyone else.”
Jacklin set for Champions Challenge
The 71-year-old will be making a playing appearance at the Open, too, albeit in the four-hole Champions Challenge on Wednesday. He will captain the fourball that also includes John Daly, Tom Lehman and Sir Nick Faldo, and it’s an experience he is thoroughly looking forward to.
Jacklin said: “It’s an absolute honour to be invited to play in the Champions Challenge. I can’t wait to tee it up and see so many of the guys again. It’ll be great to catch up with them all and it’ll be a wonderful afternoon.”
• Tony Jacklin is an ambassador for Glenmorangie, which has been the ‘Spirit of the Open Championship’ since 2012. It will continue in that role until at least 2017. More information can be found at glenmorangie.com