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Former Open champions Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Paul Lawrie have been made honorary members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

With 20 major championship victories between them, the three former winners have contributed to some of the Open’s most iconic moments.

Ahead of the 150th edition of the sport’s oldest championship, which begins tomorrow, the trio have accepted invitations from the club.

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Outlining its reasons for awarding Woods, Lawrie and McIlroy the accolade, club officials described them as “outstanding global ambassadors for the sport”.

Royal and Ancient Golf Club captain Peter Forster said: “I warmly congratulate Tiger, Rory and Paul on becoming Honorary Members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club.

“They have each made huge contributions to golf and played their part in inspiring millions to take up and follow the sport around the world. They are not only great champions but fantastic ambassadors for golf and have brought so much joy to so many young fans in particular.

“This is entirely fitting recognition for three such distinguished sporting figures and I have no doubt they will continue to give exemplary service to the sport through their new roles in the club.”

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Woods said: “I am grateful for this invitation to become an Honorary Member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. It is not only the home of golf but a place in this world that I hold near my heart. I am humbled to accept this invitation alongside these outstanding players today, as well as those who came before us.”

McIlroy added: “I’m thrilled to become an Honorary Member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club. It’s a privilege to represent a club that has done so much for golf over so many years and I’m proud to play my part in promoting golf around the world.”

Lawrie said: “I’m delighted to receive Honorary Membership of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, particularly on the historic occasion of The 150th Open. The club has supported the development of the sport since its formation and continues to do so today. I’m honoured to accept this invitation and to do that alongside Rory and Tiger is extra special.”

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