On a day for reminiscing at the home of golf, a team led by Arnold Palmer captured the Champion Golfers' Challenge.
The four-hole exhibition on the eve of the British Open pitted squads comprised of past winners, with the best individual score on each hole going toward that team's total.
The 85-year-old Palmer, who spawned an American invasion with his Open victories in 1961 and '62, hit the opening tee shot for his team Wednesday. He then turned things over to Paul Lawrie, who eagled the second hole and rolled in a long birdie putt on the 18th to give his team — which also included Darren Clarke and Bill Rogers — a 3-under total.
The squads captained by Tony Jacklin, Tom Weiskopf and Peter Thomson also were 3 under. But Palmer's team won the top prize of £100,000 ($156,452), which will be donated to a charity of their choice, by having the highest average age.
Team Jacklin (which also included John Daly, Nick Faldo and Tom Lehman), Team Weiskopf (Mark O'Meara and Tiger Woods) and Team Thomson (Ben Curtis, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson) all posted three birdies in four holes.
Tom Watson's team (Ian Baker-Finch, Todd Hamilton and Louis Oosthuizen) finished at 2 under. Team Charles (Bob Charles, David Duval, Justin Leonard and Sandy Lyle) and Team Player (Gary Player, Stewart Cink, Mark Calcavecchia and Padraig Harrington) only managed to birdie the first hole.
No one seemed too concerned about the scores, however.
There were plenty of laughs and everyone paused for group pictures on the Swilcan Bridge at the 18th hole.
GRANDPA SPIETH: Despite his busy schedule, Jordan Spieth tries to hang out with his sister as much as possible.
He's even filled in as a grandparent.
The 21-year-old Spieth has made no secret of the inspiration provided by his sibling, Ellie, who was born with a neurological disorder.
"Any time I'm home, I'm spending time with Ellie," the Texan said Wednesday. "I take her to school, pick her up, spend time at my parents' house or she'll come over (to his nearby home) and hang out."
When Ellie's school held "Grandparents Day" this year, her grandparents weren't able to make it.
"One lives in North Carolina and the other is in Pennsylvania, so I just went in there to support her and hang out," Spieth said. "I was picking her up, so I went in early and they had a little party and I got to meet some of her friends in her new class. It was fun."
DAWSON'S FINALE: Peter Dawson downplayed his final British Open as chief executive of the R&A.
During his annual news conference on the eve of the tournament, Dawson was asked whether he had accomplished most of his goals during his 16-year tenure.
"We don't do cult of personality at the R&A," he said. "It's a team effort. I think a lot of things have moved on, and perhaps the thing I'm most proud of is the way the team of people at the R&A has developed as we've gone. It's a much bigger, more professional — if that's the right word — organization than it was 16 years ago. And that's not a criticism of what it was like then. Will I be emotional? I'm not sure yet. A bit too busy to be so at the moment."
STENSON'S CLOSE CALLS: Henrik Stenson has flirted with his first major championship on several occasions, including three top-three finishes in the British Open.
The Swedish golfer was asked Wednesday what it would mean to his career if he failed to capture one of the biggest titles.
After joking that he would be "devastated," Stenson noted how far he's come.
"If I look at the big picture, how much I've managed to achieve coming from a little junior in Sweden, standing there practicing, dreaming about playing golf worldwide and competing in the big events, I think I've come a very long way," he said. A major title "would be icing on the cake, no question, but I would still go to sleep fairly happy even if it didn't happen. It's a bonus, and I'm trying hard to make it happen."
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