While Jack Nicklaus has declined the Royal and Ancient's invitation to play in a 150th anniversary exhibition featuring former Open champions, Tiger Woods has accepted.
Nicklaus – who last month indicated he would not be making the trip unless his sponsors requested it – will be one of only four living past winners not teeing it up in the four-hole challenge at St Andrews on the eve of the tournament. The 89-year-old Kel Nagle is unable to play, while Nick Price and Johnny Miller are also staying away.
That is bad news for the organisers, who rearranged the 2005 Open so Nicklaus could say his competitive goodbyes at the Home of Golf; but Woods has helped lift the gloom. The three-times winner said at the Players Championship three weeks ago that he knew nothing about the Champions' Challenge. He does now and clearly believes it would not be wise PR to snub the festivities.
With Seve Ballesteros planning on making his golfing comeback after undertaking multiple operations for brain cancer, the 28-man event is sure to be poignant.
Meanwhile, Woods will lose his world No 1 tag for the first time in five years if Phil Mickelson can win the Colonial tournament, which begins in Texas today. Also in the field are Ian Poulter and Paul Casey.