Seve gets Champions call-up

Seve Ballesteros is among the golfing stars invited to play in a special curtain raiser to next year’s Open.

Seve Ballesteros, who is still recovering from a brain tumour, is among the golfing stars who have been invited to compete in the Champions Challenge on the eve of next July’s Open at St Andrews.
In a repeat of the four-hole event held in 2000, the Challenge is being staged over the first, second, 17th and 18th holes to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first Open.
Invitations have been extended to all 32 living Open champions.
The first group will tee off live on television around 4pm and the winning team will be able to donate money to a charity of their choice.
The week is also certain to be Tiger Woods’ first appearance in Britain after his recent car crash and confession of “personal failings.”
The world number one has won the last two St Andrews Opens by nine and five strokes and admits he loves the Old Course.
Nine years ago 22 former winners competed in the Challenge, including 88-year-old Sam Snead, and the winners were Tom Weiskopf, Tom Lehman and Paul Lawrie. It raised over £40,000 for charity.
“The Open Champions Challenge in 2000 was a great success and we expect it to be so again a decade on,” said David Hill, the Royal and Ancient Club’s director of championships.
“We hope that the majority of our former Champions will accept the invitation and join us at St Andrews to help commemorate this very special occasion.”
The invited players are Peter Thomson, Gary Player, Kel Nagle, Arnold Palmer, Bob Charles, Jack Nicklaus, Roberto de Vicenzo, Tony Jacklin, Lee Trevino, Tom Weiskopf, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, Seve Ballesteros, Bill Rogers, Sandy Lyle, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Mark Calcavecchia, Ian Baker-Finch, Nick Price, John Daly, Tom Lehman, Justin Leonard, Mark O’Meara, Paul Lawrie, Tiger Woods, David Duval, Ernie Els, Ben Curtis, Todd Hamilton, Padraig Harrington and holder Stewart Cink.