A foursome of British Open champions accepted invitations to become Honorary Members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.
Catriona Matthew, Ernie Els Padraig Harrington and Nick Price join an all-star list of past and present members that includes Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Laura Davies, Annika Sorenstam, Peter Thomson, Roberto De Vicenzo, Renee Powell, Kel Nagle and Louise Suggs.
“I would like to congratulate Catriona, Ernie, Padraig and Nick on becoming Honorary Members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club,” said Clive Edginton, captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, in a release.
“They have each distinguished themselves with their long and hugely successful careers in golf. As well as being great champions, they are superb role models for any young golfers to follow and embody so many of the qualities which make golf such a special sport. They have done a great deal to help promote golf around the world and this recognition is extremely well deserved.”
With 11 major championship victories between them, each have captained teams at the Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup and Presidents Cup. (Harrington and Matthew are current Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup captains.)
Scotland’s Matthew won the British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 2009 and has 11 professional victories worldwide. She also led Team Europe to a thrilling Solheim Cup victory at Gleneagles last year. She was among the first recipients of an R&A Scholarship at the University of Stirling.
Els, a four-time major champion, won at Muirfield in 2002 and Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 2012 along with his two U.S. Open titles in 1994 and 1997. The former No. 1 has 73 professional wins around the world. In 1999, he established the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation to support children from families of limited resources to progress in golf and has helped the careers of numerous young players.
Harrington won the British Open in back-to-back years at Carnoustie in 2007 and Royal Birkdale in 2008, winning the PGA Championship that same year. In 2011 he became an ambassador for The R&A, helping to support to support and promote a wide range of participation, coaching and Rules education initiatives.
Price is a three-time major champion and former No. 1 who won at Turnberry in 1994. The Zimbabwean has 48 professional titles and represented the International team in the Presidents Cup on five occasions and captained the team for three matches.