A week since the official photo of the Champions gathering at St Andrews I have looked at it a few times. The jokey waving spectres hanging over the clubhouse, the disinvited Norman, the pursuaded not to attend Mickelson. It seems the modern era begins with the two 86 year olds Gary Player and Bob Charles. Jack Nicklaus has said that this will be his last Champions dinner.
I looked at this picture and thought I didn’t see Player, Charles or Trevino win, but apart from them, I had seen all of these victories. Disappointing that Todd Hamilton and Ben Curtis did not make the trip. Particularly so as Thomas Bjorn, whose game collapsed in the final round in 2003, allowing Curtis to win, mused that “no amount of money could buy a seat at that table” and he thought about what might have been.
Tom Weiskopf, has been battling pancreatic cancer, but where are Nick Price, still active at 65, and Johnny Miller who only stopped broadcasting in 2019? For one last time, for the 150th Open, it was a huge shame not to have them together.
Those who have gone in this era, Seve, Roberto de Vincenzo, Tony Lema, Kel Nagle and Peter Thomson, much missed. And for this reason, even though the civil war raging through golf did cast a shadow, I feel Norman and Mickelson should have been present here. Whatever is happening now, this is a collective piece of history and this moment in time will never come back. It was a decision that could have been thought through even more deeply.