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Sam Snead rolls back the years
Montgomerie hoping to break major duck at last
Quotes from Wednesday
Garcia looking forward to better Open this year
Sandstorm brewing over Open bunkers
Paul Lawrie fit for title defence
Pairings and tee times
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Vijay Singh not intimidated by Woods
Open news and notes
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Woods has warning for his 155 rivals
Van de Velde looks back and forward
Westwood learning to love St Andrews

Sam Torrance qualifies for Open

Tiger Woods aiming for career Grand Slam
Only best of the best win at St Andrews

Woods 2-1 favourite for Open

Donald sets qualification pace

Open could mark John Daly's end to big time golf
22 past Open winners enter Champions Challenge
Faldo looking forward to St Andrews return
Damron joins Hoch in no show for the Open
The Royal & Ancient Golf Club

The Royal & Ancient Golf Club

The R & A is amongst the oldest golf clubs in the world, having continuous records dating back to 1754. On the 14th of May that year 22 noblemen and gentlemen of Fife formed themselves into 'The Society of St Andrews Golfers'. In doing so, they were following the example of certain well-to-do citizens of Edinburgh who, then years earlier, had instituted a society of 'Gentlemen Golfers' at Leith, later to become 'The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers' and to have its course at Muirfield in East Lothian.

The St Andrews society had subscribed towards the purchase of a Silver Club (at Leith the Silver Club had been a gift of the City of Edinburgh) to be played for annually over the Links of St Andrew, the winner who won the greatest number of holes - to be 'Captain of the Golf' for the ensuing year and to mark his victory by appending a silver ball to the Silver Club.

Since the system of reckoning by holes proved complicated and unsatisfactory, stroke play was introduced for the first time in 1759. The Silver Club was continued to be played for in this fashion until 1824, after which it was decided that the Captain should be selected for his personal qualities. To maintain tradition however, the Captain-elect still has to play a symbolic stroke from the 1st tee of the Old Course at 8.00 am on the final day the Club's Autumn Meeting, rewarding the caddie who retrieves the ball with a gold sovereign and affixing a replica of the ball in silver (gold in the case of Royalty) to the Sliver Club.

In the beginning, The Society of St Andrews golfers was no more than an embryo golf club, with concern only for its members and its annual competition; it had no golf course of its own, sharing the public links with the citizens of St Andrews and other golfers, and it had no clubhouse, its members forgathering sometimes at Baillie Glass's and sometimes at the Black Bull Tavern.

In the 1830s, however, both the status and the stability of the Society were improved. In January 1834 King William IV graciously agreed to become the Society's patron and to confer on it the title of 'Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, and in the following year arrangements were made, through the efforts of Mayor (afterwards Sir) Hugh Lyon Playfair, for the members of the R & A to share the premises of the Union Club in the Union Parlour; this was situated where the old Grand Hotel - later a Student Residence - now stands.

The present R & A club was built in 1854, on ground promised by the Town Council, when the R & A and the Union Club had accumulated funds of £800. The two clubs were officially amalgamated in 1877 as the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

Although the Club does not own a golf course, it is very much concerned with the maintenance and improvement of the St Andrew's links. The six courses are controlled by the St Andrews links Trust and are run by the Links Management Committee, on both of which bodes the R & A has representation. An annually negotiated sum is paid to the Trust by the Club in return for its member playing privileges.

Arnold Palmer says goodbye to St Andrews in 1995, will Jack Nicklaus be pictured the same this year ?. Allsport.

The first written Rules of Golf were drawn up in 1744 by the Gentlemen Golfers at Leith and these 13 'Articles & Laws in Playing Golf' were adopted, with one minor change of procedure, by The Society of St Andrews Golfers in 1754. Until the 1830s, therefore, the Gentlemen Golfers and their successors, the Honorable Company, were generally acknowledged to be the custodians of the game's traditions and, as such, were consulted by newly formed clubs and societies on matters of golfing law.

At about the same time as the St Andrews Society was dignified with the title of 'Royal and Ancient', the Leith golfers suffered a temporary loss of cohesion, and the R & A without conscious exercise of authority, gradually acquired the status of premier club. It was natural that when the growth of golf led fifty years later to a demand for a uniform code of rules, it was to the R & A that everyone turned, and in 1987 the Club appointed its first Rules of Golf Committee. From that time onwards the R & A was recognised as Governing Authority for the Rules of Golf in all countries of the world except the United States, Canada and Mexico.

 

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