The Masters 2024: Tearful Jack Nicklaus closes door on returning to cherished venue

Jack Nicklaus has confirmed he won't be returning the home of golf despite being an honorary citizen.

Jack Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus

An emotional Jack Nicklaus admitted he doesn't plan to ever return to St Andrews despite his status as an honorary citizen in the Scottish town. 

Nicklaus famously won The Open Championship three times, with two of his victories coming at The Old Course in St Andrews in 1970 and 1978.

As a result of his achievements, Nicklaus is considered royalty in the iconic town and was officially named an honorary citizen in 2022, becoming only the third American to do so, alongside Bobby Jones and Benjamin Franklin. 

After retiring in 2005, Nicklaus said he wouldn't return to the Scottish town; however, when he was bestowed the honour of becoming a citizen, it was an occasion he couldn't resist.

Since then, he has not returned, and when he spoke to the media at Augusta National, he confirmed his 2022 visit would be his last.

He told reporters:

"Oh, when will I be at St Andrews again? Well, I frankly don't have any plans to be at St Andrews again. I had -- when I retired in 2005, I had no plans to go back. And then I said, you know, I finished, I retired from St Andrews, I don't want to go back. I've had enough.

"And then they made me an honorary citizen, and there's no way I'm going to say no to that. So I went back two years ago for that. And it was a wonderful honour, and -- but I love St Andrews. I've had great memories. I don't want to go back at my age and tarnish memories.

"The only thing I can do is do something worse. So I want to leave it -- it was very special. I want to leave it very special."

Nicklaus, 84, joined fellow honorary starters Gary Player and Tom Watson on the 1st tee at Augusta National on Thursday to begin the 88th Masters, with the 18-time major champion still possessing an enviable swing for his age. 

Nicklaus is the most decorated player in Masters history, having slipped on the green jacket six times in his record-breaking career. 

He also holds the title of being the oldest winner at the tournament, an accolade he achieved in 1986 when he secured victory at 46 years old.

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