St Andrews University Honouring Golf Legends
The University of St Andrews is the oldest university in Scotland and third oldest in the English-speaking world, having been founded between 1410 and 1413. The university attracts students from over 100 countries and independent school intake is high, but the university has an active widening participation policy. St Andrews University has a history in honouring sports personalities especially the ones in the world of golf. About a year ago four of the biggest names in world golf have been awarded degrees by Scotland's oldest university to mark the beginning of the 134th Open Championship. Players Nick Faldo, Laura Davies and Peter Thomson have been honoured by St Andrews University, along with BBC commentator Peter Alliss. The golfers joined several other stars of the sport to be honoured by the university, including Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Colin Montgomerie and Seve Ballesteros.
Peter Alliss was one of Britain's leading professionals but is now best known as a broadcaster for ABC in the US and the BBC in Europe. Nick Faldo won 30 times on the European Tour, six times on the USPGA Tour and has six majors to his name while Laura Davies was the first woman ever to win all three major golfing tournaments in one year during the 1980s. Peter Thomson, an Australian, is regarded as one of the world's best links golfers. In St Andrews, golf has been played in the town since around 1400 and the Old Course is known worldwide as "the home" of the sport, where the game evolved and where the spirit and traditions of golf have been safeguarded for over six centuries. This year, St Andrews University is honouring another legend of golf: Charlie Sifford, the American golfer who defied racism to become an inspiration for a generation of young players.
He will get an honorary degree and become a Doctor of Laws at St Andrews University. Charlie Sifford was the first African-American to challenge the US Professional Golf Association's Caucasian-only clause by joining the professional tour in 1960 and he won the Hartford Open in 1967. In 1969 he took the Los Angeles Open. He played 422 events on the PGA tour and made 399 cuts. Although he was the top black player on tour in the 1960s, he was never invited to play in The Masters. During his career as a golfer he had to face death threats and racial slurs. Dr Brian Lang, principal and vice-chancellor of the St Andrews University said: "Charlie Sifford is a pioneer of the civil rights era whose career exemplifies courage, determination and the will to succeed in the face of substantial prejudice and adversity. He changed the landscape of sport and his story is one which should challenge and inspire us all". He added that "It is absolutely fitting that this man, his unique character, his dignity and his gift to golf should be honoured by St Andrews in St Andrews.