Golf graduations

The town of St Andrews and its ancient university honoured some of the world’s best-loved golfers when The 150th Open Championship returned to the Home of Golf in July 2022.

Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, José María Olazábal, Catriona Matthew, Sir Bob Charles and Sandy Lyle were honoured in a major public ceremony in the Younger Hall, North Street, St Andrews, on Tuesday 12 July at 1pm.

Read more about the golf graduation

Watch the ceremony

Dr Jack Nicklaus Hon LLD

Jack Nicklaus in academic gown, receiving his honorary citizenship of St Andrews. Quote reads: Allow me to simply say thank you for remembering and not forgetting me and, most important, thank you for allowing me to be what I almost felt I was for so many decades - one of you. Thank you, St Andrews.

Jack Nicklaus is, simply put, the greatest champion in golf history. His record of achievement and sustained excellence within the game are unmatched.

Jack was recognised as Golfer of the 20th Century or Golfer of the Millennium by almost every major golf publication and media outlet in the world. He was named Individual Male Athlete of the Century by Sports Illustrated and one of the ten Greatest Athletes of the Century by ESPN. Jack has 120 professional tournament victories worldwide, and his major championship record remains unequalled: 18 professional major championship titles (six Masters, five PGA Championships, four US Opens, three Open Championships).

As a global ambassador, business executive, acclaimed course designer and tireless philanthropist, Jack has used his success as a platform and vehicle for the greater good of others. This includes a 50-year commitment to the health and welfare of children. In 2004, he co-founded with his wife Barbara the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation. The Foundation has raised more than US$100 million in less than 15 years, and its impact has led to the rebranding of renowned Miami Children’s Hospital and Miami Children’s Health System to Nicklaus Children’s. The hospital has cared for children from 119 countries and all 50 states in the union, and the Nicklaus Children’s Health System includes 16 outpatient and urgent care centres.

Because of his transcendental career and life, Jack Nicklaus is the first sportsperson and only the fourth person in history to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2005), the Congressional Gold Medal (2015) and the Lincoln Medal (2018).

Read Jack Nicklaus’s laureation address

Sir Bob Charles ONZ KNZM CBE

Sir Bob Charles in academic gown, receiving his honorary degree. Quote reads: My lack of success on the Old Course has been redeemed by this Honorary love for St Andrews continues on this special day.

Sir Bob Charles ONZ KNZM CBE embarked upon a career that no New Zealander had chosen before - that of a full-time touring professional golfer. He competed in the 'golden age' of professional golf in the 1960s and 1970s. 

His achievements over five decades rank him among the most successful left-handed golfers of all time, being the first lefty to win a golf major, winning more than 70 titles.

The televising of golf from the early 1960s created an explosion in enthusiasm for the game. During this period, he acquired the title of the 'best putter in the world' in the eyes of both journalists and fellow competitors. 

His senior career delivered another 20 years of success in the game he loved. For the first 10 years on the Senior PGA Tour, from 1986, Bob Charles became the man to beat.

With his 1999 knighthood and his elevation to the Order of New Zealand in 2011 he has been honoured not only for his success as a golfer but also for the way he has lived his life. 

His enduring and happy marriage to Verity and the closeness of his relationship to his children and grandchildren form an important part of the story. Verity's contribution in her support of his career was enormous as Bob was able to travel the world, focusing solely on competing and succeeding at the highest level in his sport.

Read Sir Bob Charles’s laureation address

Catriona Isobel Matthew OBE

Catriona Matthew in academic gown, receiving her honorary degree. Quote reads: Although I always loved the golf course, I dont think I realised what a special place St Andrews is for golfers until I started to travel the world.

Catriona Isobel Matthew OBE is a Scottish professional golfer who plays mainly on the US-based LPGA Tour and is also a member of the Ladies European Tour and is Scotland’s most successful female golfer.

Catriona has competed around the world for 25 years - her global success led to her being selected to captain Team Europe at the prestigious Solheim Cup in 2019 and 2021 and was the first European Solheim Cup captain to back-to-back victories.

She had a successful junior and amateur career, becoming Scottish Girls champion in 1986 and Scottish Under-21 Stroke Play champion in 1988 and 1989. She captured the Scottish Amateur title in 1991, 1993 and 1994, and the British Amateur title in 1993. She is also a two-time winner of the St Rule Trophy played at St Andrews. She was a member of the 1990, 1992 and 1994 Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup teams. 

Matthew qualified for the LPGA Tour by tying for fifth at the 1994 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn exempt status for the 1995 season. She soon established herself on the Tour, and her best seasons were 2001 and 2005, when she finished tenth on the money list.

She won her maiden professional tournament at the Holden Women's Australian Open in 1996. She won the 1998 McDonald's WPGA Championship on the Ladies European Tour. She was a member of the 1998 Solheim Cup Team and first reserve for the 2000 matches held in her native Scotland. 

She was somewhat controversially left out of the 2002 Solheim Cup team but was a captain's pick for the 2003 team, gaining the Cup winning point. She was a captain's pick for the 2005 team as well. She qualified outright for the 2007, 2009 and 2011 Solheim Cup teams.

She teamed with Janice Moodie to represent Scotland at the 2005 and 2006 Women's World Cup of Golf. and was a member of the victorious international team captained by Annika Sörenstam in the inaugural Lexus Cup.

She won the 2007 Scandinavian TPC hosted by Annika.

In January 2009, she won the inaugural HSBC LPGA Brasil Cup 2009, an unofficial LPGA event with a field of 14 LPGA players and a Brazilian national amateur. Matthew was five months pregnant with her second child at the time of the victory.

On 2 August 2009 at Royal Lytham & St Annes, Matthew won the Ricoh Women's British Open with a final score of 3-under-par over second-place finisher Karrie Webb. It was her first win in a major tournament. The victory came 11 weeks after she gave birth to her second daughter, Sophie. She was the first player from Scotland to win a women's major golf tournament.

On 13 November 2011, Matthew won her fourth LPGA title at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico.

At the 2013 LPGA Championship, Matthew finished runner-up after losing a sudden-death playoff against the world number one Inbee Park. Matthew and Park finished the tournament tied together at five-under-par, with Matthew coming from seven strokes behind Park at the start of the final round. In the playoff, they both parred the first two extra holes, but Matthew lost out on the third extra hole when Park made birdie.

In July 2016, Matthew was named as a vice-captain for the 2017 Solheim Cup but ended up playing in the match after an injury to Suzann Pettersen.

On 21 September 2017, Matthew was announced as captain for the 2019 Solheim Cup, which took place at Gleneagles. Europe won the cup in 2019.

In October 2019, Matthew was again announced as Solheim Cup captain for 2021 and in September 2021, led the European team to defeat the US at the Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio.

Read Catriona Matthew’s laureation address

José María Olazábal

José María Olázbal in academic gown, receiving his honorary degree. Quote reads: I believe we have to make our best efforts to make the world a better place, because despite all the problems, life can be wonderful.

José María Olazábal is one of European golf’s most decorated and respected players.  With 30 worldwide tournament titles including 23 on the European Tour, he is one of a very select group of players to have won The Masters twice, securing the Green Jacket in 1994 and 1999.

Having won the 1984 Amateur Championship at the age of 18, José María turned Professional.  After winning the European Tour Qualifying School, he won twice in his rookie season in 1986 and finished second on the Order of Merit, becoming the first Spaniard to receive the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award.

Among many career highlights, the Ryder Cup has certainly been a pivotal one for José María Olazábal having played in seven contests and famously forging a partnership with fellow Spaniard, Seve Ballesteros.  This partnership is still the most successful in the history of the Ryder Cup.

As Captain of the European Team in 2012, José María masterminded the legendary ‘Miracle of Medinah’ when Europe staged the greatest comeback in the history of the event to win the Ryder Cup, which he states is one of the most special moments of his career.

In 2009, José María was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in recognition of his achievements. He now plays on the PGA TOUR Champions in America.

Read José María Olazábal’s laureation address

Lee Buck Trevino

Lee Trevino in academic gown, receiving his honorary degree. Quote reads: This place is special, its the home of golf...I appreciate this award, this it the greatest honour that Ive ever had.

Lee Buck Trevino was born in a three-room shack with no plumbing on a cotton farm in Garland, Texas on December 1, 1939, and raised by his mother, Juanita, and grandfather, Joe, a gravedigger. At age 3 he was picking cotton, at six helping irrigate the cemetery at night. The family moved to Dallas in a field next to the then Glen Lakes CC, where Trevino learned to play on a makeshift three-hole dirt course in the caddie yard.

After leaving school in the eighth grade, Trevino began to develop his ultra-accurate game by working long hours at a lighted driving range and par 3 course, where he hit hundreds of balls a day. At 17, he joined the Marines, training as a machine gunner in Okinawa and playing on  the base golf team. After a four-year stint, he returned to Dallas, toughening his competitive skills playing money games at hardscrabble Tenison Park. Recalling those days, Trevino once said, “You don’t know what pressure is until you play for five bucks with only two in your pocket.” After becoming an assistant pro in El Paso at age 25, he entered his first tournament of any kind in the United States, and won the 1965 Texas State Open.

Trevino first emerged from obscurity with a fifth-place finish at the 1967 U.S. Open at Baltusrol, which earned him a narrow opening to the PGA Tour that he turned into Rookie of the Year honors. The next year he shocked the golf world by winning the championship at Oak Hill, beating Jack Nicklaus by four strokes. He again bested Nicklaus at Merion in 1971, this time in an 18-hole playoff. Three weeks later he captured the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale and retained the Claret Jug the next year at Muirfield. He also won the PGA Championship twice, in 1974 at Tanglewood, and, despite lingering back injuries from being hit by lightning in 1975, at Shoal Creek in 1984.

Those six major championships were the highlight of Trevino’s 29 PGA Tour victories, and he would go on to win 29 more times on the PGA Tour Champions. In six Ryder Cups, Trevino compiled a record of 17-7-6. He was enshrined in the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1981.

A supreme ball striker who was completely self-taught, Trevino has described his journey as that of an “undereducated engineer” who devoted his passion and intellect to mastering the game. With his enduring physical grace, agile wit, and hard-earned wisdom, at 82 years young Lee Trevino remains one of the most charismatic figures in the history of golf.

Read Lee Buck Trevino’s laureation address

Sandy Lyle MBE

Sandy Lyle in academic gown, receiving his honorary degree. Quote reads: When I think about the University here, all the staff who work and hat comes off and I salute you.

Sandy Lyle MBE, although born in Shrewsbury, Lyle's parents were Scottish, and he has always been proud to represent Scotland in international competitions. Before turning professional in 1977 Lyle had an outstanding amateur career. He won the English Amateur Stroke Play Championship in both 1975 and 1977 and was part of the 1977 Walker Cup team. He qualified for his first Open championship as a teenager in 1974.

In 1977 he turned professional and never looked back after winning the European Tour Qualifying School, receiving his biggest cheque to date for £300.

Lyle achieved his first official PGA Tour win in 1986 and quickly became a dominant force in the game, becoming Open Champion (1985), the First European to win The Players championship (1987) and the first British player to earn the green jacket winning The Masters in 1988. That famous victory was marked by what is considered to be the finest long bunker shot ever played to end a major tournament. He spent 167-weeks ranked amongst the world’s top 10 golfers, 

Lyle played in 5 Ryder Cups and was part of two winning teams in 1985 and 1987. Having won 29 Tournaments on various world tours before turning 50, his final 30th victory was the European Seniors Tour in China. He still competes in both the Senior and Champions Tours. 

Sandy was awarded and MBE in 1987. Whilst modest and quiet to a fault, he remains a firm favourite with golf fans worldwide. He was inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 and the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012.

The great Severiano Ballesteros was in awe of Lyle’s talents: "Sandy was the greatest God-given talent in history. If everyone in the world was playing their best, Sandy would win, and I'd come second.

Read Sandy Lyle’s laureation address