No means no, says Golden Bear

No means no, says the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus who won’t be attending this year’s British Open.

Speculation had been rife that Nicklaus would return to St Andrews and the scene of two of his three British Open triumphs to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of golf’s oldest Major.

No means no, says Golden Bear No means no, says Golden Bear

And although he was in St Andrews to host a corporate clinic in late May, Nicklaus will not be enticed back to the Home of Golf, despite the offer from the R & A to all former British Open winners of free air travel and accommodation.

“I’m not going to go back to St Andrews just to attend a dinner and play four holes of golf,” said Nicklaus in reference to attending a former champions’ dinner and a Champions Challenge to be held on the eve of the Open.

“So I called Peter Dawson (CEO of the R & A) and informed him I would not be coming.

“I don’t know whether you will understand but 2005 was so good, I said goodbye to the game of golf at the place I wanted to say goodbye to it.

“This is a personal thing on my part.

“The people were wonderful, the game was great, The Open was a very special event, especially at St Andrews where I won twice.

“For me to come again and go back out on the course, I just don’t want to do that because it was so good before.

“Peter [Dawson] told me: ‘Jack, I suspected that was why you had said you didn’t think you were going to come’.

“He said I could still come for dinner – but it’s a long way to go for dinner.”

Nicklaus said he felt he had already made the perfect exit from St Andrews in 2005 when he received a standing ovation on all 18 holes before going out in super style with a birdie at the 18th .

“I don’t go to any of the majors in the States apart from the Masters and that is because of the Masters dinner and it is very close to where I live,” Nicklaus added.

“But I didn’t say goodbye at the Masters, I said goodbye at St Andrews and that is the way I feel.”

Nicklaus was present at St Andrews in May hosting a “RBS Patrons” clinic on the practice range behind the Old Course Hotel.

The Royal Bank of Scotland is one of Nicklaus’ major sponsors and it’s believed the 18-times Majors champion is being paid £5m annually to represent the bank worldwide.

He later had dinner in the R & A clubhouse, as he is permitted, after being afforded honorary membership.