The Claret Jug carries the weight of history at St Andrews

ST ANDREWS, Scotland: The Claret Jug weighs just 2.5kg, but when The Open is played on the Old Course at the ‘Home of Golf’ the trophy carries the added weight of history.

Tiger Woods, who snagged two of his three Open titles at St Andrews, said this windswept stretch of Scottish coast, rather than Augusta National, was his favorite spot.

The opportunity to play it again at the 150th Open Championship helped hasten his comeback after a career-threatening car accident that nearly left the 15-time Major winner with his right leg.

“It feels more historical than it usually does,” Woods said. “Every time we play here, it’s history.

“It’s hard to believe, it’s been 150 years since we played this tournament.

“And it’s incredible, the story behind it, the champions that have won here. It’s hard to believe it’s more historical, but it really is.

“That’s how it feels. It feels like it’s the greatest open championship we’ve ever had.”

The Old Course became an 18 hole layout in 1764 and has stood the test of time.

Though there have been changes the challenge remains timeless, said Jack Nicklaus, a three-time Open champion, the last two coming at St Andrews, where he was made an honorary citizen on Tuesday.

“The game has changed quite a bit, but St. Andrews hasn’t,” said the 18-time Major winner. “Sure St Andrews added a bit of length, The Old Course did.

“But the length was added to try and somehow compromise the golf ball of today. But you still have to play golf.

“You still have those pesky little bunkers out there that snag your ball every time you miss.

“Someone struck here 60 or 100 years ago and had the same problem.”

Golfers say they feel that history the moment they arrive in St Andrews, where the Open is being held for the 30th time.

It’s a place where infamous bunkers like Hell on the 14th hole or the dip guarding the 18th green known as “The Valley of Sin” have been elevated to national landmarks.

“History. It’s as simple as that. History,” said Spaniard Jon Rahm, summing up the magic of an Open in St. Andrews. “I wouldn’t say that the golf course itself is anything special.

“It’s just the story of the game and how much it means.

“I’ve heard several champions say it.

“You can’t really call yourself a great player unless you win The Open at St Andrews, which is a very selective group.”