Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Paul Lawrie were announced as honorary members of the iconic Old Course at St. Andrews by the R&A on Wednesday, one day before the Scottish venue hosts the 2022 Open Championship.
"I warmly congratulate Tiger, Rory and Paul on becoming honorary members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club," St. Andrews captain Peter Foster said. "They have each made huge contributions to golf and played their part in inspiring millions to take up and follow the sport around the world."
Woods is a three-time winner of the Open Championship, including twice when it was held at St. Andrews in 2000 and 2005.
"I am grateful for this invitation to become an honorary member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews," Woods said. "It is not only the home of golf but a place in this world that I hold near my heart. I am humbled to accept this invitation alongside these outstanding players today, as well as those who came before us."
Tiger is set to play The Open for the first time since 2019 this week. The tournament wasn't held in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and he missed last year's event because of injury.
On Tuesday, he posted a picture alongside other past Open Championship winners:
Woods has yet to contend since making his return to competitive golf in April. He started strong in The Masters but ultimately finished 47th. He proceeded to miss the cut in the PGA Championship and finished 39th in last week's JP McManus Pro-Am.
Yet, McIlroy believes the 15-time major champion could be in the hunt come Sunday afternoon given his course knowledge at St. Andrews.
"I think the way the golf course is and the way the conditions are, I could certainly see it," McIlroy said Tuesday. "It's going to be a game of chess this week, and no one's been better at playing that sort of chess game on a golf course than Tiger over the last 20 years."
McIlroy (2014) and Lawrie (1999) have each captured one Claret Jug, though neither of those triumphs came at St. Andrews.
The 33-year-old Northern Irishman noted Wednesday he was "thrilled" about the honorary member status.
"It's a privilege to represent a club that has done so much for golf over so many years and I'm proud to play my part in promoting golf around the world," McIlroy said.
Looking ahead, Lawrie will be part of the first group off the tee Thursday morning at St. Andrews (6:35 a.m. BST/1:35 a.m. EDT) alongside Webb Simpson and Min Woo Lee.
McIlroy (9:58 a.m. BST/4:58 a.m. EDT) and Woods (2:59 p.m. BST/9:59 a.m. EDT) follow later in the day.