Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy just joined one of golf’s most exclusive clubs

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy practiced together at the Old Course prior to the start of this week's Open.

Oisin Keniry/R&A/R&A via Getty Images

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have grown into their roles as unofficial spokespeople of the pro golf establishment in the wake of the upstart LIV Golf league. Now the illustrious duo with 19 majors between them are set to become official members of the “Home of Golf.”

On Wednesday, the R&A said that Woods and McIlroy had accepted invitations to become honorary members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, one of the oldest golf clubs in the world, whose clubhouse looms behind the 18th green of the Old Course. Veteran Scottish pro Paul Lawrie, who won the 1999 Open at Carnoustie, was also named an honorary member.

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“I warmly congratulate Tiger, Rory and Paul on becoming Honorary Members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club,” Peter Forster, captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, said in a statement. “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. They are not only great champions but fantastic ambassadors for golf and have brought so much joy to so many young fans in particular.”

Woods, the 15-time major champion, has won three Open Championships in his career, including the 2000 and 2005 Opens at the Old Course at St. Andrews, which he previously has said is his favorite course in the world.

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Tiger was also quoted in the R&A’s release, writing, “I am grateful for this invitation to become an Honorary Member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. 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.”

McIlroy, who won the 2014 Open at Royal Liverpool and is the betting favorite claim his second claret jug this week, said it is “a privilege to represent a club that has done so much for golf” and that he is “proud to play my part in promoting golf around the world.”

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews was founded way back in 1754, and until 2004 was in charge of running the Open. That year, the R&A as we now know it separated from the club to become one of golf’s ruling bodies and take over tournament organizing duties.

Interestingly, although the club is located alongside the Old Course, it does not own or operate the courses in St. Andrews, which are open to the public and owned by the city.

Kevin Cunningham

Golf.com Editor

As managing producer for GOLF.com, Cunningham edits, writes and publishes stories on GOLF.com, and manages the brand’s e-newsletters, which reach more than 1.4 million subscribers each month. A former two-time intern, he also helps keep GOLF.com humming outside the news-breaking stories and service content provided by our reporters and writers, and works with the tech team in the development of new products and innovative ways to deliver an engaging site to our audience.