Open hero Tony Jacklin is looking to playing his part in history at Nailcote Hall. Rob Tanner reports.
Short course golf is the ultimate test of a player’s ability, says former Open Champion and legendary Ryder Cup captain Tony Jacklin CBE – and he plans to prove it.
The 64-year-old is one of the greatest golfers ever to come from these shores and he is set to swing his famous irons once more at next month’s Numark British Par 3 Championship at Nailcote Hall in Warwickshire.
Jacklin will host the 75th anniversary event between August 4-7 and is relishing tackling the par-three course with gusto. Jacklin, who won the Open in 1969 and the US Open a year later, as well as captaining Europe to Ryder Cup success in 1985 and 1987, will be joined by stars from the European Tour and some special guests on the picturesque course.
“I am looking forward to it very much,” said Jacklin, who now lives in Florida. “My wife and my son are coming over for it and my 16-year-old son, Shaun, is playing in the event.
“I have never played at Nailcote Hall before but I hear it is very good. The only par-three event I have ever played in was at Augusta.
“Par-three golf is a very different challenge. It deals with the business end of the game. Golf has become very long these days and all the players hit the ball a long way. Ross Fisher hit some unbelievable long shots when he won the European Open recently. He was driving around 350 yards, which is an incredible distance.
“Courses have to be lengthened as a result but the old saying ‘you drive for show and putt for dough’ is still true. It is no good hitting the ball miles if you can’t chip and put. Chipping and putting get the job done.
“The British Par 3 Championship is fast paced, fun-filled and action packed. I’m delighted to have been invited to host an event so steeped in golfing history.”
Jackin will compete in all four days of the televised championship as well as hosting prize giving ceremonies and evening gala dinners.
The event will tee-off with a ‘Tribute to Tommy Horton MBE’ Pro/Celebrity-Amateur Golf Day on Monday August 4 and Jacklin is particularly pleased a good friend of his is being honoured.
“Tommy did a massive amount for the Senior game,” Jacklin explained. “I have known him for over 40 years and he had a remarkable career as a senior player. It is fitting that he is being honoured in this way at such a picturesque venue.”
The Pro/Celebrity-Amateur Golf Day will be followed by the main Pro-Am event during which European Tour and PGA professionals will be competing for the coveted title of Numark British Par 3 Champion 2008. The 75th Anniversary celebrations will conclude with a Celebrity-Amateur Golf Day on Thursday August 7.
“It is going to be fantastic for the public to see European Tour players up close and showcasing their talents around Nailcote Hall,” Jacklin added. “I will be getting in some practice before I arrive and I am looking forward to the challenge myself.”