- Associated Press - Monday, July 16, 2012

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, ENGLAND (AP) - Tony Jacklin chuckled when someone mentioned he was making a comeback.

“I’m past my sell-by date,” the 68-year-old said Monday.

While Jacklin’s days as a competitive force on the golf course have long since passed, he’s planning to tee it up in next week’s British Senior Open at Turnberry.

“We had this sort of spare week next week,” Jacklin said. “I looked at it and thought, `Turnberry. Why not?’” Links golf, you never know what you’re going to get, and I sure as hell never know what I am going to get when I walk on a golf course these days. I’m disappointed most of the time.”

The Englishman smiled at that critical self-assessment, which is easy to do since he knows his place in the game is secure.

Jacklin became a national hero in 1969 at Royal Lytham, where he became the first British player to win the British Open in nearly two decades. The following year, he took the U.S. Open at Hazeltine, becoming the first European winner of that event since 1926.

The Hall of Famer remains the last English player to win the British Open at an English course. All three of Nick Faldo’s titles came in Scotland.

Jacklin was asked what he remembered most as he was coming down the stretch at Lytham on the way to claiming the claret jug.

“Being nervous,” he said. “I remember saying to Jack Nicklaus at the presentation, `I didn’t think I could be that nervous and play.’ And he said, `I know. Isn’t it great?’”

Jacklin, who now lives in Florida, has essentially retired as a player but still competes a few times a year.

The chance to give it a go at Turnberry was too good to pass up.

“It was a week with nothing to do,” Jacklin said. “We were going to go over to Norway and mess around, and rather than do that, I thought, `Why not go back to Turnberry?’ It’s a favorite place. I’ve done a lot of things there over the years, corporate (outings), and spent a lot of time there. I like it.”

He was hoping to be the oldest player in the field. Then he saw 76-year-old Gary Player had entered.

“I’m glad to see Gary is going to be playing,” Jacklin said. “It’ll definitely be my last hurrah. I will not be performing on the golf course … with my crutch as a putter and all of that. We won’t go there.”


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