By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — Already a two-time winner at St. Andrews, Tiger Woods picked up another honor before he even struck a blow at the 150th edition of the British Open.

He is now an honorary member of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

The R&A used its big celebration this week to bestow honorary membership status on Open Woods champions Rory McIlroy and Paul Lawrie.

It’s not like Woods needs help getting a tee time on the Old Course, or even getting into the famous clubhouse. But it’s a great honor.

political cartoons

“It’s not just the home of golf, but a place in this world close to my heart,” Woods said in a statement. “I am honored to accept this invitation alongside these exceptional players today, as well as those who have come before us.”

Woods won in 2000 and 2005 at St. Andrews, then at Royal Liverpool in 2006. The next time at Royal Liverpool, in 2014, it was McIlroy’s turn, winning step by step for the third career Grand Slam leg. Lawrie won in historic and memorable fashion at Carnoustie in 1999, a 10-stroke comeback against Jean Van de Velde and a playoff win.

“It is a privilege to represent a club that has done so much for golf for so many years and I am proud to play my part in promoting golf around the world,” said McIlroy.

Bryson DeChambeau no longer has a golf ball sponsorship with Bridgestone, the latest example of sponsors breaking away from players who signed with Saudi-funded LIV Golf.

Golf.com announced that DeChambeau would use the Bridgestone ball. He just won’t get paid for it.

“The PGA Tour is an extremely important part of professional golf, and Bridgestone has a sports marketing relationship with this highly visible tournament series,” Bridgestone said in a statement posted to the website. “Considering that Bryson DeChambeau will no longer be attending these events, Bridgestone and Bryson have agreed to end their brand ambassador partnership.”

DeChambeau had been with Bridgestone since 2016 and signed an extension in 2020. The idea was to play a bigger role in the development of new golf balls.

DeChambeau is the first player to lose an equipment contract in the LIV Golf era. Callaway said he was putting his relationship with Phil Mickelson on hold.

MACINTYRE’S “GOOSEPUMPS”

Local hopes at St. Andrews rest on the sturdy shoulders of Robert MacIntyre, one of three Scots on the pitch this week.

And the locals will be hoping MacIntrye can crack the top 10 in his first two British Open appearances with another solid run at Bordeaux. Those who have come to Northern Ireland (Royal Portrush) and England (Royal St. George’s) and playing in his native Scotland – the home of golf, no less – gives him a different feel.

“When I was driving on Sunday, that’s the first time I got goosebumps coming to St. Andrews,” said MacIntyre, 25. “I’ve always driven around town and it’s like, ‘Oh, we’re in St. Andrews.’

“But when I came from up town and had some music, I got goosebumps.”

The last Scottish Open champion was Paul Lawrie in 1999 at Carnoustie. He will hit the first tee shot on Thursday.

There are some parts of Jordan Spieth’s game that he says are better now than when he first played at St. Andrews in 2015. But again, he was earning more seven years ago.

So who wins between Spieth at St. Andrews in 2015 and Spieth at St. Andrews in 2022?

Spieth leaned towards 2015 due to his momentum. He had won the previous week at the John Deere Classic, and his tournament before that he had won the US Open for the second leg of the calendar Grand Slam.

“I would say if I was playing against myself then, if I was fighting this week, then I would be holding a trophy,” Spieth said.

It would be simple calculations. Spieth completed a shot on the playoff three.

“I don’t necessarily know if I could answer that because I feel like I’m hitting further, I feel like my knowledge of seeing a lot more majors and a lot more tournaments can mentally…maybe I have a advantage on a shot that I wouldn’t have thought of at the time,” he said.

“But I was also canning everything I watched at the time, and I can’t say that will happen every week. But it can certainly happen in four days.

Scottie Scheffler arrives at the British Open as the world’s No. 1 player. For him, that doesn’t mean he’s the player to beat. Not sure anyone thinks that.

“I guess I’m No. 1 in the rankings. I don’t know if I’m necessarily perceived that way by all of you or anyone, but it’s not something I really think about,” he said. “For me, I just try to get out there and play good golf.”

It can be easy to overlook. Scheffler had only won on the PGA Tour at the Phoenix Open in February. And then he couldn’t lose. He won Bay Hill and Match Play to reach No. 1, then he won the Masters.

He missed the PGA Championship cut, but he was right there was a chance to win the US Open. He finished one shot behind.

Scheffler is not complaining.

“I don’t feel like there’s any extra attention on me. I haven’t read a lot, but I guess not everyone is picking me to win this week,” he said. “I don’t think I was the favorite maybe for the Masters. I don’t know if I was the favorite for maybe going to tournaments.

“That might not be the real perception. It’s just mine, but I don’t read a ton of stuff,” he said. “So for me, I don’t really feel like #1.”

More AP Golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.