Resting place of golfing greats in St Andrews re-opens in time for the 150th Open Championship

Access to the resting places of some of golf’s most famous figures has been reinstated at St Andrews Cathedral ahead of the start of the 150th Open Championship.

The move comes after Historic Environment Scotland (HES), which manages the site in Fife, carried out essential inspections.

The ruins of Scotland's largest medieval church have remained closed since last year after condition checks identified a potential risk of danger from falling masonry.

Following inspection, a route has been opened through the cathedral grounds to provide access to the graves of Old and Young Tom Morris and other golfing pioneers, as well as to the museum and its important treasures, and exhibition.

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    The 150th Open Championship, which starts on July 10, is expected to attract a record-breaking 290,000 fans to St Andrews.

    Fans of the game's history will now be able to visit the important sites, alongside partial access to the Cathedral grounds. Some access restrictions will remain in place at the site for the time being for further conservation work, including St Rule’s Tower.

    Stephen Duncan, Director of Marketing and Engagement at HES said: "We are delighted to be able to provide additional access to St Andrews Cathedral, as part of Scotland’s welcome for the Open with the museum and its important treasures reopening after essential restrictions were put in place for high level masonry inspections.

    "Whilst some access restrictions remain in place for safety reasons, we have also opened access to the graves of Old and Young Tom Morris, amongst some of golf’s most famous sons, which reside within the grounds.

    Open again in time for golf's greatest tournament: St Andrews Cathedral Pic: HES

    "We know how important it is to be able to offer visitors from around the world the opportunity to visit these sites and have been working across teams to facilitate access in advance of the Open and look forward to welcoming visitors to the cathedral once more."

    Fans will be able to take a pilgrimage to the grave of Thomas Mitchell Morris, better known as "Old Tom Morris" or "The Grand Old Man of Golf", who won the Open Championship four times in the 1860s. The competition's oldest ever winner at 46, Old Tom Morris was also a pioneering greenkeeper, clubmaker, ballmaker, golf instructor and course designer.

    His son, Young Tom Morris, remains the youngest ever Open winner after becoming champion aged 17 in 1868. He won the Open four times by the age of 21 but died aged just 24. Clubs all over Scotland chipped in to build his memorial at St Andrews Cathedral.

    Others buried in the grounds include Sir Hugh Lyon Playfair, the Provost of St Andrews who was involved in the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in the 1850s; Allan Robertson, golf’s first professional; Jamie Anderson, the three time consecutive winner of the Claret Jug who died destitute; and his father, known as David "Da" Anderson, who sold drinks from a cart on the Old Course, and in whose honour the fourth hole was named "Ginger Beer".

    Andrew Kirkaldy, who had 14 top ten finishes at The Open between 1879 and 1904, is buried in the Eastern Cemetery at St Andrews Cathedral.

    The Cathedral is one of nearly 70 HES properties currently closed in full or in part.

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