Whatever you want to call it -- the home of golf, the birthplace of golf or the truest test of golf -- matters not to me. We can all agree the Old Course at St. Andrews is as unadulterated and nostalgic as this sport -- which is so often forced into a chic, modern template -- gets.
The major championship schedule returns to Scotland next week for the 144th Open Championship (as it's properly called across the pond). It will be the 29th edition at the Old Course at St. Andrews, starting in 1873 when Tom Kidd won $17 for conquering golf's greats at the most famous track on the planet. He shot 91-88 in the two rounds there.
The Old Course hasn't always been known for its golf, though. Much like Augusta National once housed house cows and turkeys, the Old Course became a rabbit farm after St. Andrews went bankrupt late in the 18th century.
Twenty years of legal and physical war between golfers and the rabbit farmers concluded in 1821 when James Cheape of Strathtyrum, a local landowner and keen golfer, bought the land and, in his own estimation, 'saved the Links for golf.'
Thank you, James Cheape.
The 18-hole course was also said to be invented at this track (it was originally 22 holes). So yeah, you could say this is an historic place.
An Englishman or Scotsman won at St. Andrews every year until 1921 when American Jock Hutchison shot a reasonable 296 over four rounds to take first prize.
In 1927, Bobby Jones became the first winner to break 70 as he shot a 68 in the first round. As an amateur, Jones collected less than Kidd did back in 1873 ($0).
In all, Americans have won this tournament 10 times, Scotsmen nine, Englishmen four, Australians two, South Africans two and Spanish one.
Then things got fun.
Jack Nicklaus won twice, followed by Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and ... wait for it ... John Daly. "I don't know," Daly said that week. "There's just something about this golf course I love."
Then Tiger Woods did it twice. Once in 2000 as part of the Tiger Slam, then again in 2005 for his 10th major and second Open Championship (he would get his third the next year).
Last time out here (in 2010), the Open was a snoozer. Louis Oosthuizen (who shares the course record of 62) won by 7 over Lee Westwood. Rory McIlroy shot a 63; he also shot an 80.
The past four winners prove you have to murder the ball off the tee to win at St. Andrew's. Daly, that version of Woods and Oosthuizen are big-time with the driver. Looking at you, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson.
One of the most telling nuances about the Old Course's ties to history is the names of its holes. Specifically, the 10th and 18th. The 10th is simply named "Bobby Jones" after the man who once received the keys to the city; the 18th is named "Tom Morris."
I'm not sure whether that's Young or Old.
That's probably the point.