The Swilcan Bridge on The Old Course in St. Andrews

01
of 11

Tom Watson's Goodbye to St. Andrews

Tom Watson of the United States waves to the crowd from Swilcan Bridge in honor of his final Open Championship appearance during the second round of the 144th Open Championship at The Old Course on July 17, 2015 in St Andrews, Scotland
With light rapidly fading, Tom Watson atop the Swilcan Bridge in 2015. Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

It's not a particularly imposing bridge, the old stone bridge over the Swilcan Burn on The Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland. But the Swilcan Bridge on The Old Course's 18th hole is one of the most famous golf course landmarks in the world.

Everyone who crosses it stops to have his or her photo taken, even the pros. And this gallery of Swilcan Bridge images includes some of those famous pros who've posed on it. Even a trio of greats who said their goodbyes to St. Andrews from atop it.

It's sometimes spelled "Swilken," and the farther back you go the more likely it is to be spelled as Swilken Bridge. But "Swilcan" seems to be the preferred spelling today.

Nobody is sure of the Swilcan Bridge's age, but estimates are from 700 to 800 years old.

Above, Tom Watson waves from atop the Swilcan Bridge at the 2015 British Open (I've resisted the urge to lighten the image because that's just how dark it was when Watson finished his second round play).

Watson said his goodbye to St. Andrews this day. Like many American golfers, Watson wasn't enamored with The Old Course when he first played it. "St. Andrews, when I first played here, I didn't like it," Watson said in 2010. "But I learned to like it. And, eventually, to love it."

Watson actually said two goodbyes from atop the bridge. When he played the 2010 British Open, Watson thought that might his final playing appearance at St. Andrews. And he stopped and waved from the Swilcan Bridge that time, too.

Watson never won an Open played at St. Andrews - but he did win five of them played elsewhere.

02
of 11

Lorena's Major

Lorena Ochoa Swilcan Bridge
Lorena Ochoa shows off her trophy after winning the 2007 Women's British Open. Warren Little / Getty Images

The 2007 Women's British Open was a first in two respects: It was the first time the tournament was played on The Old Course in St. Andrews, and it was the first major championship victory for Lorena Ochoa.

Above, Lorena poses with her trophy on the Swilcan Bridge.

03
of 11

Bill Murray and Friends

Bill Murray Swilcan Bridge
From left, Paul Casey, actor Bill Murray, Ross Fisher and skiing legend Franz Klammer pose during the 2007 Dunhill Links Championship. Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images

Actor Bill Murray (second from left) poses with his fellow-competitors during the 2007 Dunhill Links Championship. Murray was playing in the celebrity pro-am.

To Murray's left, clowning for the camera, is Paul Casey. On the far right is skiing legend Franz Klammer, and to Murray's immediate right is Ross Fisher.

04
of 11

Swilcan Smooch

Swilcan Bridge Kiss
Padraig Harrington kisses his wife, Caroline, on the Swilcan Bridge after winning the 2006 Dunhill Links Championship. Warren Little / Getty Images

Padraig Harrington plants a kiss on his wife Caroline, while holding onto the trophy he received for winning the 2006 Dunhill Links Championship.

Harrington's two victories in the British Open came at Carnoustie and Royal Birkdale. But his win in the Dunhill Links gave him (and his wife) a chance to pose at this iconic location.

05
of 11

Jack Nicklaus' Farewell

Jack Nicklaus Swilcan Bridge
Jack Nicklaus waves his goodbye to the British Open from the Swilcan Bridge in 2005. David Cannon / Getty Images

Jack Nicklaus poses on the Swilcan Bridge during the 2005 British Open, waving to fans and saying his goodbye to the championship.

A few moments later, Nicklaus sank a putt on the 18th green of The Old Course in St. Andrews, bowing out with a birdie.

Nicklaus won the Open Championship three times, two of those victories (1970 and 1978) coming at The Old Course. He also finished second in the British Open seven times. From 1970 to 1980, Nicklaus finished no lower than fifth at the British.

If you're not impressed with that stat, try this one: From 1963 to 1980, Nicklaus finished lower than sixth in the British Open exactly once. And that once (1965), he was 12th.

06
of 11

Monty's Minions

Colin Montgomerie Swilcan Bridge
Colin Montgomerie and a few of his enthusiastic fans pose on the Swilcan Bridge following the 2005 Dunhill Links Championship. Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images

Scotland's own Colin Montgomerie won the Dunhills Links Championship in 2005 on The Old Course in St. Andrews. And afterward, he posed with the trophy on the Swilcan Bridge.

Joining Monty were some of his mop-headed fans, wearing the wigs they sported while following Montgomerie during the final round.

07
of 11

Slammin' Sam Dances

Sam Snead Swilcan Bridge
Sam Snead dances on the Swilcan Bridge in 2000. Paul Severn / Getty Images

Sam Snead does a little dance on the Swilcan Bridge at the 2000 British Open. Snead didn't play in the tournament itself, but did take part in the Champions Challenge, a 4-hole charitable tournament for former winners of the Open Championship.

Snead was famously unimpressed with The Old Course when he first saw it. As his trained pulled into St. Andrews, Snead saw the links out the window, but didn't realize what he was lookng at. "Say," he remarked to a fellow traveler, "that looks like an old abandoned golf course." A few days later, Snead was the winner of the 1946 British Open.

08
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Arnold Palmer on the Swilcan Bridge

Arnold Palmer Swilcan Bridge
Arnold Palmer waves goodbye to fans and to the British Open from the Swilcan Bridge at St. Andrews in 1995. Stephen Munday / Getty Images

Arnold Palmer waves his goodbye to the British Open from the Swilcan Bridge in 1995. That was the year Palmer played the Open Championship for the final time.

In fact, the last two appearances by Arnie in the British Open were in St. Andrews. He played in 1990, then didn't play again until his last appearance in 1995.

Palmer is generally credited with reigniting the importance of the British Open on the worldwide golf scene. He played at St. Andrews in 1960 at a time when very few American stars made the trip. Palmer had won The Masters and the U.S. Open, and wanted to add the British Open. Alas, he fell one stroke short, but did win back-to-back Open titles the following two years.

09
of 11

US Open Winners in St. Andrews

US Open Winners Swilcan Bridge
U.S. Open champions (from left) Raymond Floyd, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus on the Swilcan Bridge during a British Open practice round in 1995. David Cannon / Getty Images

Four winners of the United States Open pose on the Swilcan Bridge during a practice round for the 1995 British Open. They are (from left) Raymond Floyd, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus.

Floyd never won the Open Championship, but Palmer won it twice, Nicklaus three times and Watson five times.

10
of 11

Swilcan Bridge Crossing, 1929

Swilcan Bridge 1929
Joyce Wethered leads Glenna Collet Vare across the Swilcan Bridge in the 1929 British Ladies Amateur Championship. Puttnam / Topical Press Agency / Getty Images

Joyce Wethered leads Glenna Collett Vare across the Swilcan Bridge during the championship match of the British Ladies Amateur in 1929. The two pre-World War II titans of women's golf are followed by a throng of fans.

The matchup of Wethered and Vare was perhaps the most anticipated match in the history of women's golf. Wethered dominated golf in Britain in the 1920s; Vare dominated golf in America in the 1920s. Wethered had been retired from competition for three years when she heard Vare was coming to Scotland to play the 1929 British Ladies Amateur at St. Andrews. The chance to face Vare lured Wethered back into competition.

And Wethered beat Vare in that championship match, 3 and 1, for her fourth victory in the event. Neither of them is well-known today, although Vare is better known by virtue of having the LPGA scoring title named after her (the Vare Trophy). But one can make an argument (and some have) that Wethered is the greatest player in the history of women's golf. Bobby Jones said of her, "I have not played golf with anyone, man or woman, amateur or professional, who made me feel so utterly outclassed."

11
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Legs - and Cigarette - Dangling

Competitor Miss Margaret Hamilton sitting on Swilcan Bridge at St Andrews golf course during the Ladies' British Open Amateur Championship in 1929
Another photo of the Swilcan Bridge from 1929. Puttnam /Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

We'll close with one more old photo, again from the 1929 British Ladies Amateur. This one shows competitor Margaret Hamilton with a cigarette dangling from her lips and her legs dangling over the side of the Swilcan Bridge.

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Kelley, Brent. "The Swilcan Bridge on The Old Course in St. Andrews." ThoughtCo, Jun. 8, 2016, thoughtco.com/the-swilcan-bridge-on-the-old-course-in-st-andrews-4051559. Kelley, Brent. (2016, June 8). The Swilcan Bridge on The Old Course in St. Andrews. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-swilcan-bridge-on-the-old-course-in-st-andrews-4051559 Kelley, Brent. "The Swilcan Bridge on The Old Course in St. Andrews." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-swilcan-bridge-on-the-old-course-in-st-andrews-4051559 (accessed November 21, 2017).