Respected journalist for the Guardian and Reuters Tony Jimenez spoke to Tony following last week’s calls for him to receive a Knighthood…
“A big thank you to Nic Dakin, the Labour MP for my hometown of Scunthorpe, for suggesting in the House of Commons earlier this month that I should be recognised for my contributions to golf by receiving a knighthood.
I was honoured to receive an OBE in 1970 and then a CBE 20 years later. Anything more than that would truly represent the icing on the cake of a career I am proud of.
It was good of Nic to put forward the idea of a campaign and humbling for me to hear that it also received the backing of the Speaker, John Bercow, and the Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom.
I believe the Speaker is now going to write a letter of recommendation and I know the Leader of the House said her son was a fan, so it might well be that she follows suit.
The timing is extra special because I celebrate my 75th birthday next year and 2019 would also represent the 50th anniversary of my 1969 Open victory at Royal Lytham. Events like the one in the Commons do make you sit back and think deeply sometimes. I go back a long way now and I've met a lot of people on my life's journey.
For instance, I knew the late, great tennis player Fred Perry very well and, of course, he never received a gong even though he won Wimbledon three times in the 1930s.
So much water has flowed under the bridge since I turned professional as a teenager and one of my first jobs was spent working in the pro shop at Potters Bar on the outskirts of London.The first televised hole-in-one followed when I recorded my ace at the 1967 Dunlop Masters, and I was in dreamland when I won the Open two years later and then the U.S. Open in 1970.
These days, though, I guess I'm remembered more for my association with the Ryder Cup. I played in the competition seven times and then had the thrill of captaining Europe to victory at The Belfry in 1985 to hand the Americans their first defeat in the competition for 28 years.
It's great to hear my name mentioned in terms of a knighthood and it's gratifying to know that Jack Nicklaus, the R&A and the European Tour, both through current CEO Keith Pelley and his predecessor George O'Grady, have sent letters of recommendation. Lord MacLaurin, formerly the chief executive of Tesco and chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, has also written a letter of recommendation. I've known him for 30 or 40 years and he used to be on the committee that decides these things.
It was also gratifying to read a lovely article from the former Sky Sports commentator Bruce Critchley a few years ago. After Sir Nick Faldo had received his gong, Bruce wrote some nice words saying that it was fine and dandy that Nick had been recognised, but he also felt I should have been knighted first.
You can't take anything for granted though. I'm not holding my breath and if it happens, it happens.