Pensioner George Faldo enlisted the help of his golfing son to hunt high and low for the sentimental watch, which was given to him as an 80th birthday present.
To their amazement golf fan Gordon Campbell, from Motherwell, stepped out of the 200,000 crowd and handed the timepiece to police.
Gordon – a keen golfer with a handicap of four – said he was equally surprised to be told by officers that it belonged to Sir Nick’s dad.
He said: “It was obvious when I found the watch that it would hold great sentimental value to the owner.
“I am really glad I have helped reunite Mr Faldo with his watch.
“You can imagine how amazed I was when police told me that it belonged to the father of Sir Nick Faldo.”
Hunting the rough
Sir Nick, who last won The Open in 1992 was only a spectator at the St Andrews tournament, having missed the cut to compete.
But he still found himself hunting through the rough during the tournament and told of his relief after George took the leather-strapped silver watch into a lost property tent.
It had been a birthday gift to George from Sir Nick and his four children, Natalie, Matthew, Georgia and Emma.
“Act of courtesy”
Sir Nick said: “I am absolutely delighted that it was found and we feel very fortunate that it was handed in to the police.
“It has been great to be able to thank Mr Campbell personally for his act of courtesy in handing the watch to police.”
Fife Police chief inspector Alan Turpie said: “The thoughtful actions of Mr Campbell in handing in found property to the police is a reminder to us all that when we lose something valuable, it is worthwhile checking with your local police to find out if it has been handed in.
“The Open generates a lot of found property and I would encourage those that have attended the event and lost items to contact us.”
Fife Police said anyone else who lost property during The Open should contact them on 0845 600 5702.