Nick Faldo has received a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for services to golf.
The six-time major winner is the most successful British golfer in the modern era with 30 wins on the European Tour.
"I am more than a little bit humbled to have been afforded this great honour," said the 51-year-old Faldo.
Ex-BBC rugby commentator Alastair Hignell becomes a CBE while cricket's Graeme Hick and Charlotte Edwards, and badminton star Gail Emms receive MBEs.
In a statement, Faldo continued: "It has come as a real surprise and the reaction from my children, family and friends has made this a very special moment for me.
"I believe I join Sir Henry Cotton as the only other professional British golfer to receive a knighthood so to stand alongside such esteemed company is incredible.
"I should like it if I may to accept this honour as a representative of a sport that has given me so much in my life.
"I would also like to thank all of the people that have helped make that possible - not least of all my parents, whose unstinting love and support is a real blessing."
Faldo's three Masters and three Open titles came in a nine-year stretch between 1987 and 1996 when he dominated the sport, winning more majors than any other player in the world.
His first Open win at Muirfield was followed in 1989 by a first Masters triumph over Scott Hoch in a play-off.
He then successfully defended the title in 1990 with a play-off victory over Raymond Floyd, before winning a second Open three months later with a record-low score of 18 under at St Andrews.
His third Open arrived in 1992, and his final major victory at the Masters in 1996 was perhaps his most memorable.
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Trailing Greg Norman by six strokes heading into the last round, he shot a 67 to the Australian's 78 to win by five shots.
Twice a European Order of Merit winner in 1983 and 1992, Faldo also picked up the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award following his 1989 Masters triumph.
In the Ryder Cup he made 11 appearances winning a record 23 points and helping Europe to victory five times and also captained the side in 2008, although the United States eased to a 16½-11½ triumph.
The knighthood follows on from the MBE he received in 1998.
Former England rugby player-turned-commentator Hignell retired from the BBC at the end of last season.
He has devoted much of his time to raising funds to combat multiple sclerosis.
The 53-year-old, who was diagnosed with the disease himself in 1999, also played county cricket for Gloucestershire.
Hick scored 136 first class centuries in his career
Ex-England batsman Hick who retired from Worcestershire at the end of last season, gets his MBE for services to sport, as does Edwards, the captain of England's World Cup-winning women's cricket team.
Hick scored 136 first class centuries in his 25 years at New Road, and said he was delighted at being recognised.
He said: "I am very honoured with the award. It was not something I expected or set out to achieve.
"You dream of things and after 25 years it is nice to have that sort of recognition."
Edwards, 29, became the youngest player to feature for England when she made her international debut in 1995.
"It's a huge honour and after the amazing year I have had this has topped it off perfectly," she said.
Badminton star Emms, who retired from the sport following the Beijing Olympics, has also received her MBE for services to her sport.
She won Olympic silver in 2004 with Nathan Robertson in the mixed doubles, and bronze, silver and gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
She said: "This award isn't about me, it's about all the coaches and support staff who have been behind my success."
Meanwhile, television cook Delia Smith, who is a director of Norwich City, was awarded a CBE for services to the food industry.
Nick Faldo, for services to golf
Michael Brace, lately chairman, Paralympics GB
Alastair Hignell, lately BBC rugby commentator
Peter King, lately chief executive, British Cycling Federation.
Brian Lomax, chairman, Supporters' Direct, for services to football
James Anderson, for services to swimming
William Bratt, chairman Port Vale FC
Robert Torrens, service to cricket and football in Northern Ireland
Anthony Yorke, national manager Paralympic Cycling Team
John Collins, for services to basketball.
George Cooke, chairman, Middlesbrough FC in the Community
Maria Costello, for services to motorcycling
Charlotte Edwards, captain, England Women's cricket team, for services to sport
Susan Gilroy, services to table tennis
Graeme Hick, cricketer, for services to Sport
Nyree Lewis, swimmer, for services to disability sport