A look at the previous 29 British Opens played at the Old Course in St. Andrews:
Tom Kidd won the first Open held on the Old Course with the highest score ever over 36 holes, 179, for a one-shot victory over Jamie Anderson. He beat a field of 26, mostly locals, on a soggy St. Andrews. The Fifeshire Journal report said of Kidd: “As a player he is likely to improve.” He died 11 years later at age 35.
In one of the more bizarre endings, Bob Martin and David Strath finished at 176. On the 17th, Strath’s third shot hit a player in the front group who was coming out, preventing the ball from going down the road. The committee decided there would be a playoff in two days, enough time to determine whether Strath should be disqualified for hitting the holeshot while the players were still on the green. Strath declined to participate in a playoff under such conditions and Martin was declared the winner.
Jamie Anderson had a 169 for a three-stroke win over Andrew Kirkaldy and James Allan. He joined Young Tom Morris as the only man to win the Open three times in a row.
Bob Ferguson, a caddy by trade, has threatened to become the first player to break 80 in an Open at St. Andrews. He had 83 and finished at 181 to defeat Willie Fernie by three strokes. It was also his third consecutive Open title. Later, he returned to work as a caddy and gardener.
What the local paper described as a “strong breeze”, the national Daily Mail called it “equinox gales”. In such weather, Bob Martin became the first two-time Open winner at St. Andrews with a 171, one shot better than Archie Simpson.
Jack Burns won the Open by a stroke, but only after an incorrect score was reported. Burns, Anderson and Ben Sayers each finished at 172, but it was discovered that Burns was actually out in 46 – not 47 – and he was declared champion. Burns later returned to St. Andrews to work on the railroads. Davie Anderson Jr. became the first player to break 40 on the inside nine.
Hugh Kirkaldy, with a full swing in the style of John Daly, had no worse than a 5 on his scorecard. He came out in 38 and entered with nine straight 5s on his card for another 83. He finished at 166 for a two-stroke win over brother Andrew Kirkaldy and Willie Fernie.
JH Taylor edged Sandy Herd by three strokes heading into the final round, but closed with a 78 – the day’s best score by four strokes – to finish four ahead of Herd at 322.
JH Taylor led wire to wire to win his third Open at 309, eight strokes ahead of Harry Vardon. Taylor produced the lowest score in all four sets, a feat that has yet to be repeated in any major championship.
It might sound familiar: To counter the new Haskell rubber-core ball, the tees have been lengthened and more bunkers have been added to the Old Course. Only a dozen scores below 80 were recorded, and James Braid had a 318, the highest Open score in 10 years, to win by five strokes over JH Taylor and Rowland Jones.
James Braid won his fifth Open with a 299, surpassing the previous 72-hole record at St. Andrews by 10 strokes and beating Sandy Herd by four. Braid was two strokes down heading into the final round, but 54-hole leader George Duncan closed with an 83.
Jock Hutchinson set an open record with a last-round 70 to tie amateur Roger Wethered at 296. He beat Wethered by nine strokes (150-159) in a 36-hole playoff for his second straight major.
Bobby Jones became the first amateur to win back-to-back Opens with a wire-to-wire victory for a 285, the lowest score at a US or UK Open. He won by six strokes over Aubrey Boomer and Fred Robson.
Denny Shute, best known for his back-to-back PGA Championship wins, won his first major with four straight rounds of 73 for a 292. He beat Craig Wood by five strokes (149-154) in a 36-hole playoff. Over the next two years, Wood was a runner-up at the Masters, US Open and PGA Championship.
Dick Burton overcame a 77 in the third round to close with a 71 and finish at 290 for a two-stroke win over Johnny Bulla. Burton set an unfortunate record. He held the pitcher of Bordeaux for seven years because World War II canceled the Open until 1946.
Sam Snead was one of the few Americans to cross the Atlantic for the first post-war Open. As the train pulled into St. Andrews and he saw the Old Course for the first time, he wasn’t sure what it was. “What abandoned course is this?” he said to the man next to him. Snead learned to respect the course, and he closed with a 75 to finish at 290, four strokes ahead of Johnny Bulla.
Peter Thomson has won his second consecutive Open. He was the only player to par or better all four rounds and finished at 281 for a two-stroke victory over Johnny Fallon. Byron Nelson, retired for nearly 10 years, finished 33rd at 296.
The arrival of the British Open was broadcast live for the first time, and viewers saw Bobby Locke end Peter Thomson’s streak of three consecutive Open championships. Locke won his fourth claret jug, closing 68-70 to finish at 279 for a three-stroke win over Thomson.
The modern concept of a Grand Slam started in St. Andrews when Arnold Palmer showed up after winning the Masters and the US Open. His hard 68 in the final round came one shot from Kel Nagle, who won at 278. More importantly, Palmer’s presence was the start of more Americans at the Open.
“Champagne” Tony Lema won the Open on his first attempt with a stellar performance. He led Jack Nicklaus by seven strokes heading into the final day, closed with a 70 and at 279 finished five strokes ahead of Nicklaus. Two years later, Lema was killed in a plane crash.
Jack Nicklaus needed help winning his first Open in the birthplace of golf. Doug Sanders had a chance to win in regulation but missed a par 3-foot putt on the 18th hole to force an 18-hole playoff. Nicklaus crossed the 18th green in the playoffs, chipped 8 feet and birdied to win by one stroke.
Jack Nicklaus won his third and final Open and became the first player since JH Taylor in 1900 to win back-to-back Opens at St. Andrews. He closed with a 69 to finish at 281, two strokes ahead of Ben Crenshaw, Ray Floyd, Tom Kite and Simon Owen.
Seve Ballesteros denied Tom Watson a record sixth Open title with a par on the 17 and a birdie on the 18 for a 69. Watson was tied with Ballesteros until he hit the 17 less than two feet from the wall on the Road Hole, dropping an expensive shot. Ballesteros finished at 276, two strokes ahead of Watson and Bernhard Langer. Watson has won the claret jug on five link courses, but never at St. Andrews.
Nick Faldo set a record for the lowest tied score in a major at 18 under 270, which was later tied and then surpassed by Tiger Woods. He finished five strokes ahead of Mark McNulty and Payne Stewart, but the Open was won on Saturday. Tied with Greg Norman, Faldo had a 67 to Norman’s 76, a beating that would be repeated six years later in the final round of the Masters.
John Daly mastered the Old Course for his second major championship, again at a time no one expected. He closed with a 71 for 6 under 282 and appeared to have finished the Open when Costantino Rocca, needing a birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff, missed a chip. Rocca then rolled in a 60-foot putt through the Valley of Sin, but Daly won the four-hole playoff by four strokes.
Tiger Woods made Old Course history by becoming the youngest player, at 24, to complete a career Grand Slam. He built a six-stroke lead going into the final round, was briefly challenged by David Duval and closed with a 69 to win by eight strokes over Thomas Bjorn and Ernie Els. His 19 under 269 broke Faldo’s record for the lowest score over par in a major. Perhaps the most astonishing feat was that Woods never hit a bunker over 72 holes.
Tiger Woods has become the fifth player to win the Open twice at St. Andrews. He took the lead with a birdie on the ninth hole of the first round and never returned it over the final 63 holes. Colin Montgomerie shot 70 to 71 for Woods in the final group on Saturday, raising Scottish hopes, but Woods closed with a 2-under 70 for a five-shot win over Montgomerie. Jack Nicklaus birdied his last hole on Friday but still missed the cut for his 164th and final major championship.
Louis Oosthuizen barely beat the wind on his second-round 67 which gave him a five-stroke lead. Rory McIlroy, who opened with a 63, was caught in the gale and shot 80 in the second round. Oosthuizen led the final 48 holes, made just two bogeys on a windswept weekend and closed with a 71 for a seven-stroke win over Lee Westwood. Tiger Woods, in his bid to win a third consecutive Open at St. Andrews, finished tied for 23rd.
In the first Monday finish since 1988 due to a brief rain delay on Friday and a 10-hour wind delay on Saturday, Zach Johnson won a three-way playoff that gave him a silver burgundy pitcher to go with a green jacket he won at the 2007 Masters. . Johnson beat Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen in the four-hole playoff. Jordan Spieth bogeyed the 17th hole and missed the playoffs by one shot, ending his bid for a Grand Slam on the schedule.
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