10 Memorable British Opens – The New York Times
After last year’s tournament was canceled due to the pandemic – the first time since WWII – the British Open is back.
The Open will be held this week at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Kent, England. The last time it was held there was in 2011, when Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland won by three strokes over Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.
The event, the last major of the season, was first played in 1860 and has long provided mind-boggling moments. Here are, in chronological order, 10 British Opens that stand out.
1953: Carnoustie Golf Links, Scotland
Ben Hogan was the only British Open champion he competed in, winning by four strokes.
Tied for the lead early in the final round, Hogan shot a 68-under-four, which included a birdie at No.5 as he entered from the bunker.
Hogan’s victory capped what ranks as one of golf’s most remarkable seasons: just four years after being seriously injured in a car crash, Hogan also won the Masters and the United States Open. .
1961: Royal Birkdale Golf Club, England
Arnold Palmer won with a shot over Dai Rees, although it wasn’t just the end result that was significant; It was also that Palmer, the game’s most popular player, appeared at the British Open for the second year in a row.
Palmer, who finished second in 1960, would inspire other American players to take the long journey. The British Open has started to take on greater stature. Palmer won the tournament again in 1962.
1970: The Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland
All Doug Sanders, one of golf’s most colorful figures, needed was to convert a three-foot putt on the last hole and he would be the champion.
He missed it. The next day, in an 18-hole playoff, he lost to fellow American Jack Nicklaus by a stroke. On the 18th hole, Nicklaus hit a 360-yard drive that crossed the green. He walked away about eight feet and hit the putt for his first major title since 1967.
For Nicklaus, who would go on to win three British Open titles, it was seen as a drought.
1972: Muirfield Golf Links, Scotland
Nicklaus, who had previously won the Masters and the US Open, was aiming for the grand slam (winning all four majors in the same year).
With one lap to go, he followed leader Lee Trevino by six shots. Nicklaus put in a big charge in the final round, shooting a 66-under-five, but Trevino held on to win by one stroke. England hero Tony Jacklin came in third, two strokes behind.
1977: Ailsa course, Turnberry, Scotland
Hubert Green, who finished third, 11 strokes behind, expressed it best when describing the battle between Tom Watson and Nicklaus: “I won this golf tournament. I don’t know what game these other two guys were playing.
Watson and Nicklaus both fired an under-65 shot in the third round. In the last round, Watson recorded another 65 wins to one. Nicklaus hit a 32-foot putt on the last hole, forcing Watson to convert his two feet for the win. The tournament is known as “Duel in the Sun”.
Watson, who was aiming for his third consecutive British Open and sixth overall, bogeyed the No.17 Road Hole, losing by two strokes to Seve Ballesteros.
For Ballesteros, who was led by two shots before the final round, this was his second Open championship. He had won the title in 1979 and would win for the third time in 1988. (Ballesteros also won the Masters in 1980 and 1983.)
One of the most enduring images of the 1984 Open was the first pump Ballesteros gave after his final putt on the 18th.
Golf can be a cruel game, as Jean van de Velde discovered in Carnoustie.
Leading by three on the final par 4 hole, he made a triple bogey, resulting in one of the most heartbreaking collapses in golf. He lost in the playoffs to Paul Lawrie.
This tournament also has a lasting image: van de Velde standing in the water at 18, realizing he should take a penalty shot instead of trying to hit the ball.
2009: Ailsa course
With a hole to be made, the impossible was about to happen.
Watson, at 59, would go on to win the British Open. All he needed was one more par and he would become the first player to win a major in his 50s.
Watson’s second shot ended on the green. He put in about eight feet away, but then missed the next one for par. He lost in the playoff four holes to Stewart Cink.
Mickelson hadn’t been at his best in previous British Openings. In 19 appearances, he had recorded just two Top 10s.
This time, due to a final round of five under 66, he won by three strokes over Henrik Stenson. Lee Westwood, who was the point guard before Sunday, faltered with a 75 to finish to four.
The victory brought Mickelson closer to the career Grand Slam. At 51, he has not yet succeeded.
2016: Royal Troon Golf Club, Scotland
As in 1977, it was a two-man battle. Mickelson, looking for his second British Open, was on fire from the start, with innings of 63, 69, 70 and 65. Stenson was better, setting a record for fewest strokes, 264, in a major league.
They were tied with five holes to go on Sunday. Stenson, who shot a 63 in the final round, birdied 14, 15, and 16. At 15, he putt 51 feet from the green. JB Holmes was third, 14 back.
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