The Open Championship

"British Open" and "The Open" redirect here. For other uses, see British Open (disambiguation) and The Open (disambiguation).
The Open Championship
Tournament information
Location United Kingdom
Established 17 October 1860 (1860-10-17)
Course(s) 2016: Royal Troon Golf Club
South Ayrshire, Scotland
Par 71 (in 2016)
Length 7,190 yd (6,570 m)
(in 2016)
Organized by The R&A
Tour(s) European Tour
PGA Tour
Japan Golf Tour
Format Stroke play
Prize fund £6.5 million
7.4 million
$8.6 million
Month played July
Tournament record score
Aggregate 264* Henrik Stenson (2016)
*record for all majors
To par −20* Henrik Stenson (2016)
*equals record for all majors
Current champion
Sweden Henrik Stenson
2016 Open Championship

The Open Championship, often referred to as The Open or the British Open, is the oldest of the four major championships in professional golf. Held in the United Kingdom, it is administered by The R&A and is the only major outside the United States. The Open is currently the third major of the year, between the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship, and is played in mid-July.

The current champion is Henrik Stenson, who won the 145th Open at Royal Troon in 2016 with a record-breaking score of −20.


The Open was first played on 17 October 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland.[1] The inaugural tournament was restricted to professionals and attracted a field of eight golfers who played three rounds of Prestwick's twelve-hole course in a single day. Willie Park Sr. won with a score of 174, beating Old Tom Morris, by two strokes. The following year the tournament was opened to amateurs; eight of them joined ten professionals in the field.

Prestwick Golf Club, site of the first Open Championship in 1860
Willie Park Sr. wearing the Challenge Belt, the winner's prize at The Open from 1860 to 1870

James Ogilvie Fairlie was the principal organiser of the first Open Championship held at Prestwick in 1860. With the untimely death of Allan Robertson, aged 43 in 1859, Prestwick members decided to conduct a challenge the following year that would determine the land’s greatest golfer. In a proposed competition for a "Challenge Belt", Fairlie sent out a series of letters to Blackheath, Perth, Edinburgh, Musselburgh and St Andrews, inviting a player known as a "respectable caddie" to represent each of the clubs in a tournament to be held on 17 October 1860.[2]

Originally, the trophy presented to the event's winner was the Challenge Belt, a red leather belt with a silver buckle. The Challenge Belt was retired in 1870, when Young Tom Morris was allowed to keep it for winning the tournament three consecutive times. Because no trophy was available, the tournament was cancelled in 1871. In 1872, after Young Tom Morris won again for a fourth time in a row, he was awarded a medal. The present trophy, The Golf Champion Trophy, better known by its popular name of the Claret Jug, was then created.

Prestwick administered The Open from 1860 to 1870. In 1871, it agreed to organise it jointly with The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. In 1892 the event was doubled in length from 36 to 72 holes, four rounds of what was by then the standard complement of 18 holes. The 1894 Open was the first held outside Scotland, at the Royal St George's Golf Club in England. Because of an increasing number of entrants, a cut was introduced after two rounds in 1898. In 1920 full responsibility for The Open Championship was handed over to The Royal & Ancient Golf Club.

The early winners were all Scottish professionals, who in those days worked as greenkeepers, clubmakers, and caddies to supplement their modest winnings from championships and challenge matches. The Open has always been dominated by professionals, with only six victories by amateurs, all of which occurred between 1890 and 1930. The last of these was Bobby Jones' third Open and part of his celebrated Grand Slam. Jones was one of six Americans who won The Open between the First and Second World Wars, the first of whom had been Walter Hagen in 1922. These Americans and the French winner of the 1907 Open, Arnaud Massy, were the only winners from outside Scotland and England up to 1939.

The first post-World War II winner was the American Sam Snead, in 1946. In 1947, Northern Ireland's Fred Daly was victorious. While there have been many English and Scottish champions, Daly was the only winner from Ireland until the 2007 victory by Pádraig Harrington. There has never been a Welsh champion. In the early postwar years The Open was dominated by golfers from the Commonwealth, with South African Bobby Locke and Australian Peter Thomson winning the Claret Jug in eight of the 11 championships from 1948 and 1958 between them. During this period, The Open often had a schedule conflict with the match-play PGA Championship, which meant that Ben Hogan, the best American golfer at this time, competed in The Open just once, in 1953 at Carnoustie, a tournament he won.

Another South African, Gary Player was Champion in 1959. This was at the beginning of the "Big Three" era in professional golf, the three players in question being Player, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus. Palmer first competed in 1960, when he came second to the little-known Australian Kel Nagle, but he won the next two years. While he was far from being the first American to become Open Champion, he was the first that many Americans saw win the tournament on television, and his charismatic success is often credited with persuading leading American golfers to make The Open an integral part of their schedule, rather than an optional extra. The improvement of trans-Atlantic travel also increased American participation.

Nicklaus' victories came in 1966, 1970, and 1978. Although his tally of three wins is the least of his majors, it greatly understates how prominent Nicklaus was at the Open throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He finished runner-up seven times, which is the record and had a total of sixteen top-5 finishes, which is tied most in Open history with John Henry Taylor and easily the most in the postwar era. Nicklaus also holds the records for most rounds under par (61) and most aggregates under par (14). At Turnberry in 1977 he was involved in one of the most celebrated contests in golf history, when his duel with Tom Watson went to the final shot before Watson emerged as the champion for the second time with a record score of 268 (12 under par).

Watson won five Opens, more than anyone else has since the 1950s, but his final win in 1983 brought down the curtain on an era of U.S. domination. In the next 11 years there was only one American winner, with the others coming from Europe and the Commonwealth. The European winners of this era, Spaniard Seve Ballesteros, Sandy Lyle, who was the first Scottish winner in over half a century, and the Englishman Nick Faldo, were also leading lights among the group of players who began to get the better of the Americans in the Ryder Cup during this period.

Logo from 1995 through 2002. Previously, the Open Championship did not have an official logo beyond the Claret Jug.

In 1995, John Daly's playoff win over Italian Costantino Rocca began another era of American domination. Tiger Woods has won three Championships to date, two at St Andrews in 2000 and 2005, and one at Hoylake in 2006. There was a dramatic moment at St Andrews in 2000, as the ageing Jack Nicklaus waved farewell to the crowds, while the young challenger to his crown watched from a nearby tee. Nicklaus later decided to play in The Open for one final time in 2005, when the R&A announced St Andrews as the venue, giving his final farewell to the fans at the Home of Golf.

There have also been wins by previously little known golfers, including Paul Lawrie's playoff win after the 72nd-hole collapse of Jean van de Velde in 1999, Ben Curtis in 2003 and Todd Hamilton in 2004.

Logo for 2003−2014

In 2007, the Europeans finally broke an eight-year drought in the majors when Pádraig Harrington of Ireland defeated Sergio García by one stroke in a four-hole playoff at Carnoustie. Harrington retained the Championship in 2008.

In 2009, 59-year-old Tom Watson turned in one of the most remarkable performances ever seen at The Open. Leading the tournament through 71 holes and needing just a par on the last hole to become the oldest ever winner of a major championship, Watson bogeyed, setting up a four-hole playoff, which he would lose to Stewart Cink.

In 2013, Phil Mickelson won his first Open Championship at Muirfield. His victory meant that he had won 3 of the 4 majors in pursuit of the career grand slam, just needing the U.S. Open, where he has finished runner-up six times.

In 2015, Zach Johnson denied Jordan Spieth his chance of winning the Grand Slam by winning an aggregate playoff over Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman at the Old Course at St Andrews.


The Open is a 72-hole stroke play tournament contested over four days, Thursday through Sunday. Since 1979 it has been played in the week which includes the 3rd Friday in July. Currently, 156 players are in the field, mostly made up of the world's leading professionals, who are given exemptions, along with winners of the top amateur championships. Further places are given to players, amateurs and professionals, who are successful in a number of qualifying events. There is a cut after 36 holes after which only the leading 70 players (and ties) play in the final 36 holes on the weekend. In the event of a tie after 72 holes, a four-hole aggregate playoff is held; if two or more players are still tied, it continues as sudden-death until there is a winner.

Timeline of format changes

Trophies and medals

There are a number of medals and trophies that are, or have been, given for various achievements during The Open.[3]

The Professional Golfers' Association of Great Britain and Ireland also mark the achievements of their own members in The Open.

The Braid Taylor Memorial Medal and the Tooting Bec Cup are restricted to members born in, or with a parent or parents born in, the UK or Republic of Ireland.

Host courses

Active venues in Scotland
The 2016 venue (Royal Troon) is shown in green

The common factor in the venues is links courses. The Open has always been played in Scotland and northwest, southeast England, along with one course in Northern Ireland which will again stage the competition in 2019.

From 1860 to 1870 The Open was organised by and played at Prestwick Golf Club. From its revival in 1872 until 1891 it was played on three courses in rotation: Prestwick, The Old Course at St Andrews, and Musselburgh Links. In 1892 the newly built Muirfield replaced Musselburgh in the rotation. In 1893 two English courses, Royal St George's and Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, were invited to join the rotation with Royal St George's being allocated the 1894 Open and Royal Liverpool having the 1897 event.[7] At a meeting in 1907 Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club became the sixth course on the rota, being allocated the 1909 Open. With three courses in both England and Scotland, the meeting also agreed that the Championship was to be played in England and Scotland alternately.[8] The alternation of venues in England and Scotland continued until the Second World War.

The rotation of the six courses was reinstated after the First World War with Royal Cinque Ports hosting the first post-war Open in 1920. It had been chosen as the venue for the cancelled 1915 Open.[9] In 1923 Troon was used instead of Muirfield when "some doubts exists as to the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers being desirous of their course being used for the event".[10] Muirfield returned as the venue in 1929. Serious overcrowding problems at Prestwick in 1925 meant that the course was never again used for the Open and was replaced by Carnoustie as the third Scottish course. While Royal St George's and Royal Liverpool continued to be used at six-year intervals the third English course varied. After Royal Cinque Ports in 1920, Royal Lytham was used in 1926 and then Prince's in 1932. Royal Cinque Ports was intended as the venue in 1938 but in February of that year abnormal high tides caused severe flooding to the course leaving it like "an inland sea several feet deep"[11] and the venue was switched to Royal St George's.[12] Birkdale was chosen as the venue for 1940, although the event was cancelled because of the Second World War.[13]

There are nine courses in the current rota, four in Scotland, four in England and one in Northern Ireland. In recent times the Old Course has hosted the Open every five years. The remaining courses host the Open roughly every 10 years but the gaps between hosting Opens may be longer or shorter than this. In 2014, it was announced by The R&A that Royal Portrush was returning to the active rota and in October 2015 Portrush was confirmed as the venue for the 2019 Open.[14][15]

The most recent course to be removed from the active rota was Muirfield in May 2016, following The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers refusal to permit female members to join their club.[16]

From 1894 (when it was first played in England) to 2016, it has been played 62 times in Scotland, 49 times in England and once in Northern Ireland. It was not until 2011 and 2012 that England hosted consecutive Opens.

Future venues

Year Edition Course Town County Country Dates Last hosted Ref
2017 146th Royal Birkdale Golf Club Southport Merseyside England 20–23 July 2008 [17]
2018 147th Carnoustie Golf Links Carnoustie Angus Scotland 19–22 July 2007 [18]
2019 148th Royal Portrush Golf Club Portrush County Antrim Northern Ireland 18–21 July 1951 [19]


The field for the Open is 156, and golfers gain a place in a number of ways.[20] Most of the field is made up of leading players who are given exemptions. Further places are given to players who are successful in The Open Qualifying Series and in Final Qualifying.[21] Any remaining places, and places made available because qualified players are not competing, are made available to the highest ranked players in the Official World Golf Ranking.

There are currently 26 exemption categories.[22] Among the more significant are:

International qualifying is through the "Open Qualifying Series" which consists of ten events played outside the United Kingdom. A pre-allocated number of places are made available at these events (from 1 to 4) which are given to the leading players in those events who are not, at that point, qualified for the Open, provided they finish in a high-enough position. A total of 32 places are available.

Local qualifying was the traditional way for non-exempt players to win a place at The Open. In recent years it has comprised a number of "Regional Qualifying" competitions around Britain and Ireland with successful competitors, joined by those players exempt from regional qualifying, playing four 36-hole "Final Qualifying" tournaments. There are 12 places available through Final Qualifying, three at each of the four venues.

Timeline of qualification changes

Up to 1920 a variety of qualification systems were used. From 1921 to 1962 (except 1926) local qualifying was used. All those who entered played 18 holes on one of two courses and then played 18 holes on the other course the following day. Qualifying took place immediately before the Championship itself. In 1963 a system of exemptions for the leading players was introduced with local qualifying continuing for the remaining players. Since then a large number of changes have been made to the exemption criteria and to the qualifying system for the remaining players.

Tournament name

In Britain the tournament is best known by its official title, The Open Championship. The British media generally refer to it as the Open (with "the" in lower case) [23][24][25] or as The Open Championship (with each word capitalized).

Outside the UK, the tournament is generally called the British Open, in part to distinguish the tournament from another of the four majors that has an 'open' format, the U.S. Open, but mainly because other nations with similar 'open' format golf events refer to their own nation's open event as "the Open". Until 2014, the PGA Tour referred to the tournament as the British Open,[26] and many American media outlets continue to do so.[27][28] However, in 2014, with the new Open Qualifying Series that selects players for the Open through finishes earned in various PGA Tour events, the PGA Tour has taken to referring to the event as The Open Championship for the first time. U.S. television rights-holder ESPN/ABC referred to the event as the British Open until 2004. For the 2005 event at St Andrews, ESPN/ABC began referring to the tournament as The Open Championship, and have done so ever since, with Golf Channel and NBC continuing to acknowledge the same upon the assumption of American rights in 2016.

Tour status

It has been an official event on the PGA Tour since 1995, which means that the prize money won in The Open by PGA Tour members is included on the official money list. In addition, all Open Championships before 1995 have been retroactively classified as PGA Tour wins, and the list of leading winners on the PGA Tour has been adjusted to reflect this. The European Tour has recognised The Open as an official event since its first official season in 1972 and it is also an official money event on the Japan Golf Tour.

Prize money

The 2015 Open had a total prize money fund of £6.3 million and a first prize of £1.15 million. At the time of the Open these equated to about $9.8 million and $1.8 million respectively. The other three major championships in 2015 had prize money of $10.0 million and first prizes of $1.8 million, so that all four majors had similar prize money. Prize money is given to all professionals who make the cut and, since the number of professionals making the cut changes from year to year, the total prize money varies somewhat from the advertised number (currently £6.3 million).

In 2016 the total prize money fund was £6.5 million with a first prize of £1.175 million. This equated to about $8.6 million and $1.55 million respectively at the time of the Open. The other majors had prize money of at least $10.0 million and first prizes of at least $1.8 million. The relative decline in prize money, in dollar terms, was attributable to a fall in the £/$ exchange rate.

There was no prize money in the first three Opens. In 1863, a prize fund of £10 was introduced, which was shared between the second- third- and fourth-placed professionals, with the champion keeping the belt for a year. Old Tom Morris won the first champion's cash prize of £6 in 1864.



Year Dates Champion Country Venue Winning
Runner(s)-up First
2016 14–17 Jul Henrik Stenson  Sweden Royal Troon 264 (−20) 3 strokes United States Phil Mickelson £1,175,000
2015 16–20 Jul Zach Johnson  United States St Andrews 273 (−15) Playoff Australia Marc Leishman
South Africa Louis Oosthuizen
2014 17–20 Jul Rory McIlroy  Northern Ireland Royal Liverpool 271 (−17) 2 strokes United States Rickie Fowler
Spain Sergio García
2013 18–21 Jul Phil Mickelson  United States Muirfield 281 (−3) 3 strokes Sweden Henrik Stenson £945,000
2012 19–22 Jul Ernie Els (2)  South Africa Royal Lytham & St Annes 273 (−7) 1 stroke Australia Adam Scott £900,000
2011 14–17 Jul Darren Clarke  Northern Ireland Royal St George's 275 (−5) 3 strokes United States Dustin Johnson
United States Phil Mickelson
2010 15–18 Jul Louis Oosthuizen  South Africa St Andrews 272 (−16) 7 strokes England Lee Westwood £850,000
2009 16–19 Jul Stewart Cink  United States Turnberry 278 (−2) Playoff United States Tom Watson £750,000
2008 17–20 Jul Pádraig Harrington (2)  Ireland Royal Birkdale 283 (+3) 4 strokes England Ian Poulter £750,000
2007 19–22 Jul Pádraig Harrington  Ireland Carnoustie 277 (−7) Playoff Spain Sergio García £750,000
2006 20–23 Jul Tiger Woods (3)  United States Royal Liverpool 270 (−18) 2 strokes United States Chris DiMarco £720,000
2005 14–17 Jul Tiger Woods (2)  United States St Andrews 274 (−14) 5 strokes Scotland Colin Montgomerie £720,000
2004 15–18 Jul Todd Hamilton  United States Royal Troon 274 (−10) Playoff South Africa Ernie Els £720,000
2003 17–20 Jul Ben Curtis  United States Royal St George's 283 (−1) 1 stroke Denmark Thomas Bjørn
Fiji Vijay Singh
2002 18–21 Jul Ernie Els  South Africa Muirfield 278 (−6) Playoff Australia Stuart Appleby
Australia Steve Elkington
France Thomas Levet
2001 19–22 Jul David Duval  United States Royal Lytham & St Annes 274 (−10) 3 strokes Sweden Niclas Fasth £600,000
2000 20–23 Jul Tiger Woods  United States St Andrews 269 (−19) 8 strokes Denmark Thomas Bjørn
South Africa Ernie Els
1999 15–18 Jul Paul Lawrie  Scotland Carnoustie 290 (+6) Playoff United States Justin Leonard
France Jean van de Velde
1998 16–19 Jul Mark O'Meara  United States Royal Birkdale 280 (E) Playoff United States Brian Watts £300,000
1997 17–20 Jul Justin Leonard  United States Royal Troon 272 (−12) 3 strokes Northern Ireland Darren Clarke
Sweden Jesper Parnevik
1996 18–21 Jul Tom Lehman  United States Royal Lytham & St Annes 271 (−13) 2 strokes South Africa Ernie Els
United States Mark McCumber
1995 20–23 Jul John Daly  United States St Andrews 282 (−6) Playoff Italy Costantino Rocca £125,000
1994 14–17 Jul Nick Price  Zimbabwe Turnberry 268 (−12) 1 stroke Sweden Jesper Parnevik £110,000
1993 15–18 Jul Greg Norman (2)  Australia Royal St George's 267 (−13) 2 strokes England Nick Faldo £100,000
1992 16–19 Jul Nick Faldo (3)  England Muirfield 272 (−12) 1 stroke United States John Cook £95,000
1991 18–21 Jul Ian Baker-Finch  Australia Royal Birkdale 272 (−8) 2 strokes Australia Mike Harwood £90,000
1990 19–22 Jul Nick Faldo (2)  England St Andrews 270 (−18) 5 strokes Zimbabwe Mark McNulty
United States Payne Stewart
1989 20–23 Jul Mark Calcavecchia  United States Royal Troon 275 (−13) Playoff Australia Wayne Grady
Australia Greg Norman
1988 14–18 Jul Seve Ballesteros (3)  Spain Royal Lytham & St Annes 273 (−11) 2 strokes Zimbabwe Nick Price £80,000
1987 16–19 Jul Nick Faldo  England Muirfield 279 (−5) 1 stroke United States Paul Azinger
Australia Rodger Davis
1986 17–20 Jul Greg Norman  Australia Turnberry 280 (E) 5 strokes England Gordon J. Brand £70,000
1985 18–21 Jul Sandy Lyle  Scotland Royal St George's 282 (+2) 1 stroke United States Payne Stewart £65,000
1984 19–22 Jul Seve Ballesteros (2)  Spain St Andrews 276 (−12) 2 strokes Germany Bernhard Langer
United States Tom Watson
1983 14–17 Jul Tom Watson (5)  United States Royal Birkdale 275 (−9) 1 stroke United States Andy Bean
United States Hale Irwin
1982 15–18 Jul Tom Watson (4)  United States Royal Troon 284 (−4) 1 stroke England Peter Oosterhuis
Zimbabwe Nick Price
1981 16–19 Jul Bill Rogers  United States Royal St George's 276 (−4) 4 strokes Germany Bernhard Langer £25,000
1980 17–20 Jul Tom Watson (3)  United States Muirfield 271 (−13) 4 strokes United States Lee Trevino £25,000
1979 18–21 Jul Seve Ballesteros  Spain Royal Lytham & St Annes 283 (−1) 3 strokes United States Ben Crenshaw
United States Jack Nicklaus
1978 12–15 Jul Jack Nicklaus (3)  United States St Andrews 281 (−7) 2 strokes United States Ben Crenshaw
United States Raymond Floyd
United States Tom Kite
New Zealand Simon Owen
1977 6–9 Jul Tom Watson (2)  United States Turnberry 268 (−12) 1 stroke United States Jack Nicklaus £10,000
1976 7–10 Jul Johnny Miller  United States Royal Birkdale 279 (−9) 6 strokes Spain Seve Ballesteros
United States Jack Nicklaus
1975 9–13 Jul Tom Watson  United States Carnoustie 279 (−5) Playoff Australia Jack Newton £7,500
1974 10–13 Jul Gary Player (3)  South Africa Royal Lytham & St Annes 282 (−2) 4 strokes England Peter Oosterhuis £5,500
1973 11–14 Jul Tom Weiskopf  United States Troon 276 (−12) 3 strokes England Neil Coles
United States Johnny Miller
1972 12–15 Jul Lee Trevino (2)  United States Muirfield 278 (−6) 1 stroke United States Jack Nicklaus £5,500
1971 7–10 Jul Lee Trevino  United States Royal Birkdale 278 (−10) 1 stroke Taiwan Lu Liang-Huan £5,500
1970 8–12 Jul Jack Nicklaus (2)  United States St Andrews 283 (−5) Playoff United States Doug Sanders £5,250
1969 9–12 Jul Tony Jacklin  England Royal Lytham & St Annes 280 (−4) 2 strokes New Zealand Bob Charles £4,250
1968 10–13 Jul Gary Player (2)  South Africa Carnoustie 289 (+1) 2 strokes New Zealand Bob Charles
United States Jack Nicklaus
1967 12–15 Jul Roberto De Vicenzo  Argentina Royal Liverpool 278 (−10) 2 strokes United States Jack Nicklaus £2,100
1966 6–9 Jul Jack Nicklaus  United States Muirfield 282 (−2) 1 stroke United States Doug Sanders
Wales Dave Thomas
1965 7–9 Jul Peter Thomson (5)  Australia Royal Birkdale 285 (−3) 2 strokes Wales Brian Huggett
Republic of Ireland Christy O'Connor Snr
1964 8–10 Jul Tony Lema  United States St Andrews 279 (−9) 5 strokes United States Jack Nicklaus £1,500
1963 10–13 Jul Bob Charles  New Zealand Royal Lytham & St Annes 277 (−3) Playoff United States Phil Rodgers £1,500
1962 11–13 Jul Arnold Palmer (2)  United States Troon 276 (−12) 6 strokes Australia Kel Nagle £1,400
1961 12–15 Jul Arnold Palmer  United States Royal Birkdale 284 (−4) 1 stroke Wales Dai Rees £1,400
1960 6–9 Jul Kel Nagle  Australia St Andrews 278 (−10) 1 stroke United States Arnold Palmer £1,250
1959 1–3 Jul Gary Player  South Africa Muirfield 284 (E) 2 strokes England Fred Bullock
Belgium Flory Van Donck
1958 2–5 Jul Peter Thomson (4)  Australia Royal Lytham & St Annes 278 (−6) Playoff Wales Dave Thomas £1,000
1957 3–5 Jul Bobby Locke (4)  South Africa St Andrews 279 (−9) 3 strokes Australia Peter Thomson £1,000
1956 4–6 Jul Peter Thomson (3)  Australia Royal Liverpool 286 (+2) 3 strokes Belgium Flory Van Donck £1,000
1955 6–8 Jul Peter Thomson (2)  Australia St Andrews 281 (−7) 2 strokes Scotland John Fallon £1,000
1954 7–9 Jul Peter Thomson  Australia Royal Birkdale 283 (−5) 1 stroke South Africa Bobby Locke
Wales Dai Rees
England Syd Scott
1953 8–10 Jul Ben Hogan  United States Carnoustie 282 (−6) 4 strokes Argentina Antonio Cerdá
Wales Dai Rees
United States Frank Stranahan (a)
Australia Peter Thomson
1952 9–11 Jul Bobby Locke (3)  South Africa Royal Lytham & St Annes 287 (−1) 1 stroke Australia Peter Thomson £300
1951 4–6 Jul Max Faulkner  England Royal Portrush 285 (−3) 2 strokes Argentina Antonio Cerdá £300
1950 5–7 Jul Bobby Locke (2)  South Africa Troon 279 (−9) 2 strokes Argentina Roberto de Vicenzo £300
1949 6–9 Jul Bobby Locke  South Africa Royal St George's 283 (−5) Playoff Republic of Ireland Harry Bradshaw £300
1948 30 Jun – 2 Jul Henry Cotton (3)  England Muirfield 284 (E) 5 strokes Northern Ireland Fred Daly £150
1947 2–4 Jul Fred Daly  Northern Ireland Royal Liverpool 293 (+5) 1 stroke England Reg Horne
United States Frank Stranahan (a)
1946 3–5 Jul Sam Snead  United States St Andrews 290 (+2) 4 strokes United States Johnny Bulla
South Africa Bobby Locke
1940–45: No Championships because of World War II
1939 5–7 Jul Dick Burton  England St Andrews 290 (−2) 2 strokes United States Johnny Bulla £100
1938 6–8 Jul Reg Whitcombe  England Royal St George's 295 (+15) 2 strokes Scotland Jimmy Adams £100
1937 7–9 Jul Henry Cotton (2)  England Carnoustie 290 2 strokes England Reg Whitcombe £100
1936 25–27 Jun Alf Padgham  England Royal Liverpool 287 1 stroke Scotland Jimmy Adams £100
1935 26–28 Jun Alf Perry  England Muirfield 283 4 strokes England Alf Padgham £100
1934 27–29 Jun Henry Cotton  England Royal St George's 283 5 strokes South Africa Sid Brews £100
1933 5–8 Jul Denny Shute  United States St Andrews 292 Playoff United States Craig Wood £100
1932 8–10 Jun Gene Sarazen  United States Prince's 283 5 strokes United States Macdonald Smith £100
1931 3–5 Jun Tommy Armour  United States Carnoustie 296 1 stroke Argentina José Jurado £100
1930 18–20 Jun Bobby Jones (a) (3)  United States Royal Liverpool 291 2 strokes United States Leo Diegel
United States Macdonald Smith
1929 8–10 May Walter Hagen (4)  United States Muirfield 292 6 strokes United States Johnny Farrell £75
1928 9–11 May Walter Hagen (3)  United States Royal St George's 292 2 strokes United States Gene Sarazen £75
1927 13–15 Jul Bobby Jones (a) (2)  United States St Andrews 285 6 strokes Jersey Aubrey Boomer
England Fred Robson
1926 23–25 Jun Bobby Jones (a)  United States Royal Lytham & St Annes 291 2 strokes United States Al Watrous £75
1925 25–26 Jun Jim Barnes  United States Prestwick 300 1 stroke England Archie Compston
Jersey Ted Ray
1924 26–27 Jun Walter Hagen (2)  United States Royal Liverpool 301 1 stroke England Ernest Whitcombe £75
1923 14–15 Jun Arthur Havers  England Troon 295 1 stroke United States Walter Hagen £75
1922 22–23 Jun Walter Hagen  United States Royal St George's 300 1 stroke United States Jim Barnes
Scotland George Duncan
1921 23–25 Jun Jock Hutchison  United States St Andrews 296 Playoff England Roger Wethered (a) £75
1920 30 Jun – 1 Jul George Duncan  Scotland Royal Cinque Ports 303 2 strokes Scotland Sandy Herd £75
1915–19: No Championships because of World War I
1914 18–19 Jun Harry Vardon (6)  Jersey Prestwick 306 3 strokes England J.H. Taylor £50
1913 23–24 Jun J.H. Taylor (5)  England Royal Liverpool 304 8 strokes Jersey Ted Ray £50
1912 24–25 Jun Ted Ray  Jersey Muirfield 295 4 strokes Jersey Harry Vardon £50
1911 26–30 Jun Harry Vardon (5)  Jersey Royal St George's 303 Playoff France Arnaud Massy £50
1910 21–24 Jun James Braid (5)  Scotland St Andrews 299 4 strokes Scotland Sandy Herd £50
1909 10–11 Jun J.H. Taylor (4)  England Royal Cinque Ports 291 6 strokes England Tom Ball
England James Braid
1908 18–19 Jun James Braid (4)  Scotland Prestwick 291 8 strokes England Tom Ball £50
1907 20–21 Jun Arnaud Massy  France Royal Liverpool 312 2 strokes England J.H. Taylor £50
1906 13–15 Jun James Braid (3)  Scotland Muirfield 300 4 strokes England J.H. Taylor £50
1905 7–9 Jun James Braid (2)  Scotland St Andrews 318 5 strokes England Rowland Jones
England J.H. Taylor
1904 8–10 Jun Jack White  Scotland Royal St George's 296 1 stroke Scotland James Braid
England J.H. Taylor
1903 10–11 Jun Harry Vardon (4)  Jersey Prestwick 300 6 strokes Jersey Tom Vardon £50
1902 4–5 Jun Sandy Herd  Scotland Royal Liverpool 307 1 stroke Scotland James Braid
Jersey Harry Vardon
1901 5–6 Jun James Braid  Scotland Muirfield 309 3 strokes Jersey Harry Vardon £50
1900 6–7 Jun J.H. Taylor (3)  England St Andrews 309 8 strokes Jersey Harry Vardon £50
1899 7–8 Jun Harry Vardon (3)  Jersey St George's 310 5 strokes Scotland Jack White £30
1898 8–9 Jun Harry Vardon (2)  Jersey Prestwick 307 1 stroke Scotland Willie Park, Jnr £30
1897 19–20 May Harold Hilton (a) (2)  England Royal Liverpool 314 1 stroke Scotland James Braid £30
1896 10–11,13 Jun Harry Vardon  Jersey Muirfield 316 Playoff England J.H. Taylor £30
1895 12–13 Jun J.H. Taylor (2)  England St Andrews 322 4 strokes Scotland Sandy Herd £30
1894 11–12 Jun J.H. Taylor  England St George's 326 5 strokes Scotland Douglas Rolland £30
1893 31 Aug – 1 Sep William Auchterlonie  Scotland Prestwick 322 2 strokes Scotland Johnny Laidlay (a) £30
1892 22–23 Sep Harold Hilton (a)  England Muirfield 305 3 strokes England John Ball (a)
Scotland Sandy Herd
Scotland Hugh Kirkaldy
1891 6–7 Oct Hugh Kirkaldy  Scotland St Andrews 166 2 strokes Scotland Willie Fernie
Scotland Andrew Kirkaldy
1890 11 Sep John Ball (a)  England Prestwick 164 3 strokes Scotland Willie Fernie
Scotland Archie Simpson
1889 8,11 Nov Willie Park, Jnr (2)  Scotland Musselburgh 155 Playoff Scotland Andrew Kirkaldy £8
1888 6,8 Oct Jack Burns  Scotland St Andrews 171 1 stroke Scotland David Anderson Jr.
Scotland Ben Sayers
1887 16 Sep Willie Park, Jnr  Scotland Prestwick 161 1 stroke Scotland Bob Martin £8
1886 5 Nov David Brown  Scotland Musselburgh 157 2 strokes Scotland Willie Campbell £8
1885 3 Oct Bob Martin (2)  Scotland St Andrews 171 1 stroke Scotland Archie Simpson £10
1884 3 Oct Jack Simpson  Scotland Prestwick 160 4 strokes Scotland Willie Fernie
Scotland Douglas Rolland
1883 16–17 Nov Willie Fernie  Scotland Musselburgh 159 Playoff Scotland Bob Ferguson £8
1882 30 Sep Bob Ferguson (3)  Scotland St Andrews 171 3 strokes Scotland Willie Fernie £12
1881 14 Oct Bob Ferguson (2)  Scotland Prestwick 170 3 strokes Scotland Jamie Anderson £8
1880 9 Apr Bob Ferguson  Scotland Musselburgh 162 5 strokes Scotland Peter Paxton £8
1879 27,29 Sep Jamie Anderson (3)  Scotland St Andrews 169 3 strokes Scotland Jamie Allan
Scotland Andrew Kirkaldy
1878 4 Oct Jamie Anderson (2)  Scotland Prestwick 157 2 strokes Scotland Bob Kirk £8
1877 6 Apr Jamie Anderson  Scotland Musselburgh 160 2 strokes Scotland Bob Pringle £8
1876 30 Sep, 2 Oct Bob Martin  Scotland St Andrews 176 Playoff Scotland Davie Strath £10
1875 10 Sep Willie Park, Snr (4)  Scotland Prestwick 166 2 strokes Scotland Bob Martin £8
1874 10 Apr Mungo Park  Scotland Musselburgh 159 2 strokes Scotland Tom Morris, Jnr £8
1873 4 Oct Tom Kidd  Scotland St Andrews 179 1 stroke Scotland Jamie Anderson £11
1872 13 Sep Tom Morris, Jnr (4)  Scotland Prestwick 166 3 strokes Scotland Davie Strath £8
1871 Championship cancelled as no trophy available
1870 15 Sep Tom Morris, Jnr (3)  Scotland Prestwick 149 12 strokes Scotland Bob Kirk
Scotland Davie Strath
1869 16 Sep Tom Morris, Jnr (2)  Scotland Prestwick 157 11 strokes Scotland Bob Kirk £6
1868 23 Sep Tom Morris, Jnr  Scotland Prestwick 154 3 strokes Scotland Tom Morris, Snr £6
1867 26 Sep Tom Morris, Snr (4)  Scotland Prestwick 170 2 strokes Scotland Willie Park, Snr £7
1866 13 Sep Willie Park, Snr (3)  Scotland Prestwick 169 2 strokes Scotland Davie Park £6
1865 14 Sep Andrew Strath  Scotland Prestwick 162 2 strokes Scotland Willie Park, Snr £8
1864 16 Sep Tom Morris, Snr (3)  Scotland Prestwick 167 2 strokes Scotland Andrew Strath £6
1863 18 Sep Willie Park, Snr (2)  Scotland Prestwick 168 2 strokes Scotland Tom Morris, Snr -
1862 11 Sep Tom Morris, Snr (2)  Scotland Prestwick 163 13 strokes Scotland Willie Park, Snr -
1861 26 Sep Tom Morris, Snr  Scotland Prestwick 163 4 strokes Scotland Willie Park, Snr -
1860 17 Oct Willie Park, Snr  Scotland Prestwick 174 2 strokes Scotland Tom Morris, Snr -

(a) denotes amateur
"Dates" column includes all days on which play took place or was planned to take place, including any playoffs

Silver Medal winners

Since 1949, the Silver Medal is awarded to the leading amateur, provided that the player completes all 72 holes.[3] In the 68 Championships from 1949 to 2016, it has been won by 43 players on 49 occasions. Frank Stranahan won it four times in the first five years (and was also the low amateur in 1947), while Joe Carr, Michael Bonallack and Peter McEvoy each won it twice. The medal has gone unawarded 19 times.


As of 2016, European Tour Productions serves as the host broadcaster for the Open Championship. The host broadcaster, as well as British and American broadcasters Sky Sports and NBC Sports, utilized a total of 175 cameras during the 2016 tournament.[31][32]

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the Open Championship was historically broadcast by the BBC—a relationship which lasted from 1955 to 2015. The BBC's rights to the Open had been threatened by the event's removal from Category A of Ofcom's "listed" events, a status which legally mandated that the Open be broadcast in its entirety by a terrestrial broadcaster. It had since been moved to Category B, meaning that television rights to the tournament could now be acquired by a pay television outlet, such as BT Sport or Sky Sports, as long as rights to broadcast a highlights programme are given to one of the main terrestrial broadcasters.[33][34][35]

Former R&A chief executive Peter Dawson had been critical of the quality of the BBC's television coverage in recent years, stating alongside its final renewal in 2010 that "They know we've got our eye on them. You have to stay in practice and keep up with advances in technology." The Guardian felt that the R&A was being "pressured" to negotiate a more lucrative broadcast deal, as the other three majors have in the United States, but also argued that viewer interest in golf could face further declines in the UK without widely available coverage.[35][34]

On 3 February 2015, the R&A announced that Sky Sports had acquired broadcast rights to the Open beginning in 2017, under a five-year contract valued at £15 million per-year, doubling the value of the previous BBC contract. As required by broadcasting regulations, rights to broadcast a nightly highlights programme were also sold: the BBC acquired this highlights package. Dawson praised Sky Sports' past involvement with televised golf, explaining that "the way people consume live sport is changing significantly and this new agreement ensures fans have a range of options for enjoying the championship on television and through digital channels".[36][37] The BBC chose to opt out of the final year of its existing contract, making Sky Sports' broadcast rights begin one year early, in 2016.[38]

United States

In the United States, ABC had historically held rights to the Open.[39] Beginning in 2010 under an eight-year agreement, the Open moved exclusively to pay television channel ESPN, with only tape-delayed highlights shown on ABC.[40] In June 2015, it was announced that NBC Sports would acquire rights to the Open Championship under a 12-year deal beginning in 2017; early round coverage was to air on Golf Channel, with the main NBC network broadcasting live weekend coverage. The R&A cited NBC's successful broadcasts of Premier League football, which also primarily airs on Saturday mornings in U.S. time zones, as an advantage of NBC's acquisition of The Open.[41] Similarly to the BBC, ESPN chose to opt out of its final year of Open rights, causing NBC's rights to begin in 2016 instead.[38] Spanish-language coverage, until the 2015 edition, was provided by ESPN Deportes, with Telemundo Deportes taking over Spanish coverage as of the 2016 edition.

The 2016 edition of the Open Championship had a total of 49.5 hours of coverage in the United States, with 29 hours being on Thursday and Friday, and 20.5 hours being on Saturday and Sunday; the Golf Channel cable network had a total of 35 hours of coverage, with 29 hours on Thursday and Friday, and 6 hours on Saturday and Sunday. The NBC broadcast network had a total of 14.5 hours of coverage on the weekend, with 7.5 hours Saturday, and 7 hours Sunday.
The 49.5 hours of coverage on Golf Channel and NBC surpasses the 36 plus hours of coverage that ESPN had in 2015.

Notes and references

  1. "Prestwick Golf Club details". Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  2. Joy, David (June 2003). "Prestwick Golf Club". Links Magazine. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  3. 1 2 "Claret Jug". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  4. "Ryle Memorial Medal" (PDF). Professional Golfers' Association. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  5. "Braid Taylor Memorial Medal" (PDF). Professional Golfers' Association. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  6. "Tooting Bec Cup" (PDF). Professional Golfers' Association. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  7. "The Open Golf Championship". The Times. 10 July 1893. p. 7.
  8. "The Open Championship". The Times. 18 November 1907. p. 12.
  9. "The Golf Championship - Official announcement". The Times. 14 April 1915. p. 16.
  10. "The Championships". The Times. 22 May 1922. p. 22.
  11. "Gales and snow - Damage on east coast - Widespread flooding". The Times. 14 February 1938. p. 12.
  12. "Golf - The Open and Amateur Championships - New Conditions". The Times. 12 February 1938. p. 4.
  13. "Golf Championships for 1940". The Times. 21 January 1939. p. 4.
  14. "The Open: Press conference confirms Royal Portrush". BBC News. 16 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  15. "Royal Portrush to host The 148th Open in 2019". Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  16. "Muirfield to lose right to host Open after vote against allowing women members". BBC Sport. BBC. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  17. "Royal Birkdale". Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  18. "Carnoustie". Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  19. "Royal Portrush". Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  20. "The Open Championship – Entry Form" (PDF). Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  21. "Qualification". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  22. "Exemptions". Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  23. "The Open Championship".
  24. "Birkdale 'will provide Open test'". BBC Sport. 29 April 2008.
  25. Spiers, Graham (20 July 2007). "The top ten best shots at the Open". The Times. London. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  26. "British Open Tournament".
  27. Malley, Frank (24 July 2006). "Woods gives blueprint for success at British Open". SportsTicker.
  28. Newberry, Paul (24 July 2006). "Through the tears, Woods hoists the claret jug for the second year in a row". Associated Press.
  29. "Notes: Young Tom Morris gets 20 days older". PGA Tour. 1 August 2006. Archived from the original on 5 August 2006.
  30. "Did you know number 50". The Open Championship. Archived from the original on 25 November 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
  31. "Live From The Open Championship: A New Era Begins for the R&A". Sports Video Group. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  32. "CTV Takes Axon's Cerebrum Back To The Open Golf Championship". TV Technology. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  33. "Code on Sports and Other Listed and Designated Events" (PDF). Ofcom. March 2008. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2011-01-25.
  34. 1 2 "BBC could lose exclusive Open coverage rights as R&A ponders new deal". The Guardian. 8 January 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  35. 1 2 Murray, Ewan (14 January 2015). "What would it mean for golf if the BBC lost the Open Championship?". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  36. Gibson, Owen (3 February 2015). "Sky Sports wins rights to show Open Championship golf live from 2017". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  37. "Open Championship: Sky wins rights; BBC to show highlights". BBC Sport. 3 February 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  38. 1 2 Ourand, John (October 12, 2015). "NBC getting British Open a year early". Sports Business Journal. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
  39. Stewart, Larry (July 21, 1995). "ABC getting a major chance with British Open coverage". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
  40. "All four rounds of British Open shown live on ESPN beginning in '10". Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  41. Ourand, John; Lombardo, John (June 8, 2015). "NBC, Golf Channel ending ABC/ESPN British Open reign". Sports Business Journal. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
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