Since its inauguration in 1860, the Open Championship has established itself as one of the most sought-after trophies on the golfing calendar. Many different golf courses around the United Kingdom have played host to the Open Championship, with winners coming from countries all over the world.
Since those early days when the Open first started, each year there have been some fantastic and memorable moments. Whether it’s joy or heartache, throughout history many a golfer have had their share at the Open – with some stand-out moments that will live long in the memory for those avid fans of the sport. Join us as we take a look at the greatest moments in the Open’s history.
Tiger Woods in a tearful tribute to his father – 2006
After the death of Tiger’s father in 2006, the golfing genius decided to take two months off to grieve with his family. However, by the time the Open came around two months later, Tiger was ready to win the Open for his father. After completing rounds of 67, 65 and 71, he went into the last round leading the pack by one. His final putt on the last hole for a 67 led him to a two-stroke victory, and then he broke down into tears. He confessed that he missed his father dearly, and that he wished he was there to have seen him win. A great tournament capped off with an emotional honour to the winner’s father.
Tony Jacklin Sparks British Interest in Golf – 1969
For some golfers, there’s more to the game than just winning trophies, some like to leave a legacy – and Tony Jacklin did just that with some fantastic golf displays around the late 1960’s, culminating in a great win in 1969. He became the first British winner in 18 years, and thanks to his performances running up to the 1969 both here and in the US, he has been thanked by players such as Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam for inspiring them.
‘Tiger Slam’ – 2000
Tiger Woods won the 2000 Open Championship in emphatic style. In all four rounds he shot below 70 (67-66-67-69), and never entered a bunker during the entire week. He finally finished eight strokes clear of the pack, finishing 19 under par – an Open record. What made this all the more special was that Woods had already won the US Open, and then after the Open, he went on to win the PGA Championship, and finally the Masters in 2001. That meant he held all four titles at the same time – truly remarkable.
‘Hogan’s Alley’ at Carnoustie – 1953
Ben Hogan, the great American golfer only ever appeared in the Open once, but won the 1953 tournament at Carnoustie in such style that the sixth hole was later renamed in his honour. He struck the ball into a narrow gap between a bunker and the out of bounds, something that had never been achieved before, and it is now known as Hogan’s Alley. He went on to win the final round with 68 – a new course record. What made his achievement all the more remarkable was the fact that he had been in a near fatal accident just four years earlier. A true legend of the game.
Jean Van De Velde’s Catastrophe – 1999
For Jean Van De Velde, Carnoustie will forever be remembered as ‘Carnasty’. On the final hole of the final round, the Frenchman only needed a six on the par four to take the Open title – the second Frenchman ever to do so. Unfortunately, it turned out to be less of a fairytale and more of a nightmare, as nerves got the better of Van De Velde.
His tee shot landed on the 17th fairway, and his recovery landed in thick rough. He then chipped the ball into the water, where it laid on a rock. He considered playing his shot as it laid, even taking his shoes and socks off, which unfortunately will be a lasting image for many golf fans. He eventually took a drop and chipped into a bunker. His shot out of the bunker landed 8ft from the pin, and he finally holed his putt for 7 taking him to a play-off, which he eventually lost to Paul Lawrie. A cataclysmic display, but one that will be remembered forever.