The British Open is one of the toughest majors in golf. Played in the land where golf was born, it’s an especially unique tournament. The British Open has been played daing back to 1860, and has seen countless memorable moments. The best golfers in the world play the British Open every year, so it’s sure to see many more memorable championships. Here’s a look at the 5 greatest British Opens of all time.
1977 – Watson Edges Nicklaus
Tom Watson had his greatest success at the British Open. Fittingly, one of his most memorable wins came in a neck and neck battle with his rival Jack Nicklaus. The two were neck and neck, entering the final round tied for the lead and clear of the field. Watson finally took a one shot lead on the 17th hole, setting up a memorable 18th. Watson hit a square drive and chipped up within 2 feet of the hole. Meanwhile, Nicklaus shot a memorable 2nd shot from the rough and set up a birdie from over 30 feet. That put a little pressure on Watson, who sank his birdie and claimed his 2nd of 5 British Open titles.
1995 – Daly Beats Rocca In Playoff
John Daly had already finished up, the British Open in his grasp. Rocca entered the final hole one shot behind Daly. He hit a great drive, but his 2nd shot was awful. He was more than 60 feet from the pin and his British Open hopes seemed done. From a spot below the hole, Rocca nailed his long putt to get the birdie he needed and forced the playoff. Daly would win in the playoff though, claiming his first British Open championship.
1999 – The Meltdown
Paul Lawrie was 10 strokes down at the start of the 4th round, and held off Justin Leonard and Jean Van De Velde in a playoff to complete the biggest British Open comeback. But more memorable than that was the complete collapse of Van De Velde on the final hole on Sunday. He needed only a double bogie to take home the British Open, having a 3 shot lead. For reasons still unknown, Van De Velde’s aggressive play got him in the deep rough, then in the water. Van De Velde wound up with a triple bogie, leading to the playoff that won the British Open for Lawrie. The image of Van De Velde standing in the water with his sleeves rolled up is memorable.
2000 – Tiger Dominates
Soon after Tiger dominated Pebble Beach at the US Open, he dominated St Andrews at the British Open. Woods took the lead for good after the 2nd round, never being challenged over the weekend en route to an 8 shot win and a major record 19 under par. Woods shot every round in the 60’s. He became the youngest golfer to win all 4 majors.
2007 – Gracia Can’t Close Out
Sergio Garcia was hoping to break his seemingly unending hex at majors. He entered Sunday with a 3 shot lead over Steve Stricker and was at least 6 shots clear of everyone else in the field, including Padraig Harrington. Harrington eventually managed to catch and pass Garcia. He entered 18 with a 1 shot lead but double bogied. Garcia then bogied his one shot lead away on the 18th, failing to close out the major. In the playoff, Harrington birdied the 1st playoff hole while Garcia bogied. Harrington held on to win his first of tow straight British Open championships.
2007 British Open
2000 British Open
1977 British Open
1995 British Open
1999 British Open