5. 1962 “Arnie and His Army Invade Troon” Arnold Palmer wins second straight British Open going away
For younger fans who may not remember, the careers of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus mirrored those of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, respectively in several ways. While Jack Nicklaus won more majors, Palmer was more popular. The success that Palmer had at the British Open in the early 60’s helped brings fans and media attention to the event. After winning the Claret Jug in 1961, “Arnie’s Army” (the moniker given to the throngs of Palmer’s fans) descended upon Troon in record numbers. Palmer did not disappoint them. His score of -12 bested his closest competitor by six strokes. Click here to see a video of Arnold Palmer at the 1962 British Open.
4. 2009 “Heartbreak at Turnberry” 59-year-old Tom Watson loses lead and playoff
It was almost the greatest moment in the history of professional golf. Five-time champion Tom Watson, at 59 years of age and coming off hip replacement surgery, became the oldest man to ever lead a major tournament after the second round. Heading into the last round, Tom Watson was alone atop the leader board at -4. Leading the British Open by one stroke on the 72nd hole, Watson made a bogey and was forced into a playoff with Stewart Cink. In the playoff, Tom Watson finally began to wear down and Cink won the Claret Jug. Despite the heartbreaking finish, Tom Watson still gave one the finest performances ever at the British Open.
3. 1930 “Joy at Hoylake” Amateur Bobby Jones wins third British Open championship
The list of accomplishments that Bobby Jones accumulated at the 1930 British Open is staggering. First, he shattered the previous course record at Hoylake by 10 strokes. Also, he won his third British Open as an amateur, the last such golfer to do so. In addition, he became the first player to ever win the British Amateur and British Open in the same year. In fact, he won two other major championships in 1930 to win a version of the “grand slam.” This was during the era of American dominance at The Open with players from the USA winning 12 titles in 13 years. Click here to see a rare video of Bobby Jones at the 1930 British Open.
2. 2000 “Dominance at St. Andrews” Tiger Woods shoots an astounding 19-under-par
When he is healthy and on his game, there is no golfer (or course) in the world that can tame Tiger Woods. With conducive course conditions, all the ingredients were in place for Tiger Woods to crush the competition at the 2000 British Open. From the 1st hole to the 72nd, Tiger Woods was untouchable. He became just the fourth golfer ever at the British Open to shoot all four rounds in less than 70 strokes. Tiger Woods didn’t even make his first bogey until the third round. And he never hit into a bunker on any hole over all four rounds. Tiger Woods finished eight shots ahead of second place and his amazing -19 score became the most strokes under par ever at the British Open.
1. 1977 “The Duel in the Sun” Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson give a performance for the ages
The 1977 British Open was the first played at Turnberry. But the story was the head-to-head showdown between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. Not only did they produce an exciting final day, but remarkably, each shot identical rounds of 68, 70 and 65 over the first three days! By the time they teed off on Sunday, all other golfers had fallen way back, setting up a true duel between the two. Tom Watson, who took the lead for the first time on the 17th hole, had to make a short putt to win after Jack Nicklaus sank an amazing 40 footer. In winning his 2nd British Open, Tom Watson’s score of 268 broke the previous Open record of 276. Click here to see a video of “The Duel in the Sun.”
All historical data found at “The Open’s” official website