From Arnold Palmer to Zimbabwe’s Nick Price, Mark Kendall tells you all you need to know about the Open in this A-Z.
A – Arnold Palmer. ‘The King’ was widely credited with ensuring the status of the Open Championship amongst American players as he made the long journey across the Atlantic at a time when relatively few others did. His back-to-back wins in 1961 and 62 helped convinced many it was a worthwhile undertaking and it has gone on to become a tournament the Americans have dominated – especially in recent years.
B – Barry Burn. The famous fast-flowing stream that runs throughout Carnoustie. The 16th is named after it, while its presence has spelt disaster for many a player over the years – none more memorably than Frenchman Jean Van de Velde in 1999.
C – Claret Jug. It’s official name is ‘The Golf Champion Trophy’, but will forever be known as the ‘Claret Jug’. Created in 1872 to replace the Challenge Belt, the first name on it is that of Tom Morris Junior. Winners now receive a replica with the original in The Royal and Ancient Golf Clubhouse.
D – Duel in the Sun. Arguably the greatest Open Championship of all time as Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson went head-to-head at a scorching Turnberry in 1977. After identical scores in the first three rounds (68, 67 & 65) the pair engaged in a fabulous final-round shoot-out with Watson – who took the lead for the first time that week with a birdie at the 71st – ultimately winning out by one shot.
E – Els. One of the game’s gentlemen and if any man comes alive around Open time it’s the affable South African. Ernie has a sparkling record in the championship with the 2002 champion from Muirfield having no fewer than eight top-ten finishes to his credit.
F – Faulkner. The flamboyant Englishman was as much renowned for his trailblazing clothes sense (salmon-pink plus fours) and lifestyle away from the course as much as his play on it. But the most significant moment of his career came at Royal Portrush in 1951 when he clinched his only major triumph.
G – Greens. The most famous on the Open Championship itinerary are undoubtedly found on the Old Course at St Andrews where all but four holes (1st, 9th, 17th & 18th) share the huge trademark double greens.
H – Hogan’s Alley. The par-five sixth hole at Carnoustie was renamed ‘Hogan’s Alley’ in 2003 after the legendary American who won the Open there in 1953 on his only appearance in the championship. In each of his four rounds in ’53, Hogan chose the tight driving line between the fairway bunkers and the out-of-bounds fence and found the fairway each time – his achievement was to be commemorated some half a century later.
I – IBF. Ian Baker-Finch was a surprise winner of the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale when closing rounds of 64 & 66 saw him edge Mike Harwood by two shots. However, his game subsequently fell to pieces and he is now almost as famous for hooking his first tee-shot out of bounds at St Andrews in the 1995 Open. Retired from the game altogether after a nightmare first-round 92 at 1997 Open at Troon.
J – Jacklin. Winner in 1969, Tony Jacklin looked on course for another Open triumph three years later but was denied by Lee Trevino who proceeded to chip in no fewer than five times over the course of the final two rounds. When he did so at 17 during the final round it broke Jacklin with many describing it as the shot that ended the Englishman’s career as a major contender.
K – Kel Nagle. Arnold Palmer – golf’s biggest draw of the time – had already won the US Open and Masters and headed to St Andrews chasing a grand slam in 1960. However, he was to be put in the shade by little-known Australian Nagle who, having never finished in the top ten at a major, walked away with the Claret Jug.
L – Links. The links courses of Scotland are where the game first originated and what makes the Open championship so great for so many. Uneven, undulating fairways, pot bunkers, gusty winds, a lack of trees – it’s golf at its most challenging, if not necessarily its most aesthetically beautiful.
M – Muirfield. Famous Open venue and scene of Nick Faldo’s first major triumph in 1987 when he produced 18 pars in his final round to edge out Paul Azinger who bogeyed his closing two holes.
N – Nicklaus. Three-times a winner of the Open Championship, ‘The Golden Bear’ emerged victorious in 1966 (Muirfield), 1970 (St Andrews) and 1978 (St Andrews). Arguably the greatest to ever play the game, Tiger Woods remains six behind his mark of 18 major wins.
O – O’Meara. Mark O’Meara was always a prolific winner on the US PGA Tour, but passed his 40th birthday without having won a major. That changed in 1998 when, having already emerged victorious at Augusta, he claimed his second biggie of the season as he clinched the Open at Birkdale. O’Meara was quick to attribute this resurgence to his friendship with his playing partner, and one of the game’s emerging stars – a certain Tiger Woods.
P – Park. Willie Park Snr was the winner of the inaugural Open Championship in 1860, coming out on top in a field that featured only eight entrants. He went on to add three further successes in the tournament in 1863, 1866 and 1875.
Q – Qualifier. The last man to qualify for, and then win, the Open Championship was Paul Lawrie on the tournament’s last visit to Carnoustie back in 1999. The Scot – Europe’s last major victor – took advantage after another qualifier, Jean Van de Velde, suffered a final-hole meltdown and went on to emerge triumphant in a play-off.
R – Royal. Seven royal golf clubs have played host to the Open Championship since its inception in 1860; Royal Troon, Royal St George’s, Royal Birkdale, Royal Lytham & St Annes, Royal Liverpool, Royal Cinque Ports, Royal Portrush. (The final two on this list are no longer on the Open rota.)
S – Spectacles. The two huge bunkers which protect the green at the par-five 14th at Carnoustie. These bunkers, known as the ‘Spectacles’ obscure the view to the green and have proved the downfall of many an over-intrepid golfer throughout the years. One man to tame them in memorable style was Gary Player in the 1975 Open Championship as he flew a wonderful three-wood over them and to within two feet of the pin to all but kill off the challenge of Jack Nicklaus.
T – Turnberry. Many regard the Ailsa Course at Turnberry as one of the most underused Open venues on the rota. The oldest major has only been held at the Scottish course on three occasions (1977, 1986 & 1994), but is scheduled to return in 2009 after a 15-year absence.
U – Umbrella. An all too frequent sight at the only major championship to be held outside of America. Some feel adverse weather is an integral part of the Open Championship, but all too often heavy rain and strong winds can have perhaps too big a bearing on where the title goes. The Open should always be the ultimate test, but scenes like the Saturday at Muirfield in 2002, when competitors were caught in
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