The five best Open Championships since 2000

The Open Championship returns to Royal Birkdale this year as the world’s best players chase the Claret Jug in the oldest of the four Majors on the golf calendar. Henrik Stenson won the event last year as the man from Sweden handled the links conditions better than anyone at Royal Troon as he finished on -20, which left him three strokes better than the field in Scotland.

Here is a look at the five best Open Championships since 2000 that have provided us with drama, exceptional performances, and unique events.

Tiger Woods – 2000 (St Andrews)

Woods’ victory in the 2000 Open ensured he became the youngest player in history to complete the career Grand Slam of all four majors. The American did so in style as he won by eight shots at the home of golf. At the time, his score of -19 was a record in a Major Championship, as the world number one was on a different level to his rivals in the sport and it showed in Scotland.

Padraig Harrington – 2008 (Royal Birkdale)

The last time the Open was played at Royal Birkdale was eight years ago when Irishman Padraig Harrington added his name to an elusive list of players that have been able to successfully defend the Claret Jug. Conditions were tough in Southport but Harrington was able to limit his mistakes and won with a winning score of +3. As much as we love to see the world’s best players making birdies and eagles, in the 2009 Open it was fascinating to see them tackle a tough links course where the wind had a big impact on their shots.

Stewart Cink – 2009 (Turnberry)

The 2009 Open almost produced one of the best stories in Major Championship history as 59 year old Tom Watson missed a putt on the final hole to win the tournament. The prize eventually went to American Stewart Cink who won a play-off with the veteran on the first extra hole at Turnberry. Cink has recently come back to form again and will be in the field for Royal Birkdale where he can be backed at latest golf odds of 275/1. Cink made the cut at Erin Hills in the US Open but he’ll be hoping he can claim his second Claret Jug next month.

Darren Clarke – 2011 (Royal St George)

Darren Clarke was one of the most popular winners of the Open Championship in 2011 at Royal St George. The Northern Irishman was playing in his 54th Major Championship, as part of a career which had spanned 20 years, and he was able to win one of golf’s four biggest prizes for the first time.

Rory McIlroy – 2014 (Royal Liverpool)

Rory McIlroy’s Open Championship success in 2014 meant the former world number one joined an elusive list of players alongside Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods to have won three different Major Championships by the age of 25. The man from Northern Ireland did so in emphatic style as he completed a wire-to-wire victory at Royal Liverpool.

The 2017 Open Championship is sure to produce another memorable moment on the Sunday afternoon at Royal Birkdale as the field of players chase one of the biggest prizes in the sport.