History of The Open Championship: Celebrating 152 Years

The Open Championship is officially recognised as the world’s oldest golf major, where both professional and amateur golfers from all over the world put their skills to the test in a bid to take home the Claret Jug.

It stands as one of the four major golf championships globally alongside The Masters, The PGA Championship and the US Open, although The Open is the only championship staged in the UK.

However, despite being theoretically open to both amateur and professional golfers, The Open Championship takes its name from the fact it primarily consists of renowned professional players. In fact, only a small number of amateur golfers can enter by invitation.

Still, it’s a championship steeped in history, and the British Open is hosted on a rotation of beautiful coastal links golf courses throughout the UK. St Andrews and Royal St George’s are two of the most notable.

In 2024, The 152nd Open Championship will be taking place at the famous Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland. Ahead of this year’s historic Open, we’ve taken a trip down memory lane to uncover the journey of golf’s original major.

History of the British Open

The first British Open can be traced back to 1860. It took place at Scotland’s Prestwick Golf Club and was held there every year until 1873, when St Andrews hosted the major for the first time.

Willie Park, Sr., won the inaugural championship and received a silver-buckled leather belt dubbed the Challenge Belt for his victory, which was to be kept by the winner until the following Open Championship.

As the championship progressed, the major began rotating between various golf courses in Scotland, with Prestwick, St Andrews and Musselburgh hosting The Open between 1873 – 1892.

The US Open major was established in 1895, and thirty-five years later, legendary golfer Bobby Jones won The Open Championship, US Open, Amateur Championship and US Amateur in the same year.

In 1931, The British Open was held outside of St Andrews, Prestwick and Musselburgh for the first time, as Carnoustie Golf Links was added to the rotation.

It wasn’t until 1951 that The Championship was staged outside of Scotland, taking place at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland. It was also the only time the major took place outside of mainland Britain (until 2019 when Royal Portrush hosted the 148th Open).

The Open Championship continued to grow in popularity. The largest crowd in its history dates back to the 2000 renewal, which saw legendary golfer Tiger Woods claim the coveted Claret Jug.

Since its inaugural running, various courses have been added to the rotation, including Royal St George’s, Muirfield and Royal Liverpool. However, the Old Course at St Andrews, which is arguably the most famous golf venue globally, has hosted the most championships, with 30 in total.

Royal Troon: Host of 2024 Open Championship

The Royal Troon is one of the world’s oldest golf venues, and it will be the host of the world famous Open Championship once more.

It was established all the way back in 1878 and hosted its first British Open Championship in 1923. It went on to host the British Open Championship in 1950, 1962, 1973, 1982, 1989, 1997, 2004 and most recently in 2016.

The oldest golf major will return once more in 2024 and this is an event that no golf fan will want to miss, and why not experience this famous sporting occasion with Eventmasters’ British Open Championship Hospitality Packages?

The Open Championship - Final Round

When is the 152nd British Open?

The 152nd British Open Championship is set to take place from Sunday 14th July to Sunday 21st July 2024.

Where is the 152nd British Open?

In 2024, the 152nd British Open Championship will take place at one of the world’s oldest golf clubs, The Royal Troon in Troon, South Ayrshire in Scotland.

The Royal Troon will host its 9th Open Championship, including it’s first in 1923 that saw Arthur Havers crowned the winner.

Tom Watson is one of the most successful golf players in the history of the British Open, with 5 (1975, 1977, 1980, 1982 & 1983). His fourth win in 1982 came at the Royal Troon.

The only players to have won more British Opens is Harry Yardon with 6 (1896, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1911 & 1914).

One of the world’s most famous golf players have won the last two British Open Championships to take place at this venue. Henrik Stenson won the Claret Jug in 2016, with the last winner before the Swede being Todd Hamilton who won the tournament 12 years previously in 2004.

The course is comprised of 18 holes. The course has been made harder this year for the players, with more bunkering, more trees and a harsher run off in certain areas of the course.

Last year, the British Open Championship was hosted at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club. It’s history stretches back to its establishment in 1869 with it hosting it’s first ever British Open in 1897. The course has been host to the British Open 13 times.

Who won the British Open in 2023?

In 2023, it was Brian Harman who lifted the famous Claret Jug. It was the American’s first ever British Open title. Jason Day, Tom Kim, Jon Rahm and Sepp Straka were joint second, whilst it was Emiliano Grillo and Rory McIlroy in joint third.

Harman’s winning score was 13 under par. The record for the best winning margin in the Open Championship’s history is Henrik Stenson’s win at Royal Troon in 2016, where he was 20 under par.

Cameron Smith now finds himself in 9th in the World Golf Rankings. Scottie Scheffler (United States), Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland) and Jon Rahm (Spain) occupy the top three.

Notable British Open Championship Winners

With a championship that dates back to 1860, there are many notable winners of the British Open! While we could name several iconic golfers, there are a few names that spring to mind immediately within the timeline of British Open winners:

Harry Vardon

Jersey golfer, Harry Vardon, has won the British Open a record number of six times. Vardon’s impressive golfing achievements earned him a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame, with his six British Open Championship medals on display at the Jersey Museum.

Tom Watson

Another golfing legend, Tom Watson, has managed to win the British Open an impressive five times. However, perhaps the most notable win was during 1977 due to his rivalry with Jack Nicklaus, who already won the British Open in 1970.

The championship boiled down to the two players and is often known as “the duel in the Sun.” The pair’s rivalry was a huge talking point at the time and served to increase the popularity of golf.

Tiger Woods

Considered one of the world’s greatest golfers, Tiger Woods has won the British Open three times. His first win was in 2000, held at St Andrews, where he beat the likes of Thomas Bjorn and Ernie Els. In 2005, he claimed the Claret Jug for a second time as the championship was held at St Andrews once again. His third win was at the 135th Open Championship in 2006, held at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

How do I get tickets for the British Open in 2024?

Eventmasters are delighted to offer exclusive packages for the British Open in 2023. If you want to experience the world’s oldest and most prestigious golf championship in VIP style, then please visit our Open Championship hospitality page or call a member of our golf hospitality team on 0121 233 6500 for further details.

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