History of The Open Championship: Celebrating 151 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 2023, The 151st Open Championship will be taking place at the famous Royal Liverpool Golf Club. 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 Liverpool: Host of 2023 Open Championship
The Royal Liverpool 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 1869 and hosted its first British Open Championship in 1897. It went on to host the British Open Championship in 1902, 1907, 1913, 1924, 1930, 1936, 1947, 1956, 1967, 2006, and 2014.
The oldest golf major will return once more in 2023 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?
When is the 151st British Open?
The 151st British Open Championship is set to take place from Sunday 16th July to Sunday 23rd July 2023.
Where is the 151st British Open?
In 2023, the 151st British Open Championship will take place at one of the world’s oldest golf clubs, The Royal Liverpool in the Wirral, England.
The Royal Liverpool will host its 13th Open Championship since it’s first in 1897 that saw Harold Hilton crowned the winner.
One of the most memorable moments in the Open’s history came at the Royal Liverpool in 1930 courtesy of the legendary Bobby Jones. He won that year’s Open Championship which would seal an incredible grand slam of titles after victory in the British Open, the United States Open and the Amateur Championship.
Two of the world’s most famous golf players have won the last two British Open Championships to take place at this venue. The evergreen Tiger Woods won the Claret Jug in 2006 with Rory McIlroy winning in 2014 – his only open title to date.
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 St. Andrews, known as ‘The Home of Golf’ because its history stretches back to its establishment in 1552 with it hosting it’s first ever British Open in 1873. The course has been host to the British Open 30 times and it is famous for Seve Ballesteros’ second Open Championship title in 1984 and Tiger Woods’ incredible 8 shot victory in 2000.
Who won the British Open in 2022?
In 2022, it was Cameron Smith who lifted the famous Claret Jug. It was the Australian’s first ever major title. Cameron Young was the runner-up with Rory McIlroy in third.
Remarkably, Smith’s winning score was 20 under par which is the joint best in Open Championships history with Henrik Stenson’s win at Royal Troon in 2016. 290,000 people came to watch Smith secure his maiden major in spectacular fashion.
Smith got five birdies in a row from the tenth hole which put him on his way to win the title. He went on to have further success in the Masters at Augusta where he came in the top three.
Cameron Smith now finds himself in third in the World Golf Rankings with only Scottie Scheffler (United States) and Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland) ahead of him in 1st and 2nd. What is more remarkable is that Smith was 21st as recently as 2021.
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:
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.
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.
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 2023?
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.