History of The Open Championship: Celebrating 150 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 2022, The Open Championship is set to be more memorable than ever before as St Andrews Links hosts the 150th renewal of the golf event. 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 29 in total.

St Andrews: Home of the Open Championship

St Andrews is widely recognised as the world’s oldest golf course and is often referred to as the “Home of Golf”.

According to official records, St Andrews was established in 1552 and hosted the first British Open in 1873. Understandably, the Old Course has undergone various developments to maintain its prestigious reputation.

In 2022, The Open Championship returns to its birthplace – St Andrews, and you could be there to witness golfing greatness with Eventmasters’ British Open Championship hospitality packages.

The Open Championship - Final Round

When is the 150th British Open?

The 150th British Open Championship will commence between Sunday 10th July and Sunday 17th July 2022.

Where is the 150th British Open?

In 2022, the 150th British Open will take place at the Home of Golf, St Andrews Links, in Fife, Scotland.

St Andrews will host the major on the Old Course, which will mark the 30th time The Open has been played on the hallowed grounds. Golfers will begin with one of the most iconic shots in golf history, The Burn, before concluding play at the 18th hole, named after legendary golfer “Old Tom Morris”.

The par-4 18th has produced some thrilling moments over the years. Golfing fans will remember when Seve Ballesteros holed an 18-foot birdie to claim his second Open Championship title in 1984, and Tiger Woods recorded a stunning 8-shot victory in 2000.

Last year, the championship was held at Royal St George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent, where it has been hosted fourteen times previously. Royal St George’s is a challenging course for even the most skilled golfers, known for its 4th hole, which has the deepest bunker of all golf clubs within the Open championship.

While St Andrews isn’t the most technically challenging course, teeing off at the Home of Golf is as nerve-wracking as it gets.

Who won the British Open in 2021?

Debutant Collin Morikawa walked away with the prestigious Claret Jug in 2021 after beating fellow American Jordan Spieth, who choked the final hole at Royal St George’s Golf Club.

Morikawa has quickly made a name for himself in the world of golf, winning the PGA Championship on his debut and then The Open on his second major start – the first man in history to achieve such a feat. He came behind on both occasions to seal the win with two-stroke victories, respectively.

He also recorded the lowest ever score at The British Open, as his 15-under aggregate beat Greg Norman’s 1993 Championship record by two marks.

Morikawa went on to win the DP World Tour Championship in the same year, becoming the first American to win the season-long race to Dubai.

He’s currently ranked as World Number 2 behind Spaniard Jon Rahm and is set to return to The Open Championship in 2022.

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 2022?

Eventmasters are delighted to offer exclusive packages for the British Open in 2022. 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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