British Open

British Open

Summer (usually July)
The Britiash Open is the oldest and one of the most prestigious international golf championship tournaments in the world. It is officially the Open Championship of the British Isles, but in Great Britain it is known simply as the Open . It began in 1860 at the then 12-hole Prestwick course in Scotland and is now rotated among select golf courses in England and Scotland. Scot Willie Park won the first tournament, which is memorable for the tourney's highest single-hole stroke total—21.
Other notable years in the Open:
In 1901, Scot James Braid, who became one of Scotland's greatest golf heroes, won the first of five Open championships.
In 1907, Arnaud Massy of France was the first player from outside Great Britain to win.
In 1910, the Open's 50th anniversary was celebrated at St. Andrews (considered by many to be the premier golf course of the world) in a tempest of a rainstorm that put some of the greens under water.
In 1914, at Prestwick, the great triumvirate of golf, Braid and Englishmen John Henry Taylor and Harry Vardon, entered the match with each having five Open titles behind them. Vardon won with a final total round of 78.
In 1921, Bobby Jones (Robert Tyre Jones Jr.), the legendary golfer and lawyer from Atlanta, Ga., lost his temper at the par-three 11th hole at St. Andrews and shredded his scorecard while the gallery gaped.
In 1926, that same Bobby Jones won the cup; it was the first time in 29 years that an amateur had won.
In 1930, Jones won and went on to sweep the United States Open and the British Amateur and U.S. Amateur for golfing's Grand Slam, after which he retired. The feat hasn't been equaled. (Later, in 1958, Jones became the first American since Benjamin Franklin to receive the Freedom of the Burgh of St. Andrews.)
In 1973, Gene Sarazen, celebrating his 50th anniversary of play, shot a first-round hole-in-one on the par-three, 126-yard eighth hole (known as the Postage Stamp) at Royal Troon. In the second round, he deuced the hole.
In 1975, American Tom Watson won the first of five championships.
In 1977, Watson and fellow American Jack Nicklaus left the field behind them and dueled to a dramatic final round; Watson won by a stroke with a 72-hole total score of 268.
The Open has a special cachet for golfers since Scotland is considered, if not the birthplace of golf, the place where it developed into its present form played with ball, club, and hole. (At one time, pub doors were the target). The game may actually have originated in Holland, where they called it kolven, but golf in Scotland goes back before 1457. That year, Scottish King James II banned "fute-ball and golfe" because they interfered with his subjects' archery practice. The ban didn't take. Golf was confined pretty much to Scotland until 1603 when King James VI of Scotland also assumed the throne of England and brought golf there, even though many English sportsmen sniffily derided it as "Scottish croquet."
CONTACTS:
Royal and Ancient Golf Club
St. Andrews
Fife, Scotland KY16 9JD United Kingdom
44-13-3446-0000; fax: 44-13-3446-0001
www.randa.org
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