The Open Championship

The Open Championship, often referred to as The Open or the British Open, is the oldest golf tournament in the world, and one of the most prestigious. Founded in 1860, it was originally held annually at Prestwick Golf Club, Scotland, before evolving to being rotated between a select group of coastal links golf courses in the United Kingdom, under the authority of The R&A.

The Open Championship
Logo of The Open Championship.png
Tournament information
LocationUnited Kingdom, varies
Established17 October 1860 (1860-10-17)
160 years ago
148 editions
Course(s)Royal St George's Golf Club, England (in 2020)
Par70 (in 2020)
Length7,204 yd (6,587 m)
(in 2020)
Organized byThe R&A
Tour(s)European Tour
PGA Tour
Japan Golf Tour
FormatStroke play
Prize fund$10.75 million (in 2020)
Month playedJuly
Tournament record score
Aggregate264* Henrik Stenson (2016)
*equals record for all majors
To par−20* Henrik Stenson (2016)
*equals record for all majors
Current champion
Republic of Ireland Shane Lowry

The Open is one of the four major golf tournaments, the others being the Masters Tournament, the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open. Since the PGA Championship moved to May in 2019, the Open has been chronologically the fourth and final major tournament of the year. The tournament traditionally takes place over four days in summer, starting the day before the third Friday in July.

It is called the Open, because it is in theory "open" to all, i.e. professional and amateur golfers. In practice, the current event is a professional tournament in which a small number of the world's leading amateurs also play, by invitation or qualification. The success of the tournament has led to many other open golf tournaments to be introduced around the world.

The current champion is Shane Lowry, who won the 148th Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland with a score of 269. It was also held at Portrush in 1951, the first occasion that it had not been held in Scotland or England.


Early tournament years (1860–1870)Edit

Willie Park Sr., the first "Champion Golfer of the Year", wearing the Challenge Belt, the winner's prize at The Open until 1870

The first Open Championship was played on 17 October 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club in Ayrshire, Scotland, over three rounds of the twelve-hole links course.[1] In the mid-19th century golf was played mainly by well-off gentlemen, as hand-crafted clubs and balls were expensive. Professionals made a living from playing for bets, caddying, ball and club making, and instruction. Allan Robertson was the most famous of these pros, and was regarded as the undisputed best golfer between 1843 and his death in 1859.[2][1] James Ogilvie Fairlie of Prestwick Golf Club decided to form a competition in 1860, "to be played for by professional golfers",[3] and to decide who would succeed Robertson as the "Champion Golfer". Blackheath (England), Perth, Bruntsfield (Edinburgh), Musselburgh and St Andrews golf clubs were invited to send up to three of their best players known as a "respectable caddie" to represent each of the clubs.[4] The winner received the Challenge Belt, made from red leather with a silver buckle and worth £25, which came about thanks to being donated by the Earl of Eglinton, a man with a keen interest in medieval pageantry (belts were the type of trophy that might have been competed for in archery or jousting).[5][4]

The first rule of the new golf competition was "The party winning the belt shall always leave the belt with the treasurer of the club until he produces a guarantee to the satisfaction of the above committee that the belt shall be safely kept and laid on the table at the next meeting to compete for it until it becomes the property of the winner by being won three times in succession".[6] Eight golfers contested the event, with Willie Park, Sr. winning the championship by 2 shots from Old Tom Morris, and he was declared "The Champion Golfer of the Year".[7][1]

A year later, it became "open" to amateurs as well as professionals. Ten professionals and eight amateurs contested the event, with Old Tom Morris winning the championship by 4 shots from Willie Park, Sr.[8][1] A prize fund (£10) was introduced in 1863 split between 2nd, 3rd and 4th (the winner only received the Challenge Belt). From 1864 onwards a cash prize was also paid to the winner.[9][10] Before this the only financial incentive was scheduling Prestwick's own domestic tournament the same week, this allowed professionals to earn a few days' work caddying for the wealthier gentlemen.[11] Willie Park, Sr. went on to win two more tournaments, and Old Tom Morris three more, before Young Tom Morris won three consecutive titles between 1868 and 1870. The rules stated that he was allowed to keep the belt for achieving this feat. Because no trophy was available, the tournament was not held in 1871.[1]

The introduction of course rotation and the Claret Jug (1872–1889)Edit

On 11 September 1872 agreement was reached between Prestwick, the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club. They decided that each of the three clubs would contribute £10 towards the cost of a new trophy, which was to be a silver claret jug, known officially as The Golf Champion Trophy, and hosting of the Open would be rotated between the three clubs. These decisions were taken too late for the trophy to be presented to the 1872 Open champion, who was once again Young Tom Morris. Instead, he was awarded with a medal inscribed 'The Golf Champion Trophy', although he is the first to be engraved on the Claret Jug as the 1872 winner. Medals have been given to, and kept by the winner ever since.[6] Young Tom Morris died in 1875, aged 24.[12]

The tournament continued to be dominated and won by Scottish professionals, to be rotated between the three Scottish golf courses, and played over 36 holes in a single day until 1889.[13]

Harry Vardon, the record holding six-time winner of the Open, with five-time winner James Braid.

English hosts and winners, and the Great Triumvirate (1890–1914)Edit

In the 1890s, the tournament was won four times by three Englishman (two of whom were amateurs).[14] In 1892 the tournament was played for the first time at the newly built Muirfield, which replaced Musselburgh as the host venue used by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.[15] A few years later St George's[16] and Royal Liverpool[17] in England were added to the rotation. From 1892 the tournament was increased in duration to four 18-hole rounds over two days[15] (Prestwick had been extended to an 18-hole course by then[18]).

Between 1898 and 1925 the tournament either had a cut after 36 holes, or a qualifying event,[19] and the largest field was 226 in 1911.[20] The large field meant sometimes the tournament was spread across up to four days.[21] In 1907 Arnaud Massy from France became the first non-British winner.[22] Royal Cinque Ports in England became the 6th different Open host course in 1909.[23]

The pre-war period is most famous for the Great Triumvirate of Harry Vardon (Jersey), John Henry Taylor (England), and James Braid (Scotland). The trio combined to win The Open Championship 16 times in the 21 tournaments held between 1894 and 1914; Vardon won six times (a record that still stands today) with Braid and Taylor winning five apiece. In the five tournaments in this span the Triumvirate did not win, one or more of them finished runner-up. These rivalries enormously increased the public's interest in golf, but the first world war meant another Open was not held until 1920, and none of the trio won another Open.[24]

American success with Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones, and the last Open at Prestwick (1920–1939)Edit

In 1920 the Open returned, and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club became the sole organiser of the Open Championship. In 1926 they standardised the format of the tournament to spread over three days (18 holes on day 1 and 2, and 36 on day 3), and include both qualifying and a cut.[19]

In 1921 eleven U.S.-based players travelled to Scotland financed by a popular subscription called the "British Open Championship Fund", after a campaign by the American magazine Golf Illustrated.[25] Five of these players were actually British born, and had emigrated to America to take advantage of the high demand for club professionals as the popularity of golf grew.[26] A match was played between the Americans and a team of British professionals, which is seen as a forerunner of the Ryder Cup.[27] When the Open was held two weeks later, one of these visitors, Jock Hutchison, a naturalised American citizen, won in St Andrews, the town of his birth.[28]

In 1922 Walter Hagen won the first of his four Opens, and become the first American-born winner. The period between 1923 and 1933 saw an American-based player win every year (two were British-born), and included three wins by amateur Bobby Jones, and one by Gene Sarazen, who had already won top tournaments in the United States. English players won every year between 1934 and 1939, including two wins by Henry Cotton (he would go on to win a third in 1948).[1]

After overcrowding issues at the 1925 Open at Prestwick, it was decided it was no longer suitable for the growing size of the event, being too short, having too many blind shots, and it could not cope with the volume of spectators.[29] The Open's original venue was replaced on the rota with Carnoustie,[30] which hosted for the first time in 1931. Troon hosted for the first time in 1923,[31] and Royal Lytham & St Annes was also added, hosting for the first time in 1926.[32] Prince's hosted its one and only Open in 1932.[33]

Ben Hogan gets a ticker-tape parade on his return to New York City, after winning the 1953 Open Championship

Bobby Locke, Peter Thomson, and Ben Hogan's Triple Crown (1946–1958)Edit

The Open returned after the war to St Andrews, with a victory for American Sam Snead. Bobby Locke became the first South African winner, winning three times in four years between 1949 and 1952, and later winning a fourth title in 1957. Having already won the Masters and the U.S. Open earlier in the year, Ben Hogan won in his one and only Open appearance in 1953 to win the "Triple Crown".[1] His achievement was so well regarded he returned to New York City to a ticker-tape parade.[34] Peter Thomson became the first Australian winner, winning four times in five years between 1954 and 1958, and later winning a fifth title in 1965.[1] After flooding prevented Royal Cinque Ports from hosting, both in 1938 and 1949, it was removed from the rota.[35] The Open was played outside of England and Scotland for the first time in 1951 at Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland.[36]

The period saw fewer American entrants, as the PGA Tour had grown to be quite lucrative, and the PGA Championship was often played at the same or similar time paying triple the prize money.[37][38] A larger golf ball was also used in America, which meant they had to adjust for the Open.[39]

Player, Palmer, Nicklaus – The Big Three (1959–1974)Edit

In 1959, Gary Player, a young South African, won the first of his three Opens. Only four Americans had entered, but in 1960 Arnold Palmer travelled to Scotland after winning the Masters and U.S. Open, in an attempt to emulate Hogan's 1953 feat of winning all three tournaments in a single year. Although he finished second to Kel Nagle, he returned and won the Open in 1961 and 1962. Palmer was hugely popular in America, and his victories are likely to have been the first time many Americans would have seen the Open on television. This, along with the growth of trans-Atlantic jet travel, inspired many more Americans to travel in the future.[1]

The period is primarily defined by the competition between Player, Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus won three times (1966, 1970, 1978) and had a record seven runner-ups. American Lee Trevino also made his mark winning his two Opens back to back in 1971 and 1972.[1] The only British champion in this period was Tony Jacklin,[40] and it is also notable for having the first winner from Argentina, Roberto De Vicenzo.[41]

Greg Norman at Royal St George's in 1993, his second Open win.

Tom Watson, Ballesteros, Faldo, and Norman (1975–1993)Edit

By 1975, the concept of the modern majors had been firmly established, and the PGA Championship had been moved to August since 1969,[38] so no longer clashed with the Open. This meant the Open had a feel similar to the current tournament, with the leaders after 36 holes going off last (1957 onwards),[42] all players having to use the "bigger ball" (1974 onwards),[43][44][45] play spread over four days (1966 onwards, although the days were Wednesday to Saturday until 1980),[46][47] and a field containing all the world's best players.

American Tom Watson won in 1975. Turnberry hosted for the first time in 1977, and Watson won the Open for the second time, after one of the most celebrated contests in golf history, when his duel with Jack Nicklaus went to the final shot before Watson emerged as the champion. He would go on to win again in 1980, 1982 and 1983, to win 5 times overall,[1] a record only bettered by Harry Vardon, and he became regarded as one of the greatest links golf players of all time.[48]

In 1976, 19-year-old Spaniard Seve Ballesteros gained attention in the golfing world when he finished second.[49] He would go on to win three Opens (1979, 1984, 1988), and was the first continental European to win since Arnaud Massy in 1907. Other multiple winners in this period were Englishman Nick Faldo with three (1987, 1990, 1992), and Australian Greg Norman with two (1986, 1993).[1]

Tiger Woods won the Open twice at St Andrews.

Tiger Woods and the modern era (1994 onwards)Edit

Every year between 1994 and 2004 had a first-time winner.[50] In 1999, the Open at Carnoustie was famously difficult, and Frenchman Jean van de Velde had a three-shot lead teeing off on the final hole. He ended up triple bogeying after finding the Barry Burn, and Scotman Paul Lawrie, ranked 241st in the world, ended up winning in a playoff. He was 10 strokes behind the leader going into the final round, a record for all majors.[51] He was not the only unheralded champion during this span, as 396th-ranked Ben Curtis[52] and 56th-ranked Todd Hamilton[53] won in 2003 and 2004, respectively.

In 2000, Tiger Woods, having just won the U.S. Open, became champion by a post-war record 8 strokes[54] to become the youngest player to win the career Grand Slam at age 24.[1] After winning the 2002 Masters and U.S. Open, he became the latest American to try to emulate Ben Hogan and win the Open in the same year. His bid came to a halt on Saturday with the worst round of his career up to that time, an 81 (+10) in cold, gusty rain.[55] He went on to win again back-to-back in 2005 and 2006 to bring his total to three wins. Other multiple winners in this era are South African Ernie Els (2002, 2012) and Irishman Pádraig Harrington (2007, 2008).[1][50]

In 2009, 59-year-old Tom Watson led the tournament through 71 holes and needed just a par on the last hole to become the oldest ever winner of a major championship, and also match Harry Vardon's six Opens. Watson bogeyed, setting up a four-hole playoff, which he lost to Stewart Cink.[56] In 2015, Jordan Spieth became another American to arrive having already won the year's Masters and U.S. Open tournaments. He finished tied for fourth as Zach Johnson became champion.[57] Spieth would go on to win the 2017 Open at Royal Birkdale.[50]

American Phil Mickelson won his first Open, and fifth major, in 2013.[50] In 2016, he was involved in an epic duel with Sweden's Henrik Stenson, which many people compared to the 1977 Duel in the Sun between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. Stenson emerged the winner, and the first Scandinavian winner of a male professional major championship, with a record Open (and major) score of 264 (−20), three shots ahead of Mickelson, and 14 shots ahead of third place. Jack Nicklaus shared his thoughts on the final round, saying: "Phil Mickelson played one of the best rounds I have ever seen played in the Open and Henrik Stenson just played better—he played one of the greatest rounds I have ever seen".[58][59]

Francesco Molinari won the 2018 Open at Carnoustie by two shots, to become the first Italian major winner.[60] Shane Lowry won the 2019 Open when the tournament returned to Royal Portrush Golf Club, to become the second champion from the Republic of Ireland.[61]

In 2020, the Open Championship was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first time the championship had been cancelled since World War II. The R&A also confirmed that Royal St George's, which would have hosted the championship in 2020, would be the host venue in 2021, effectively retaining the Old Course at St Andrews as the venue for the 150th Open.[62]


The Open is played in a coastal location, such as Royal Portrush (pictured)

Links golf courseEdit

The Open is always played on a coastal links golf course. Links golf is often described as the "purest" form of golf and keeps a connection with the way the game originated in Scotland in the 15th century. The terrain is open without any trees, and will generally be undulating with a sandy base. The golf courses are often primarily shaped by nature, rather than 'built'. Weather, particularly wind, plays an important role, and although there will be a prevailing onshore breeze, changes in the wind direction and strength over the course of the tournament can mean each round of golf has to be played slightly differently. The courses are also famous for deep pot bunkers, and gorse bushes that make up the "rough". A golfer playing on a links course will often adapt his game so the flight of the ball is lower and so is less impacted by the wind, but this will make distance control more difficult. Also due to the windy conditions the speed of the greens are often slower than a golfer might be used to on the PGA Tour, to avoid the ball being moved by a gust.[63][64]

The Swilken Bridge with St Andrews clubhouse in the background

Old Course at St AndrewsEdit

The Old Course at St Andrews is regarded as the oldest golf course in the world, and winning the Open there is often regarded as one of the pinnacles of golf.[65] Given the special status of the Old Course, the Open is generally played there once every five years in the modern era, much more frequently than the other courses used for the Open.[66] Previous champions will often choose St Andrews as their final Open tournament. It has become traditional to come down the 18th fairway to huge applause from the amphitheatre crowds, and to pose for final pictures on the Swilken Bridge with the picturesque clubhouse and town in the background.[67]

Trophy presentationEdit

The Open trophy is the Claret Jug, which has been presented to the champion since 1873. The original trophy permanently resides on display in the R&A's Clubhouse at St Andrews. Therefore, the trophy that is presented at each Open is a replica which is retained by the winner for a year. The trophy always has the winner's name already engraved on it when presented, which often results in television commentators speculating as to when it is safe for the engraver to start.[68] The winner of the Open is announced as "The Champion Golfer of the Year", a title which has been used since the first Open in 1860. He will nearly always pose for photos with the trophy sitting on one of the distinctive pot bunkers.[69]


The first event was held as an invitational tournament, but the next year Prestwick Golf Club declared that "the belt... on all future occasions, shall be open to all the world".[70] In its early years it was often referred to as The Championship but with the advent of the Amateur Championship in 1885, it became more common to refer to it as The Open Championship or simply The Open. The tournament inspired other national bodies to introduce open golf tournaments of their own, such as the U.S. Open, and later many others.[71] To distinguish it from their own national open, it became common in many countries to refer to the tournament as the "British Open". The R&A (the tournament's organiser) continued to refer to it as The Open Championship. During the interwar years, a period with many U.S.-based winners, the term British Open would occasionally be used during the trophy presentation and in British newspapers.[72][73]

In 2017, a representative of the R&A openly stated that it is a priority to "eradicate the term British Open" and have a single identity and brand of "The Open" in all countries.[74] Tournament partners, such as the PGA Tour, now refer to it without "British" in the title,[75] media rightsholders are contractually required to refer to the event as The Open Championship,[74] and the official website has released a statement titled "Why it's called 'The Open' and not the 'British Open'" stating that "The Open is the correct name for the Championship. It is also the most appropriate".[71] The R&A's stance has attracted criticism from some commentators.[74][76][77]

The R&A also run The Senior Open, the over 50s equivalent of the Open, which was officially known as the "Senior British Open" from its inception in 1987 until 2007, when "British" was dropped from the name.[78] The Women's Open, seen by some as the women's equivalent to the Open (although unlike the Open it is not always held on a links course, and was not run by the R&A until 2017) was officially known as the "Women's British Open" from its inception in 1976 until 2020, when the word "British" was dropped from the name as part of a sponsorship deal with AIG.[79]


The Open is recognised as one of the four major championships in golf, and is an official event on the PGA Tour, European Tour, and the Japan Golf Tour.

The Open began in 1860, and for many years it was not the most-followed event in golf, as challenge matches between top golfers were more keenly followed and drew larger crowds.[80] The Great Triumvirate dominated the Open between 1894 and 1914 and were primarily responsible for the formation of the PGA in 1901 which had a big impact in promoting interest in professional golf (and therefore The Open) and increasing playing standards.[81] Between the World Wars, the first wins by Americans were widely celebrated when they broke the dominance previously held by British players.[82] After World War II, although the profile of the tournament remained high in the UK and Commonwealth countries, the low prize money compared the US events and the cost of travel meant fewer Americans participated. High-profile visits and wins by Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer, the growth of cheaper and faster transatlantic flights, and the introduction of television coverage recovered its prestige.[1] When the modern concept of the majors was cemented, the Open was included as one of the four events.

The Open is now one of the four majors in golf, along with the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, and Masters Tournament. The term "major" is a universally-acknowledged unofficial term used by players, the media, and golf followers to define the most important tournaments, and performance in them is often used to define the careers of the best golfers.[83] There is often discussion amongst the golfing community as to whether the Open, U.S. Open, or the Masters Tournament is the most prestigious major, but opinion varies (often linked to nationality). The PGA Championship is usually seen as the least prestigious of the four.[84][85]

In terms of official recognition, the tournament has been an event on the European Tour since its formation in 1972. The PGA Tour added it as its first official event outside of the United States and Canada in 1995, in addition all previous PGA Tour seasons have been retroactively adjusted to include the Open in official money and win statistics. Currently the Open, along with the other three majors and The Players Championship, are the top-tier tournaments in the FedEx cup, offering more points than any other non-playoff event. The Open is also an official event on the Japan Golf Tour.[86]



Qualifying was introduced in 1907, and for much of its history, all players had to go through the qualification process. In the modern era, the majority of players get an exemption from qualification which is awarded for previous performance in the Open, performance in high-profile global tournaments (such as other majors), performance in top golf tours, or a high position in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). Five amateurs are also exempt from qualifying by winning various global amateur titles provided they maintain their amateur status prior to The Open.[87]

Another way of qualifying is to finish in a high position in the Open Qualifying Series of global events, which are about twelve tour events across the globe, run by various local golfing organisations.[88]

Any male professional golfer, male amateur golfer whose playing handicap does not exceed 0.4 (i.e. scratch) or has been within World Amateur Golf Ranking listing 1–2,000 during the current calendar year, and any female golfer who finished in the top 5 and ties in the latest edition of any of the five women's majors is eligible to enter local qualifying. If they perform well they will go on to Final Qualifying, which is four simultaneous 36-hole one-day events held across the UK, with 12 players qualifying for the Open.[88] If there are any spots left, then alternates are made up from the highest ranked players in the OWGR who are not already qualified, which brings the total field up to 156 players.[89]

In 2018, the OWGR gave the Open a strength of field rating of 902 (the maximum possible is 1000 if the top 200 players in the world were all in a tournament). This was only bettered by the PGA Championship, a tournament which actively targets a high strength of field rating.[90][91]


Field: 156 players[92]

Basic Format: 72 hole stroke play. Play 18 holes a day over four days, weather permitting.[92]

Date of Tournament: Starts on the day before the third Friday in July.[93]

Tournament Days: Thursday to Sunday.[92]

Tee off times: Each player has one morning and one afternoon tee time in first two days in groups of three, which are mostly randomised (with some organiser discretion). Groupings of two on the last two days with last place going off first and leaders going out last.[94]

Cut: After 36 holes, only top 70 and ties play the final 36 holes.[92]

Playoff: If there is a tie for the lead after 72 holes, a three-hole aggregate playoff is held; followed by sudden death if the lead is still tied.[92]


Up until 2016, the purse was always stated, and paid, in pounds sterling (£), but was changed in 2017 to US dollars ($) in recognition of the fact that it is the most widely adopted currency for prize money in golf.[95]

Champion's prizes and benefitsEdit

Henry Cotton holding the Claret Jug after winning the 1937 Open
Young Tom Morris got to keep the original trophy, the championship belt, after winning three consecutive Opens.

The champion receives trophies, the winner's prize money, and several exemptions from world golf tours and tournaments. He is also likely to receive a winner's bonus from his sponsors.[96] The prizes and privileges on offer for the champion included:

From 1860 to 1870, the winner received the challenge belt. When this was awarded to Young Tom Morris permanently for winning three consecutive tournaments, it was replaced by the gold medal (1872 onwards), and the claret jug (1873 onwards).[98]

Other prizes and benefits, based upon finishing positionEdit

There are several benefits from being placed highly in the Open. These are:

  • The runners up each receive a silver salver.[108]
  • If the player is a professional, then a share of the purse. There is a distribution curve for those who make the cut, with 1st place getting 18%, 2nd 10.4%, 3rd 6.7%, 4th 5.2%, and 5th 4.2%. The percentage continues to fall by placing with 21st getting 1% and 37th 0.5%. Professionals who miss the cut received between US$7,375 and US$4,950.[99]
  • The top 10 players, including ties, get entry to the next edition of The Open Championship.[100]
  • The top 4 players, including ties, get entry to the next edition of the Masters Tournament.[109]
  • FedEx Cup, Race to Dubai, Ryder Cup/Presidents Cup, and Official World Golf Ranking points.[97]

Amateur medalsEdit

Since 1949 the leading amateur completing the final round receives a silver medal. Since 1972, any other amateur who competes in the final round receives a bronze medal.[98] Amateurs do not receive prize money.[110]

Professional Golfers' Association (of Great Britain and Ireland) awardsEdit

The Professional Golfers' Association (of Great Britain and Ireland) also mark the achievements of their own members in The Open.

  • Ryle Memorial Medal – awarded since 1901 to the winner if he is a PGA member.[111]
  • Braid Taylor Memorial Medal – awarded since 1966 to the highest finishing PGA member.[112]
  • Tooting Bec Cup – awarded since 1924 to the PGA member who records the lowest single round during the championship.[113]

The Braid Taylor Memorial Medal and the Tooting Bec Cup are restricted to members born in, or with a parent or parents born in, the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland.[97]


The Open Championship has always been held on a coastal links golf course in Scotland, England or Northern Ireland. The hosting pattern has been:[66]

  • 1860–1870: Prestwick Golf Club the sole host.
  • 1872–1892: Three year rotation between Prestwick, St Andrews, and Musselburgh (replaced by Muirfield in 1892) golf clubs.
  • 1893–1907: Five year rotation between Prestwick, Royal St George's, St Andrews, Muirfield, and Royal Liverpool Golf Clubs.[114][115]
  • 1908–1939: Six year rotation, initially between Prestwick, Royal Cinque Ports, St Andrews, Royal St George's, Muirfield, and Royal Liverpool Golf Clubs, so alternating between Scotland and England.[116][117] A few changes were made to the rota of 6 courses after World War I.
  • 1946–1972: Alternating between Scottish and English golf clubs continues, but without a fixed rota. Exceptions were St Andrews hosting pre- and post-World War II, and Northern Ireland hosting in 1951.
  • Since 1973: Usually three Scottish and two English courses hosting in a five-year period, mostly alternating between the two countries, with St Andrews hosting about every five years. Northern Ireland returned in 2019.[118]


A total of 14 courses have hosted the Open, with ten currently active as part of the rotation, and four have been retired from the rotation (shown in italics). The year the golf course was originally built is shown in parenthesis.

Prestwick Golf Club (1851):[119] Prestwick is The Open's original venue, and hosted 24 Opens in all, including the first 12.[66] Old Tom Morris designed the original 12 hole course,[119] but it was subsequently redesigned and expanded to be an 18-hole course in 1882.[120] Serious overcrowding problems at Prestwick in 1925 meant that the course was never again used for the Open, and was replaced by Carnoustie Golf Links as the third Scottish course.[29][30]

Old Course at St Andrews (1552):[121] Considered the oldest golf course in the world, and referred to as "the home of golf". Famous features include the "Hell Bunker" (14th) and the Road Hole (17th).[122] Due to its special status it usually hosts the open every five years in the modern era.[66] It is designed to be played in wind, so can result in low scores in benign conditions.[123]

Musselburgh Links (c1672):[121] A 9-hole course that hosted six Opens as it was used by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, one of the organisers of The Open between 1872 and 1920. When the Honourable Company built their own course in 1891 (Muirfield), it took over hosting duties.[124] Musselburgh was unhappy with this and organised another rival 'Open' competition prior to the Muirfield event, one with greater prize money.[125]

Muirfield (1891): Built by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers to replace Musselburgh on the rota. Known for the circular arrangement the course has, which means the wind direction on each hole changes, and can make it tricky to navigate.[126] Briefly removed from the rota in 2016–17 due to not having any female members.[127][128]

Royal St George's Golf Club (1887):[129] The first venue to host in England, and the only venue on the current rota in Southern England. It went 32 years without hosting between 1949 and 1981, but returned following the rebuilding of three holes, tee changes to another two holes, and improved road links.[130] Known for having the deepest bunker on the rota (4th hole).[131]

Royal Liverpool Golf Club (1869):[132] Often simply referred to as Hoylake. Royal Liverpool went 39 years without hosting between 1967 and 2006,[66] but returned following changes to tees, bunkers, and greens.[132] In 2006, Tiger Woods won by using his driver just once.[133]

Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club (1892):[134] Hosted the 1909 and 1920 Opens, and was scheduled to host in 1938 and 1949 but both had to be moved to Royal St George's Golf Club due to abnormally high tides flooding the course. It was removed from the rota but is still used for qualifying.[135][136][137][138][139]

Royal Troon Golf Club (1878):[140] First used in 1923 instead of Muirfield when "some doubts exists as to the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers being desirous of their course being used for the event".[141] Redesigned, lengthened, and strengthened by James Braid shortly before it held its first Open. Famous features include the "Postage Stamp" 8th hole, and the 601 yards 6th.[140]

Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club (1886):[142] A relatively short course, but has 167 bunkers which demand accuracy.[143] Slightly inland as some coastal homes have been built since the course first opened.[142]

Carnoustie Golf Links (1835):[121] Replaced Prestwick after it was no longer suitable for the Open.[30] It went through modifications prior to the 1999 Open. Thought of as being the toughest of the Open venues, especially the last three holes, and is well remembered for Jean van de Velde triple bogeying on the 18th when he only needed a double bogey to win.[51]

Turnberry Lighthouse at sunset surrounded by the golf course.

Prince's Golf Club (1906): Only hosted once in 1932. Has been redesigned in 1950 due to war damage.[144]

Royal Portrush Golf Club (1888):[145] The only venue to host the Open outside England and Scotland when it hosted in 1951. With the Troubles in Northern Ireland significantly diminished since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, and after the successful hosting of the Irish Open it returned as host in 2019. The course underwent significant changes before the 2019 Open, including replacing the 17th and 18th holes, which also provided the space for spectators and corporate hospitality that a modern major requires.[118]

Royal Birkdale Golf Club (1894): Extensively redesigned by Fred Hawtree and JH Taylor to create the current layout in 1922, it is known for its sand dunes towering the fairways. Often ranked as England's best Open venue.[146][147][148]

Turnberry (1906): Made its Open debut in 1977, when Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus famously played the Duel in the Sun. Known to be one of the most picturesque Open venues, it was bought by Donald Trump in 2014, who has spent substantial amounts renovating the course.[149] It is rumoured that some R&A members are reluctant to let Turnberry host while under the current ownership.[150]

Former Open Championship venues which are no longer part of the rotation.

Hosting record of each courseEdit

Course No. Years hosted
Prestwick 24 1860, 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1872, 1875, 1878, 1881, 1884, 1887, 1890, 1893, 1898, 1903, 1908, 1914, 1925
St Andrews 29 1873, 1876, 1879, 1882, 1885, 1888, 1891, 1895, 1900, 1905, 1910, 1921, 1927, 1933, 1939, 1946, 1955, 1957, 1960, 1964, 1970, 1978, 1984, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, 2022
Musselburgh 6 1874, 1877, 1880, 1883, 1886, 1889
Muirfield 16 1892, 1896, 1901, 1906, 1912, 1929, 1935, 1948, 1959, 1966, 1972, 1980, 1987, 1992, 2002, 2013
Royal Troon 9 1923, 1950, 1962, 1973, 1982, 1989, 1997, 2004, 2016, 2024
Carnoustie 8 1931, 1937, 1953, 1968, 1975, 1999, 2007, 2018
Turnberry 4 1977, 1986, 1994, 2009
Scotland 96
Royal St George's 14 1894, 1899, 1904, 1911, 1922, 1928, 1934, 1938, 1949, 1981, 1985, 1993, 2003, 2011, 2021
Royal Liverpool 12 1897, 1902, 1907, 1913, 1924, 1930, 1936, 1947, 1956, 1967, 2006, 2014, 2023
Royal Cinque Ports 2 1909, 1920
Royal Lytham & St Annes 11 1926, 1952, 1958, 1963, 1969, 1974, 1979, 1988, 1996, 2001, 2012
Prince's 1 1932
Royal Birkdale 10 1954, 1961, 1965, 1971, 1976, 1983, 1991, 1998, 2008, 2017
England 50
Royal Portrush 2 1951, 2019
Northern Ireland 2


Future venuesEdit

Year Edition Course Town County Country Dates Last hosted Ref
2021 149th Royal St George's Golf Club Sandwich Kent England 15–18 July 2011 [151]
2022 150th Old Course at St Andrews St Andrews Fife Scotland 14–17 July 2015 [152]
2023 151st Royal Liverpool Golf Club Hoylake Merseyside England 20–23 July 2014 [153]
2024 152nd Royal Troon Golf Club Troon South Ayrshire Scotland 25–28 July 2016 [154]



Nationalities assigned below match those used in the official Open records

# Year Dates
Champion Country Venue Score To
Runner(s)-up Purse Winner's
The Open Championship US$
2020 16–19 Jul Championship cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic[157]
148th 2019 18–21 Jul Shane Lowry   Ireland Royal Portrush 269 −15 6 strokes   Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 10,750,000 1,935,000
147th 2018 19–22 Jul Francesco Molinari   Italy Carnoustie 276 −8 2 strokes   Kevin Kisner (USA)
  Rory McIlroy (NIR)
  Justin Rose (ENG)
  Xander Schauffele (USA)
10,500,000 1,890,000
146th 2017 20–23 Jul Jordan Spieth   United States Royal Birkdale 268 −12 3 strokes   Matt Kuchar (USA) 10,250,000
Before 2017 the prize fund was always stated, and paid, in pound sterling (£) GBP£
145th 2016 14–17 Jul Henrik Stenson   Sweden Royal Troon 264 −20 3 strokes   Phil Mickelson (USA) 6,500,000 1,175,000
144th 2015 16–20 Jul Zach Johnson   United States St Andrews 273 −15 Playoff   Marc Leishman (AUS)
  Louis Oosthuizen (ZAF)
6,300,000 1,150,000
143rd 2014 17–20 Jul Rory McIlroy   Northern Ireland Royal Liverpool 271 −17 2 strokes   Rickie Fowler (USA)
  Sergio García (ESP)
5,400,000 975,000
142nd 2013 18–21 Jul Phil Mickelson   United States Muirfield 281 −3 3 strokes   Henrik Stenson (SWE) 5,250,000 945,000
141st 2012 19–22 Jul Ernie Els (2)   South Africa Royal Lytham
& St Annes
273 −7 1 stroke   Adam Scott (AUS) 5,000,000 900,000
140th 2011 14–17 Jul Darren Clarke   Northern Ireland Royal St George's 275 −5 3 strokes   Dustin Johnson (USA)
  Phil Mickelson (USA)
5,000,000 900,000
139th 2010 15–18 Jul Louis Oosthuizen   South Africa St Andrews 272 −16 7 strokes   Lee Westwood (ENG) 4,800,000 850,000
138th 2009 16–19 Jul Stewart Cink   United States Turnberry 278 −2 Playoff   Tom Watson (USA) 4,200,000 750,000
137th 2008 17–20 Jul Pádraig Harrington (2)   Ireland Royal Birkdale 283 +3 4 strokes   Ian Poulter (ENG) 4,200,000 750,000
136th 2007 19–22 Jul Pádraig Harrington   Ireland Carnoustie 277 −7 Playoff   Sergio García (ESP) 4,200,000 750,000
135th 2006 20–23 Jul Tiger Woods (3)   United States Royal Liverpool 270 −18 2 strokes   Chris DiMarco (USA) 4,000,000 720,000
134th 2005 14–17 Jul Tiger Woods (2)   United States St Andrews 274 −14 5 strokes   Colin Montgomerie (SCO) 4,000,000 720,000
133rd 2004 15–18 Jul Todd Hamilton   United States Royal Troon 274 −10 Playoff   Ernie Els (ZAF) 4,000,000 720,000
132nd 2003 17–20 Jul Ben Curtis   United States Royal St George's 283 −1 1 stroke   Thomas Bjørn (DNK)
  Vijay Singh (FJI)
3,900,000 700,000
131st 2002 18–21 Jul Ernie Els   South Africa Muirfield 278 −6 Playoff   Stuart Appleby (AUS)
  Steve Elkington (AUS)
  Thomas Levet (FRA)
3,800,000 700,000
130th 2001 19–22 Jul David Duval   United States Royal Lytham
& St Annes
274 −10 3 strokes   Niclas Fasth (SWE) 3,300,000 600,000
129th 2000 20–23 Jul Tiger Woods   United States St Andrews 269 −19 8 strokes   Thomas Bjørn (DNK)
  Ernie Els (ZAF)
2,750,000 500,000
128th 1999 15–18 Jul Paul Lawrie   Scotland Carnoustie 290 +6 Playoff   Justin Leonard (USA)
  Jean van de Velde (FRA)
2,000,000 350,000
127th 1998 16–19 Jul Mark O'Meara   United States Royal Birkdale 280 E Playoff   Brian Watts (USA) 1,800,000 300,000
126th 1997 17–20 Jul Justin Leonard   United States Royal Troon 272 −12 3 strokes   Darren Clarke (NIR)
  Jesper Parnevik (SWE)
1,600,000 250,000
125th 1996 18–21 Jul Tom Lehman   United States Royal Lytham
& St Annes
271 −13 2 strokes   Ernie Els (ZAF)
  Mark McCumber (USA)
1,400,000 200,000
124th 1995 20–23 Jul John Daly   United States St Andrews 282 −6 Playoff   Costantino Rocca (ITA) 1,125,000 125,000
123rd 1994 14–17 Jul Nick Price   Zimbabwe Turnberry 268 −12 1 stroke   Jesper Parnevik (SWE) 1,100,000 110,000
122nd 1993 15–18 Jul Greg Norman (2)   Australia Royal St George's 267 −13 2 strokes   Nick Faldo (ENG) 1,000,000 100,000
121st 1992 16–19 Jul Nick Faldo (3)   England Muirfield 272 −12 1 stroke   John Cook (USA) 950,000 95,000
120th 1991 18–21 Jul Ian Baker-Finch   Australia Royal Birkdale 272 −8 2 strokes   Mike Harwood (AUS) 900,000 90,000
119th 1990 19–22 Jul Nick Faldo (2)   England St Andrews 270 −18 5 strokes   Mark McNulty (ZWE)
  Payne Stewart (USA)
825,000 85,000
118th 1989 20–23 Jul Mark Calcavecchia   United States Royal Troon 275 −13 Playoff   Wayne Grady (AUS)
  Greg Norman (AUS)
750,000 80,000
117th 1988 14–18 Jul Seve Ballesteros (3)   Spain Royal Lytham
& St Annes
273 −11 2 strokes   Nick Price (ZWE) 700,000 80,000
116th 1987 16–19 Jul Nick Faldo   England Muirfield 279 −5 1 stroke   Paul Azinger (USA)
  Rodger Davis (AUS)
650,000 75,000
115th 1986 17–20 Jul Greg Norman   Australia Turnberry 280 E 5 strokes   Gordon J. Brand (ENG) 600,000 70,000
114th 1985 18–21 Jul Sandy Lyle   Scotland Royal St George's 282 +2 1 stroke   Payne Stewart (USA) 530,000 65,000
113th 1984 19–22 Jul Seve Ballesteros (2)   Spain St Andrews 276 −12 2 strokes   Bernhard Langer (FRG)
  Tom Watson (USA)
451,000 55,000
112th 1983 14–17 Jul Tom Watson (5)   United States Royal Birkdale 275 −9 1 stroke   Andy Bean (USA)
  Hale Irwin (USA)
310,000 40,000
111th 1982 15–18 Jul Tom Watson (4)   United States Royal Troon 284 −4 1 stroke   Peter Oosterhuis (ENG)
  Nick Price (ZWE)
250,000 32,000
110th 1981 16–19 Jul Bill Rogers   United States Royal St George's 276 −4 4 strokes   Bernhard Langer (FRG) 200,000 25,000
109th 1980 17–20 Jul Tom Watson (3)   United States Muirfield 271 −13 4 strokes   Lee Trevino (USA) 200,000 25,000
108th 1979 18–21 Jul Seve Ballesteros   Spain Royal Lytham
& St Annes
283 −1 3 strokes   Ben Crenshaw (USA)
  Jack Nicklaus (USA)
155,000 15,000
107th 1978 12–15 Jul Jack Nicklaus (3)   United States St Andrews 281 −7 2 strokes   Ben Crenshaw (USA)
  Raymond Floyd (USA)
  Tom Kite (USA)
  Simon Owen (NZL)
125,000 12,500
106th 1977 6–9 Jul Tom Watson (2)   United States Turnberry 268 −12 1 stroke   Jack Nicklaus (USA) 100,000 10,000
105th 1976 7–10 Jul Johnny Miller   United States Royal Birkdale 279 −9 6 strokes   Seve Ballesteros (ESP)
  Jack Nicklaus (USA)
75,000 7,500
104th 1975 9–13 Jul Tom Watson   United States Carnoustie 279 −9 Playoff   Jack Newton (AUS) 75,000 7,500
103rd 1974 10–13 Jul Gary Player (3)   South Africa Royal Lytham
& St Annes
282 −2 4 strokes   Peter Oosterhuis (ENG) 50,000 5,500
102nd 1973 11–14 Jul Tom Weiskopf   United States Troon 276 −12 3 strokes   Neil Coles (ENG)
  Johnny Miller (USA)
50,000 5,500
101st 1972 12–15 Jul Lee Trevino (2)   United States Muirfield 278 −6 1 stroke   Jack Nicklaus (USA) 50,000 5,500
100th 1971 7–10 Jul Lee Trevino   United States Royal Birkdale 278 −14 1 stroke   Lu Liang-Huan (TWN) 45,000 5,500
99th 1970 8–12 Jul Jack Nicklaus (2)   United States St Andrews 283 −5 Playoff   Doug Sanders (USA) 40,000 5,250
98th 1969 9–12 Jul Tony Jacklin   England Royal Lytham
& St Annes
280 −4 2 strokes   Bob Charles (NZL) 30,000 4,250
97th 1968 10–13 Jul Gary Player (2)   South Africa Carnoustie 289 +1 2 strokes   Bob Charles (NZL)
  Jack Nicklaus (USA)
20,000 3,000
96th 1967 12–15 Jul Roberto De Vicenzo   Argentina Royal Liverpool 278 −10 2 strokes   Jack Nicklaus (USA) 15,000 2,100
95th 1966 6–9 Jul Jack Nicklaus   United States Muirfield 282 −2 1 stroke   Doug Sanders (USA)
  Dave Thomas (WAL)
15,000 2,100
94th 1965 7–9 Jul Peter Thomson (5)   Australia Royal Birkdale 285 −7 2 strokes   Brian Huggett (WAL)
  Christy O'Connor Snr (IRL)
10,000 1,750
93rd 1964 8–10 Jul Tony Lema   United States St Andrews 279 −9 5 strokes   Jack Nicklaus (USA) 8,500 1,500
92nd 1963 10–13 Jul Bob Charles   New Zealand Royal Lytham
& St Annes
277 −3 Playoff   Phil Rodgers (USA) 8,500 1,500
91st 1962 11–13 Jul Arnold Palmer (2)   United States Troon 276 −12 6 strokes   Kel Nagle (AUS) 8,500 1,400
90th 1961 12–15 Jul Arnold Palmer   United States Royal Birkdale 284 −4 1 stroke   Dai Rees (WAL) 8,500 1,400
89th 1960 6–9 Jul Kel Nagle   Australia St Andrews 278 −10 1 stroke   Arnold Palmer (USA) 7,000 1,250
88th 1959 1–3 Jul Gary Player   South Africa Muirfield 284 −4 2 strokes   Fred Bullock (ENG)
  Flory Van Donck (BEL)
5,000 1,000
87th 1958 2–5 Jul Peter Thomson (4)   Australia Royal Lytham
& St Annes
278 −6 Playoff   Dave Thomas (WAL) 4,850 1,000
86th 1957 3–5 Jul Bobby Locke (4)   South Africa St Andrews 279 −9 3 strokes   Peter Thomson (AUS) 3,750 1,000
85th 1956 4–6 Jul Peter Thomson (3)   Australia Royal Liverpool 286 +2 3 strokes   Flory Van Donck (BEL) 3,750 1,000
84th 1955 6–8 Jul Peter Thomson (2)   Australia St Andrews 281 −7 2 strokes   John Fallon (SCO) 3,750 1,000
83rd 1954 7–9 Jul Peter Thomson   Australia Royal Birkdale 283 −9 1 stroke   Bobby Locke (ZAF)
  Dai Rees (WAL)
  Syd Scott (ENG)
3,500 750
82nd 1953 8–10 Jul Ben Hogan   United States Carnoustie 282 −6 4 strokes   Antonio Cerdá (ARG)
  Dai Rees (WAL)
  Frank Stranahan (a(USA)
  Peter Thomson (AUS)
2,500 500
81st 1952 9–11 Jul Bobby Locke (3)   South Africa Royal Lytham
& St Annes
287 −1 1 stroke   Peter Thomson (AUS) 1,700 300
80th 1951 4–6 Jul Max Faulkner   England Royal Portrush 285 −3 2 strokes   Antonio Cerdá (ARG) 1,700 300
79th 1950 5–7 Jul Bobby Locke (2)   South Africa Troon 279 −1 2 strokes   Roberto de Vicenzo (ARG) 1,500 300
78th 1949 6–9 Jul Bobby Locke   South Africa Royal St George's 283 −5 Playoff   Harry Bradshaw (IRL) 1,500 300
77th 1948 30 Jun
– 2 Jul
Henry Cotton (3)   England Muirfield 284 E 5 strokes   Fred Daly (NIR) 1,000 150
76th 1947 2–4 Jul Fred Daly   Northern Ireland Royal Liverpool 293 +21 1 stroke   Reg Horne (ENG)
  Frank Stranahan (a(USA)
1,000 150
75th 1946 3–5 Jul Sam Snead   United States St Andrews 290 −2 4 strokes   Johnny Bulla (USA)
  Bobby Locke (ZAF)
1,000 150
1940–1945: No Championships because of World War II
74th 1939 5–7 Jul Dick Burton   England St Andrews 290 −2 2 strokes   Johnny Bulla (USA) 500 100
73rd 1938 6–8 Jul Reg Whitcombe   England Royal St George's 295 +15 2 strokes   Jimmy Adams (SCO) 500 100
72nd 1937 7–9 Jul Henry Cotton (2)   England Carnoustie 290 +2 2 strokes   Reg Whitcombe (ENG) 500 100
71st 1936 25–27 Jun Alf Padgham   England Royal Liverpool 287 1 stroke   Jimmy Adams (SCO) 500 100
70th 1935 26–28 Jun Alf Perry   England Muirfield 283 4 strokes   Alf Padgham (ENG) 500 100
69th 1934 27–29 Jun Henry Cotton   England Royal St George's 283 5 strokes   Sid Brews (ZAF) 500 100
68th 1933 5–8 Jul Denny Shute   United States St Andrews 292 Playoff   Craig Wood (USA) 500 100
67th 1932 8–10 Jun Gene Sarazen   United States Prince's 283 5 strokes   Macdonald Smith (USA)[b] 500 100
66th 1931 3–5 Jun Tommy Armour   United States[c] Carnoustie 296 1 stroke   José Jurado (ARG) 500 100
65th 1930 18–20 Jun Bobby Jones (a) (3)   United States Royal Liverpool 291 2 strokes   Leo Diegel (USA)
  Macdonald Smith (USA)[b]
400 100[d]
64th 1929 8–10 May Walter Hagen (4)   United States Muirfield 292 6 strokes   Johnny Farrell (USA) 275 75
63rd 1928 9–11 May Walter Hagen (3)   United States Royal St George's 292 2 strokes   Gene Sarazen (USA) 275 75
62nd 1927 13–15 Jul Bobby Jones (a) (2)   United States St Andrews 285 6 strokes   Aubrey Boomer (ENG)[e]
  Fred Robson (ENG)
275 75[d]
61st 1926 23–25 Jun Bobby Jones (a)   United States Royal Lytham
& St Annes
291 2 strokes   Al Watrous (USA) 225 75[d]
60th 1925 25–26 Jun Jim Barnes   United States[f] Prestwick 300 1 stroke   Archie Compston (ENG)
  Ted Ray (ENG)[g]
225 75
59th 1924 26–27 Jun Walter Hagen (2)   United States Royal Liverpool 301 1 stroke   Ernest Whitcombe (ENG) 225 75
58th 1923 14–15 Jun Arthur Havers   England Troon 295 1 stroke   Walter Hagen (USA) 225 75
57th 1922 22–23 Jun Walter Hagen   United States Royal St George's 300 1 stroke   Jim Barnes (USA)[f]
  George Duncan (SCO)
225 75
56th 1921 23–25 Jun Jock Hutchison   United States[h] St Andrews 296 Playoff   Roger Wethered (a(ENG) 225 75
55th 1920 30 Jun
– 1 Jul
George Duncan   Scotland Royal Cinque Ports 303 2 strokes   Sandy Herd (SCO) 225 75
1915–1919: No Championships because of World War I
54th 1914 18–19 Jun Harry Vardon (6)   England[i] Prestwick 306 3 strokes   J.H. Taylor (ENG) 135 50
53rd 1913 23–24 Jun J.H. Taylor (5)   England Royal Liverpool 304 8 strokes   Ted Ray (ENG)[g] 135 50
52nd 1912 24–25 Jun Ted Ray   England[g] Muirfield 295 4 strokes   Harry Vardon (ENG)[i] 135 50
51st 1911 26–30 Jun Harry Vardon (5)   England[i] Royal St George's 303 Playoff   Arnaud Massy (FRA) 135 50
50th 1910 21–24 Jun James Braid (5)   Scotland St Andrews 299 4 strokes   Sandy Herd (SCO) 135 50
49th 1909 10–11 Jun J.H. Taylor (4)   England Royal Cinque Ports 291 6 strokes   Tom Ball (ENG)
  James Braid (ENG)
125 50
48th 1908 18–19 Jun James Braid (4)   Scotland Prestwick 291 8 strokes   Tom Ball (ENG) 125 50
47th 1907 20–21 Jun Arnaud Massy   France Royal Liverpool 312 2 strokes   J.H. Taylor (ENG) 125 50
46th 1906 13–15 Jun James Braid (3)   Scotland Muirfield 300 4 strokes   J.H. Taylor (ENG) 125 50
45th 1905 7–9 Jun James Braid (2)   Scotland St Andrews 318 5 strokes   Rowland Jones (ENG)
  J.H. Taylor (ENG)
125 50
44th 1904 8–10 Jun Jack White   Scotland Royal St George's 296 1 stroke   James Braid (SCO)
  J.H. Taylor (ENG)
125 50
43rd 1903 10–11 Jun Harry Vardon (4)   England[i] Prestwick 300 6 strokes   Tom Vardon (ENG)[j] 125 50
42nd 1902 4–5 Jun Sandy Herd   Scotland Royal Liverpool 307 1 stroke   James Braid (SCO)
  Harry Vardon (ENG)[i]
125 50
41st 1901 5–6 Jun James Braid   Scotland Muirfield 309 3 strokes   Harry Vardon (ENG)[i] 125 50
40th 1900 6–7 Jun J.H. Taylor (3)   England St Andrews 309 8 strokes   Harry Vardon (ENG)[i] 125 50
39th 1899 7–8 Jun Harry Vardon (3)   England[i] St George's 310 5 strokes   Jack White (SCO) 100 30
38th 1898 8–9 Jun Harry Vardon (2)   England[i] Prestwick 307 1 stroke   Willie Park Jr. (SCO) 100 30
37th 1897 19–20 May Harold Hilton (a) (2)   England Royal Liverpool 314 1 stroke   James Braid (SCO) 100 30[d]
36th 1896 10–11,
13 Jun
Harry Vardon   England[i] Muirfield 316 Playoff   J.H. Taylor (ENG) 100 30
35th 1895 12–13 Jun J.H. Taylor (2)   England St Andrews 322 4 strokes   Sandy Herd (SCO) 100 30
34th 1894 11–12 Jun J.H. Taylor   England St George's 326 5 strokes   Douglas Rolland (SCO) 100 30
33rd 1893 31 Aug
– 1 Sep
William Auchterlonie   Scotland Prestwick 322 2 strokes   Johnny Laidlay (a(SCO) 100 30
32nd 1892 22–23 Sep Harold Hilton (a)   England Muirfield 305 3 strokes   John Ball (a(ENG))
  Sandy Herd (SCO)
  Hugh Kirkaldy (SCO)
110 35[d]
31st 1891 6–7 Oct Hugh Kirkaldy   Scotland St Andrews 166 2 strokes   Willie Fernie (SCO)
  Andrew Kirkaldy (SCO)
28.50 10
30th 1890 11 Sep John Ball (a)   England Prestwick 164 3 strokes   Willie Fernie (SCO)
  Archie Simpson (SCO)
29.50 13[d]
29th 1889 8,11 Nov Willie Park Jr. (2)   Scotland Musselburgh 155 Playoff   Andrew Kirkaldy (SCO) 22 8
28th 1888 6,8 Oct Jack Burns   Scotland St Andrews 171 1 stroke   David Anderson Jr. (SCO)
  Ben Sayers (SCO)
20 8
27th 1887 16 Sep Willie Park Jr.   Scotland Prestwick 161 1 stroke   Bob Martin (SCO) 20 8
26th 1886 5 Nov David Brown   Scotland Musselburgh 157 2 strokes   Willie Campbell (SCO) 20 8
25th 1885 3 Oct Bob Martin (2)   Scotland St Andrews 171 1 stroke   Archie Simpson (SCO) 35.50 10
24th 1884 3 Oct Jack Simpson   Scotland Prestwick 160 4 strokes   Willie Fernie (SCO)
  Douglas Rolland (SCO)
23 8
23rd 1883 16–17 Nov Willie Fernie   Scotland Musselburgh 159 Playoff   Bob Ferguson (SCO) 20 8
22nd 1882 30 Sep Bob Ferguson (3)   Scotland St Andrews 171 3 strokes   Willie Fernie (SCO) 47.25 12
21st 1881 14 Oct Bob Ferguson (2)   Scotland Prestwick 170 3 strokes   Jamie Anderson (SCO) 21 8
20th 1880 9 Apr Bob Ferguson   Scotland Musselburgh 162 5 strokes   Peter Paxton (SCO) Not known 8
19th 1879 27,29 Sep Jamie Anderson (3)   Scotland St Andrews 169 3 strokes   Jamie Allan (SCO)
  Andrew Kirkaldy (SCO)
47 10
18th 1878 4 Oct Jamie Anderson (2)   Scotland Prestwick 157 2 strokes   Bob Kirk (SCO) Not known 8
17th 1877 6 Apr Jamie Anderson   Scotland Musselburgh 160 2 strokes   Bob Pringle (SCO) 20 8
16th 1876 30 Sep,
2 Oct
Bob Martin   Scotland St Andrews 176 Playoff   Davie Strath (SCO) 27 10
15th 1875 10 Sep Willie Park Sr. (4)   Scotland Prestwick 166 2 strokes   Bob Martin (SCO) 20 8
14th 1874 10 Apr Mungo Park   Scotland Musselburgh 159 2 strokes   Tom Morris Jr. (SCO) 20 8
13th 1873 4 Oct Tom Kidd   Scotland St Andrews 179 1 stroke   Jamie Anderson (SCO) Not known 11
12th 1872 13 Sep Tom Morris Jr. (4)   Scotland Prestwick 166 3 strokes   Davie Strath (SCO) Not known 8
1871: Championship cancelled as no trophy available
11th 1870 15 Sep Tom Morris Jr. (3)   Scotland Prestwick 149 12 strokes   Bob Kirk (SCO) (2nd prize)
  Davie Strath (SCO) (3rd prize)
12 6
10th 1869 16 Sep Tom Morris Jr. (2)   Scotland Prestwick 157 11 strokes   Bob Kirk (SCO) 12 6
9th 1868 23 Sep Tom Morris Jr.   Scotland Prestwick 154 3 strokes   Tom Morris Sr. (SCO) 12 6
8th 1867 26 Sep Tom Morris Sr. (4)   Scotland Prestwick 170 2 strokes   Willie Park Sr. (SCO) 16 7
7th 1866 13 Sep Willie Park Sr. (3)   Scotland Prestwick 169 2 strokes   Davie Park (SCO) 11 6
6th 1865 14 Sep Andrew Strath   Scotland Prestwick 162 2 strokes   Willie Park Sr. (SCO) 20 8
5th 1864 16 Sep Tom Morris Sr. (3)   Scotland Prestwick 167 2 strokes   Andrew Strath (SCO) 15 6
4th 1863 18 Sep Willie Park Sr. (2)   Scotland Prestwick 168 2 strokes   Tom Morris Sr. (SCO) 10 -
3rd 1862 11 Sep Tom Morris Sr. (2)   Scotland Prestwick 163 13 strokes   Willie Park Sr. (SCO) - -
2nd 1861 26 Sep Tom Morris Sr.   Scotland Prestwick 163 4 strokes   Willie Park Sr. (SCO) - -
1st 1860 17 Oct Willie Park Sr.   Scotland Prestwick 174 2 strokes   Tom Morris Sr. (SCO) - -

Reference : The 148th Open 2019 Media Guide[160]

  1. ^ Dates include all days on which play took place or was planned to take place, including any playoffs
  2. ^ a b Macdonald Smith is classified as American by Open records, but it is noted he was born in   Scotland. He was a naturalised American citizen when he competed in the Open.
  3. ^ Tommy Armour is classified as American by Open records, but it is noted he was born in   Scotland. He was a naturalised American citizen when he won. He was nicknamed the "Silver Scot", and is a member of the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.[158]
  4. ^ a b c d e f As the winner was an amateur, he received no prize money.
  5. ^ Aubrey Boomer was from   Jersey, a British crown dependency. Although Jersey is not part of England, the Open records classify him as English.
  6. ^ a b Jim Barnes is classified as American by Open records, but it is noted he was born in   England. Open records state he was a naturalised American citizen when he won, but the World Golf Hall of Fame notes about Barnes: "He never became an American citizen, remaining an intensely patriotic Cornishman".[159]
  7. ^ a b c Ted Ray was from   Jersey, a British crown dependency. Although Jersey is not part of England, the Open records classify him as English. He represented England nine times in the England–Scotland Professional Match, and spent most of his life living in England.
  8. ^ Jock Hutchison is classified as American by Open records, but it is noted he was born in   Scotland. Open records state he was a naturalised American citizen when he won.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Harry Vardon was from   Jersey, a British crown dependency. Although Jersey is not part of England, the Open records classify him as English. He represented England nine times in the England–Scotland Professional Match, and spent most of his life living in England.
  10. ^ Tom Vardon was from   Jersey, a British crown dependency. Although Jersey is not part of England, the Open records classify him as English. He represented England seven times in the England–Scotland Professional Match, and was a club professional in England.

Silver Medal winnersEdit

Since 1949, the silver medal is awarded to the leading amateur, provided that the player completes all 72 holes.[98] In the earlier years wealthy individuals would often maintain their amateur status, and hence could win multiple times, such as Frank Stranahan who won it four times in the first five years (and was also the low amateur in 1947). In the modern era players often turn professional soon after winning the silver medal, and hence never have a chance for multiple wins. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are the only silver medal winners who have gone on to win the Open.


The distribution of The Open is provided by a partnership between R&A Productions, European Tour Productions (both run by IMG) and CTV Outside Broadcasting. The broadcasters with onsite production are Sky (UK), NBC (USA), BBC (UK), and TV Asahi (Japan).[161]

Many non-British broadcasters referred to the Open as the "British" Open in their coverage until 2010, when the R&A introduced use of contractual terms in their media contracts, similar to the Masters, and now rights holders are obliged to refer to the tournament as "The Open".[74] On 7 November 2018, the parent company of the U.S. rights holder, NBC, completed a takeover of the U.K. rights holder, Sky. This means the media rights in the two primary markets are owned by the same company, albeit produced separately by two different subsidiaries.[162] There are over 170 cameras on site during the tournament, including cameras in the face of the Open's pot bunkers.[163][164]

United KingdomEdit

The BBC first started to broadcast the Open in 1955,[165] with Peter Alliss involved since 1961, and having the role of lead commentator since 1978.[170] With the growth of pay television, and the increasing value of sporting rights, the BBC's golf portfolio began to reduce. The loss of the rights to the Scottish Open, and BMW PGA Championship in 2012 left the BBC's only golf coverage as the Open, and the final two days of the Masters (which it shared with Sky). With so little golf, the BBC was accused of neglecting investment in production and was criticised about its 'quality of coverage and innovation' compared to Sky, which held the rights to most golf events. The tournament is considered a Category B event under the Ofcom Code on Sports and Other Listed and Designated Events, which allows its rights to be held by a pay television broadcaster as long as sufficient secondary coverage is provided by a free-to-air broadcaster.[171][165][172]

Many were hoping that a deal similar to the Masters would be reached, where Sky had coverage of all four days, and the BBC also provided live weekend coverage, but Sky were not keen on this and won the full rights in 2015. Some were angered about the demise of golf on terrestrial television, and the impact that could have on the interest in golf in the U.K.,[173][174] whilst others were pleased about the perceived improved coverage that Sky would give.[175] Despite Peter Alliss promising on air that the BBC would cover the 2016 event, the BBC reached a deal for Sky to take the coverage. The BBC still covers the tournament, showing highlights from 8pm–10pm on tournament days and radio coverage on Radio 5 Live. The deal with Sky required the broadcaster to restrict its advertisement breaks to 4 minutes every hour, similar to the Masters.[175] Sky also offers complete coverage online through NOWtv to non-subscribers, which is £7.99 for one day, or £12.99 for a weeks access.[176]

United StatesEdit

ABC began broadcasting the Open in 1962, with taped highlights on Wide World of Sports.[179] In the pre-digital age the coverage had to be converted from the U.K.'s PAL colour encoding system, to the U.S.'s NTSC, which meant picture quality could be impacted, especially in the early years.[180] The coverage expanded over the years, and as is common in America, there was a different early round rights holder, which was ESPN until 2003 when TNT took over. Co-owned ESPN became responsible for ABC's sports coverage in 2006; it won the rights to cover all four days of the championship in 2010, and concurrently moved coverage to its channels. The Open became the first golf major to be covered exclusively on pay television in America, as ESPN left only highlights for its partner broadcast network.

After losing the rights to the U.S. Open in 2015, NBC bid aggressively to win the rights to the Open, and become a broadcaster of a golf major again.[179] NBC also had a track record of broadcasting European sporting events successfully in the morning U.S. time with the Premier League, Formula One, and "Breakfast at Wimbledon", and was able to place early round coverage on its subsidiary Golf Channel.[181][177] NBC won the rights from 2017 to 2028.[182][164] ESPN also sold them the rights for 2016.[183]

The 2019 edition of the Open Championship had a total of 49 hours of coverage in the United States, with 29 hours being on Thursday and Friday, and 20 hours being on Saturday and Sunday; the Golf Channel cable network had a total of 34 hours of coverage, with 29 hours on Thursday and Friday, and 5 hours on Saturday and Sunday. The NBC broadcast network had a total of 15 hours of coverage on the weekend, with 8 hours Saturday, and 7 hours Sunday. The 49 total hours of coverage on Golf Channel and NBC is down 30 minutes from 2018; the difference is that NBC's Sunday coverage is down 30 minutes, from 7.5 hours in 2018, to 7 hours in 2019.


The Open provides limited coverage for free on its website including highlights, featured groups, featured holes, and radio coverage. The Open's local rights holders usually provide these feeds as part of their broadcast package.[184]

Rest of the WorldEdit

The Open produces a 'world feed' for use by international broadcasters if they require.[161] The other large golf markets in a similar time zone as the U.K. are the rest of Europe (where Sky, the U.K. broadcast company often has a presence), and South Africa where it is covered by SuperSport.[185]

Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and increasingly China are markets with high media interest in golf and the Open, but the time zone means the prime coverage is shown in the early hours of the morning.

Current broadcast hours for live coverage in Australia's Eastern Time Zone
Channel Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Fox Sports 3.30pm–5.00am AEST 3.30pm–5.00am AEST 7.00pm–5.00am AEST 6.00pm–4.00am AEST


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External linksEdit