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18 Fantastic Facts About The British Open Golf Championship

It is the granddaddy of all golf tournaments. The one Major that every golfer is desperate to have on their honours list. The British Open Golf Championship will soon be upon us once again.

The famous tournament has provided us with some memorable moments over the years. It visits some of the most prestigious and challenging courses in the UK, all of which are part of the elite Open Roster of courses.

A true open event, it attracts entrants from all over the world. From talented amateurs to club pros, to the elite golfers at the top of the professional game.

In this special preview we are going to bring you 18 fantastic facts about the British Open Golf Championship.

One for every hole on each British Open Golf Championship roster course!

Remember, betting on the British Open Golf Championship is available throughout the year at bet365 Sport. You can place bets on the tournament at any point, with a massive selection of markets available in the week running up to Thursday’s start for the tournament.

British Open Golf Championship

Let’s now give you the lowdown on the tournament by looking at 18 fantastic facts about the British Open Golf Championship.

British Open Golf Championship Factfile

Hole 1 – Getting on the Roster

The British Open Golf Championship is only played at a select number of courses. These form the Open Roster and the nine courses that are currently part of the roster are as follows:

  • The Old Course – St Andrews (Scotland)
  • Carnoustie Golf Links – Carnoustie (Scotland)
  • Muirfield – Gullane (Scotland)
  • Royal Troon – Troon (Scotland)
  • Royal St. Georges – Sandwich (England)
  • Royal Birkdale – Southport (England)
  • Royal Lytham & St. Annes – Lytham & St. Annes (England)
  • Royal Liverpool – Hoylake (England)
  • Royal Portrush – Portrush (Northern Ireland)

The following courses have held the British Open, but are not part of the current roster.

  • Ailsa Course, Turnberry – Ayrshire (Scotland)
  • Prestwick – Prestwick (Scotland)
  • Musselburgh – Musselburgh (Scotland)
  • Royal Cinque Ports – Kent (England)
  • Prince’s – Sandwich (England)

Hole 2 – Shooting Low

The lowest score in the history of the Open Championship in terms of aggregate number of shots is 264, which was achieved by Henrik Stenson when he won the Open at Royal Troon in 2016.

The lowest score to par to win the tournament is -20, shot by Stenson in 2016 and also by Cameron Smith at St Andrews Old Course in 2022.

Hole 3 – A Taste of Claret

The famous Claret Jug was commissioned in 1872 by three clubs, The R&A, Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers and Prestwick Golf Club. Each club contributed £10 towards the trophy.

It was first awarded for the 1873 tournament and has been presented to the winner ever since.

However, the trophy presented to each winner is a replica. The original trophy is permanently displayed at the R&A Clubhouse at St. Andrews.

Hole 4 – Links to the Past

The Open Championships roster of courses will only ever comprise links courses, despite the fact that GB and Ireland have a large number of great inland and parkland courses.

The reason for this is that links golf was the form of the game played when it originated in Scotland in the 15th century, and as such, it is true to the history of the game.

Hole 5 – Winner’s Prize

It’s common knowledge that the winner of the British Open Golf Championship will land the Claret Jug and, once they return the trophy the following year, receive a replica to keep.

What is less commonly known is that there are a number of other big benefits to winning the trophy. They include:

  • The winner’s gold medal.
  • 18% of the total prize pool ($16,500,000) which equates to $3m.
  • Guaranteed entry to all future Open Championships until the age of 60.
  • If the winner is over the age of 60, guaranteed entry to the next 10 Open Championships.
  • Entry to the next five Masters Tournaments, PGA Championship and US Open majors.
  • Five-year membership in the PGA Tour and European Tour.

There are many other exemptions for big golf tour events and senior tour events also available for the winner, as well as points for FedEx Cup, Race to Dubai, Ryder Cup/President’s Cup and World Golf Rankings.

Hole 6 – Amateur Prizes

Although Amateur golfers cannot win the myriad of prizes available to professionals, the Silver Medal is awarded to the top Amateur golfer in the tournament at the final round.

Other amateurs that qualify for the tournament’s final round receive a bronze medal.

Hole 7 –  Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Harry Vardon, the most successful player in the history of the British Open Golf Championship, won the title six times from 1896 to 1914.

In the modern era, Tom Watson holds the record with five British Open victories, while Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Nick Faldo, Seve Ballasteros and Tiger Woods have three wins.

Hole 8 – Shooting Low

Branden Grace shot a 62 in the third round of the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, the lowest score ever in a Major Championship.

Hole 9 – Into the Future

The venue of the next couple of years’ Open Championships is always decided well in advance.  In 2024, the tournament is scheduled to be held at Royal Troon.

The following year 2025 will see The Open visit Northern Ireland once again to be played at Royal Portrush.

In 2026, it will move to England to be played at Royal Birkdale.

Hole 10 –  Easy Money

The greatest-ever margin of victory in the British Open was 13 strokes. This was achieved way back in 1862 by Old Tom Morris.

What was remarkable about that achievement was that Morris won by that margin over a 36-hole contest.

The record was not beaten in Major Championship golf until Tiger Woods 2000 US Open win at Pebble Beach, when he won by 15-strokes.

Hole 11 – Shootin’ Low

The lowest round in relation to par shot at an Open Championship is -9. This has been achieved by two players, Paul Broadhurst in the third round in 1990 and Rory McIlroy in the first round of 2010.

Hole 12 – Handicap for Entry

Although an open, the term is a technicality. Golfers that enter the qualifying tournaments for the British Open Golf Championship must have a handicap of no higher than 0.4, a scratch player.

That handicap level is the same for club professionals and amateurs.

Hole 13 – Unlucky for Some

Despite winning the tournament three times, Jack Nicklaus has the unenviable record of finishing second in the tournament on the most occasions.

Between 1964 and 1979, he was runner-up on seven occasions. Additionally, he won the tournament in 1966, 1970, and 1978.

Hole 14 – Ageing Like a Fine Wine

The legendary Gene Sarazen was the oldest player to compete in an Open Championship. The American ace was aged 74 years, four months and nine days old when he competed in 1976.

Hole 15 – King of the Courses

Of all the courses currently on the Open Roster, St. Andrews has hosted the most Open Championships, hosting 30 tournaments from 1873 to 2022.

Hole 16 – Long Wait

Despite the vast majority of British Open Golf Championship tournaments taking place in Scotland or England, it has been many years since we last saw a winner from either nation.

Northern Ireland has seen Rory McIlroy win the tournament twice and Darren Clarke once, while Padraig Harrington has also won it twice representing Ireland.

However, the last Scottish winner was Paul Lawrie’s unexpected win in 1999. While an English golfer has not won the tournament since Nick Faldo back in 1992.

No Welsh golfer has ever won The Open, though a couple have come second, Brian Huggett and Dai Rees to name two.

Hole 17 – The Long and Short of It

The 2024 British Open Golf Championship at Royal Troon will feature the shortest hole on the current Open roster, the famous Postage Stamp hole, which could play as short as 99 yards depending on the weather.

However, golfers will also have to contend with the longest hole on the Open roster too. The par-5 sixth hole has now been extended by a further 22-yards, making it a massive 623-yards in length.

Hole 18 – “Now I’m not sure this is right…”

The biggest collapse in British Open Golf Championship history occurred at the 1999 British Open at a wind-blown and fiendishly difficult Carnoustie.

Frenchman Jean Van de Velde stood on the par 4 18th tee holding a three-shot lead in the final round of the tournament. A double-bogey and he would be The Open Champion.

He decided to take a driver from the tee. A move that commentator, the late-great Peter Alliss commented on stating “Now, I’m not sure this is right…”

What followed is arguably the most famous 15 minutes in British Open Golf Championship history.

A classic example of a golfing meltdown.

Although he qualified for the playoff, it was Paul Lawrie who eventually claimed the title

We hope you enjoyed this trawl through Open Golf history. Now remember to take a look at the latest odds on the forthcoming tournament with bet365 Sport to see who you are going to back to win!

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