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The Open Championship – Complete Guide

Golf’s oldest Major Championship might just be the most exciting. Whether you call it the Open Championship or the British Open, this golf tournament is unlike any other event in the world.

From when it all started in 1860 all the way to Jordan Spieth’s memorable comeback at the 2017 Open Championship, this page aims to cover everything. Consider this your all-inclusive guide to anything you would want to know about the British Open.

We will start with an advanced catalog of betting tips and advice in order to get you more than prepared by the time the Open Championship arrives. Placing smart wagers starts with feeling confident in your bets.

Our golf experts will cover the courses used in the Open rotation and how the golfers qualify to compete. Of course, we will talk about the sought-after Claret Jug, as well as mention the golfers who have been fortunate to hoist the coveted trophy since 1946.

Don’t think we’ve failed to mention the memorable “Duel in the Sun” between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus at Turnberry back in 1977 or Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson refusing to back down while going head-to-head at Royal Troon in 2016—it’s all here.

If you are looking for something specific regarding golf’s first Major Championship, feel free to use the table of contents below to jump around to the sections that peak your interest.

If you are a golf junkie and want to know everything about the historic tournament, go ahead and get comfortable. Crack open a cold beverage and enjoy this journey through the Open Championship!

Table of Contents

Betting the Open Championship

There is a heck of a lot to consider before you make any bets on the British Open. How deep you want to dig will be up to you. Here on the main things to be aware of as well as the factors to consider.

What Bets Are out There?

When you are approaching betting a typical golf tournament, there generally isn’t all that much to think about. The online sites and sportsbooks in Vegas will list the odds for golfers in the field to win the tournament outright.

Some head-to-head player matchups are tossed in and they call it a day.

Fortunately, the popularity and attention the British Open demands leave online casino operators no choice but to open the floodgates to a massive array of additional bets. We are referring to the all so popular prop bets.

Prop Bets

You know how during the Super Bowl the land-based and online casinos offer sheets and sheets of prop bets? The reason they do this is simply because the demand is there.

If people care enough about something to want to bet on it, you better believe the sportsbooks and online sites will oblige.

The four Majors are golf’s version of the Super Bowl. It is during these events that the number of available bets skyrockets. Let’s take a look at some examples from the 2017 Open Championship to give you a better idea of the types of bets we are talking about.

What will be the Nationality of the winner?

  • European -110
  • American +120
  • Other +350

PlayerMake the CutMiss the Cut
Rickie Fowler-700+400
Jordan Spieth-700+400
Sergio Garcia-700+500
Justin Rose-550+350
Rory McIlroy-500+325
Jason Day-400+275

Will the winner be a first-time Major Champion?

  • Yes -200
  • No +140

Will there be a Playoff?

  • Yes +300
  • No -450

Who will win the group?

  • Dustin Johnson +240
  • Jordan Spieth +265
  • Jon Rahm +265
  • Rory McIlroy +270
  • Rickie Fowler +245
  • Sergio Garcia +255
  • Justin Rose +265
  • Hideki Matsuyama +275

As you can see, you can have a lot of fun playing around with the props. While they are designed mostly for entertainment, golf fans that pay close attention will treat these props as opportunities to make some cash.

The “Who will win the group” bets are some of our favorites. The way that the odds are set up, you are guaranteed a profit as long as you choose two of the four golfers and one of them wins the group. We will use the first group as an example.

Say you think Jordan Spieth or Jon Rahm is going to be the low-man of the group. By betting $100 on both Spieth and Rahm, you are guaranteeing yourself a $165 profit, as long as Dustin Johnson or Rory McIlroy doesn’t win the group.

By giving the bettor favorable odds for all four choices, the bettor can understand what it takes to reach profitability.

It is much more feasible to win money betting this way as opposed to choosing a single golfer to win the tournament outright. Every scenario other than the golfer you picked winning the tournament means you lose money.

Be Active on Multiple Sites

If you aren’t doing this, then you aren’t trying hard enough. You cannot just choose a site and go make wagers blindly without knowing if you are even getting the best price. Well, you can do that, but it wouldn’t be very smart.

For example, let’s say you want to bet on Tiger Woods to win the 2018 British Open. The first few sites we checked had him listed at 20:1 and 25:1. After digging a little deeper, we found Tiger to win the Open at 28:1, 30:1, and even 33:1.

If we didn’t do our due diligence, we would have been a sucker and bet on Tiger at 20:1, leaving tons of money on the table. To avoid this mistake, just be active on all the top sites. Don’t place a wager without checking the other sites you trust.

More times than not, doing a little homework will yield you better prices and, in some cases, different and more optimal bets.

Once you start comparing the various prop bets amongst the sites, you will start to notice trends. You may see that specific sites offer more options while others offer slightly better prices.

This is all valuable information, and the most accurate way to get that info is to experience the sites for yourself.

The more you get acquainted with shopping lines at the numerous sportsbooks, the better the chances you will be giving yourself to turn a profit.

The British Open prop bets truly give you a chance to have a whole bunch of fun and win a boatload of money while you watch the tournament. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Sports betting sites will only offer a buffet of golf bets four times per year. The Open Championship is one of those weeks, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to spice up your tournament action. You have a great chance of turning a profit if you pay attention to the right things.

Let’s transition into those “right things”. We are talking about breaking down the key pieces of information and data you are going to want to lock into before wagering on the Open Championship.

Know the Course

Being familiar with the golf course and the signature holes will, of course, make the telecast that much more meaningful to you. Understanding how specific courses and weather conditions translate into the betting landscape is the “secret sauce” that everyone is looking for.

Unfortunately, there is no exact science or mathematical equation that will tell you exactly who will win and who won’t make the cut.

The alternative to this is putting in good, old-fashioned hard-work. We aren’t referring to manual labor—just talking about doing a little bit of research. Believe it or not, in today’s day and age, time and effort can still go a long way.

The first thing you’ll want to do is check up on the host course and find out what it takes to be successful there. Many courses in the British Open rotation feature green complexes that are not nearly as severe or fast as traditional greens the players see out on tour.

The intensity of the wind is why the courses in Scotland and England generally don’t beat you up too badly on the greens. If they cut the greens at a British Open to the same speed on the stimpmeter as, say, the greens at Augusta, players wouldn’t even be able to mark and replace their balls on the green.

This key piece of information tells you that there is less of a premium placed on putting at the British Open compared to any of the other Majors. We use the term lightly because we aren’t trying to suggest that you don’t have to be a good putter to win a Claret Jug.

We are saying that hitting the ball long and being a good iron player fits the courses better than being an average ball-striker and a fantastic putter.

There is a great thing about the courses that are used as locations for the Open Championship. They happen to be fairly well-known tracks that the R&A goes back to time and time again. In fact, only 14 different courses have been utilized to host a British Open since its inception in 1860.

It doesn’t take but a few clicks to find out detailed information about the each of the courses. Once you do some research on the trac, the next thing to do is check the weather forecast.

Understand the Weather

Notice the title of the section—“Understand the Weather.” The key word is understand. We aren’t talking about looking up the weather on your weather app and seeing if rain and wind are projected. We know these things may occur, and if and when they do, everyone is prepared.

Rather, we are referring to understanding how severe weather conditions

affect the tournament and the players competing.

For starters, the British Open is synonymous with bad weather, so golfers who choose to wear white trousers will be expecting the bottoms to be covered in mud by day’s end. When difficult weather is projected for the week, you especially want to target golfers than you know have good attitudes and will embrace the conditions.

You will want to avoid betting on the “fair-weather fans” who get emotional on the golf course. Not all golfers are cut from the same cloth, and that’s ok.

Be aware that performing well at the Open Championship requires patience and fortitude. You won’t find any sore losers with their names engraved in the Claret Jug.

The significance of being extremely accurate off the tee is generally a major category to focus on before you make any bets.

Driving Accuracy

There aren’t many golf tournaments on professional circuits that don’t cater to a player who can drive the ball in the fairway. A British Open test is no different. Since fairways are guarded by knee-high fescue grass, golfers are severely penalized when they miss fairways. A course like St. Andrews is littered with 112 strategically placed bunkers to catch any mishit or sideways tee balls.

Golfers are kidding themselves if they think they can get it around an Open-style course without being deadly accurate off the tee. Bettors that choose golfers who are known for being errant off the tee are kidding themselves even more.

Look at the 2015 Open Championship at St. Andrews as an example. The weather was terrific for the most part, which means that even the shorter hitters would be getting enough roll-out to position themselves for medium-short length approach shots. The key was finding fairways and avoiding the pot bunkers.

Low and behold, a deadly-accurate driver of the golf ball in Zach Johnson was able to fend off superstars from every angle and capture his first Open Championship.

The course setup that week was absolutely ideal for a player of Zach Johnson’s caliber; the type of player who not only hits fairways, but has a good head on his shoulders with loads of experience to fall back on.

Players Playing Well

Don’t think because this segment isn’t at the very top of the page that it isn’t extremely important. As a matter of fact, when it comes to wagering your hard-earned money, this is the thing you will want to put the most stock into.

Regardless of a player’s prior history in the tournament or at the course, a player’s recent form cannot be denied—and that goes both ways.

If a player has been playing poorly all summer and has shown no signs of rounding into form, don’t expect the Open Championship to be the site of his rebirth. The difficulty of a Major setup at a links-style golf course presents too many challenges for someone who isn’t controlling their golf ball.

Only the golfers who are hitting fairways and missing the ball in the right spot will be able to withstand 72 grueling holes. Missing the ball in the correct spots is as important in an Open Championship as any golf tournament out there.

The well-placed pot bunkers are essentially 1-shot penalty hazards. If players hit the ball into the tall fescue grass, they can make a double bogey quicker than they can bat an eyelash.

For these reasons, you are going to want to target golfers who have played consistently in the previous weeks and months. They will be the guys that can most likely help you make a return on your investment.

We aren’t just referring to the player who has won the week before, or guys near the top of the FedEx Cup race. We are thinking about the guys who may not have played much golf in the early season and are starting to gain form.

For example, say a player has played poorly or very little in the springtime, but has three consecutive top-15 finishes over the past month-in-a-half. This is clearly a golfer who is starting to peak and is a great bet to perform well.

As important as finding the golfers whose games fit the particular venue, you cannot just overlook the guys who are starting to play better and better in the preceding weeks. At the same token, dodge the guys who have faded off significantly in the summer months.

We see golfers who find success early in the year on the west coast swing only to taper off as the year goes on not likely to suddenly find “lightning in a bottle” during the Open Championship.

Don’t be overwhelmed by all of this information. Take what you feel is most significant, and apply it the tournament. Now, let’s start talking about what makes this event so meaningful to the players and fans. To understand that fully, we have to go back to the very beginning.

When It All Started

The short and simple answer is 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland. However, don’t be fooled and think what you see golfers doing on television every July is how it always was. In fact, that first Open Championship at Prestwick had only 8 golfers and they played 36 holes on the same day.

It wasn’t until 1892 that the event was actually changed to a 72-hole tournament, which was contested over the span of 2 days. The current format of the Open Championship has been amended and adjusted over the years to what you see today.

The Royal and Ancient (R & A) organization has made sure of it.

During the third week of July, the third Major of the year is hosted in the United Kingdom. The only one of the four Majors held outside the United States is perhaps the most unique of all.

You won’t hear anyone in the UK refer to the tournament as “the British Open” as that’s left to the Americans. Don’t worry, as the confusion as to what to call the tournament is really an overrated argument.

Whether you call it the Open Championship or the British Open, as long as you understand and respect the significance of the tournament, you are ok in our book. The rich history and how diverse this tournament is from any other makes capturing this title so important to every professional golfer.

They all dreamt at one point of sinking a putt on the 72nd hole and winning the Open Championship.

Making that dream a reality is completely different feeling. The only way to feel the triumph of winning a British Open is to be in the field on Thursday morning when the Championship gets underway. Having a tee time in the third Major of the year is an accomplishment in itself. Let’s take a look at how you get there.

How to Qualify

There is no secret about the Open Championship- qualifying for the event is no pushover. Only the world’s most elite golfers will have an opportunity to play in the Open Championship, despite the thousands that attempt to qualify each year.

There are two ways to get a tee time in the British Open. Either you are exempt (straight into the event) or you have win your entry through a qualifying series.

Let’s look at the exemption categories for the 2018 Open Championship. Players who have achieved status in one of the following categories will be assured a spot in the field.

  • Former Open Champions age 60 and under as of July 22, 2018
  • British Open Winner – last 10 years
  • Top 10 + ties from the 2017 Open Championship
  • The top 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings as of week 21 in 2018
  • The top 30 in the 2017 Final Race to Dubai Rankings
  • The BMW Championship winner – last 3 years
  • S. Open Winner – last 5 years
  • Masters Winner – last 5 years
  • PGA Championship Winner – last 5 years
  • The Players Championship Winner – last 3 years
  • The top 30 from the 2017 final FedEx Cup standings
  • The Top 5 (not otherwise exempt) from the 2018 FedEx Cup standings after the 2018 Travelers Championship
  • The Winner – 2017 VISA Open de Argentina
  • 2017 President Cup Team Members
  • 2017 Asian Tour Order of Merit Leader
  • 2017 Australasia Tour Order of Merit Leader
  • 2017 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit Leader
  • The Winner – 2017 Japan Open
  • Top 2 leaders on the 2017 Japan Golf Tour Official Money List
  • The Winner – 2017 Senior Open
  • The Winner – 2018 Amateur
  • The Winner – 2017 U.S. Amateur
  • The Winner – 2018 European Amateur
  • 2017 Mark H. McCormack Medal (World’s top-ranked amateur golfer)

All golfers who have attained one of the above recognitions can sleep well at night knowing they are in the field for the 2018 Open Championship. The golfers not on this list will have one final chance to secure a Thursday tee time at Carnoustie via qualifying.

There is actually an abundance of qualifying series for players to make their way to the Open Championship. Take a look below.

  • Open Qualifying Series Australia – 2017 Emirates Australian Open. Top 3 places from top 10 (not otherwise exempt)
  • Open Qualifying Series South Africa – 2017 Joburg Open. Top 3 places from top 10 (not otherwise exempt)
  • Open Qualifying Series Singapore – 2018 SMBC Singapore Open. Top 4 places from top 12 (not otherwise exempt)
  • Open Qualifying Series Japan – 2018 Mizuno Open. Top 4 places from top 12 (not otherwise exempt)
  • Open Qualifying Series Korea – 2018 KOLON Korean Open. Top 2 places from top 8 (not otherwise exempt)
  • Open Qualifying Series France – 2018 HNA Open de France. Top 3 places from top 10 (not otherwise exempt)
  • Open Qualifying Series USA – 2018 The National. Top 4 places from top 12 (not otherwise exempt)
  • Open Qualifying Series Ireland – 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. Top 3 places from top 10 (not otherwise exempt)
  • Open Qualifying Series USA – 2018 Greenbrier Classic. Top 4 places from top 12 (not otherwise exempt)
  • Open Qualifying Series Scotland – 2018 Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open. Top 3 places from top 10 (not otherwise exempt)
  • Open Qualifying Series USA – 2018 John Deere Classic. The top player from top 5 (not otherwise exempt)

Final Qualifying Sites

  • Notts (Hollinwell)              3 spots available
  • Prince’s                               3 spots available
  • St Annes Old Links           3 spots available
  • The Renaissance Club     3 spots available

What these tables are designed to do is to show you how readily available the Royal and Ancient (R & A) has made entry into their prestigious Championship for golfers around the globe. Holding various qualifiers all around the world makes this tournament a truly “global event”.

Golfers that make their homes in Australia or Singapore now have a fair and equal chance to gain entry into the field.

By having the exemption and qualifying categories so “performance-based”, it is ensuring all 156 men playing in the tournament are worthy of being there. Spots aren’t “handed out” and given to players based on how popular or well-known they are.

You either play your way into the Open Championship and earn your spot- or you are waking up early like the rest of us to watch it all unfold on TV.

The Claret Jug

The Champion Golfer of the Year is the recipient of the famous Claret Jug. It didn’t always work out that way. When the first Open Championship was played in 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club, the victorious golfer was given a Championship Belt.

The Claret Jug

In 1872, the three host venues of the Open Championship at the time paid £30 to the Mackay Cunningham & Company of Edinburgh to construct the Claret Jug. In 1873, Tom Kidd was the first Open Championship winner to be awarded the Claret Jug.

The original Claret Jug was “retired” in 1928 and now sits in front of the clubhouse of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

The Claret Jug that has been handed out to the Winner wince 1928 is quite the object of desire. Each year, the Champion Golfer physically takes the Jug home with him and keeps it until returning it at the event the following year.

The Winner of the British Open essentially gets to prance around for the next 365 days, bringing the Claret Jug with him wherever he goes- quite literally. Listening to the legends of the game talk about the Claret Jug tells you everything you need to know to understand what the Claret Jug means to golfers.

The significance it holds is unparalleled in golf. Perhaps the Green Jacket, the symbol of winning the Masters is the best analogy for you to understand just how noteworthy the Claret Jug is.

Rotation of Courses

The Open Championship in an exclusive golf tournament for many different reasons. Not only is this the only Major held outside the United States, the Open Championship uses a very distinct rotation of golf courses as the host sites.

The location for the Open Championship isn’t just randomly chosen, not by any means. Only 14 courses have been used to host the Open Championship since 1860.

Some courses have been “retired” from the rotation such as Prestwick Golf Club and Musselburgh Links. Take a peek at the 14 courses that have served as the tournament’s location and see how many times each course has hosted the Championship.

CourseLocation# of Times Hosted
St Andrews (Old Course)St Andrews, Scotland29
Prestwick Golf ClubPrestwick, Scotland24
MuirfieldGullane, Scotland16
Royal St GeorgesSandwich, England14
Royal LiverpoolHoylake, England12
Royal Lytham & St AnnesLytham St Annes, England11
Royal BirkdaleSouthport, England10
Royal TroonTroon, Scotland9
CarnoustieCarnoustie, Scotland7
Musselburgh LinksMusselburgh, Scotland6
TurnberrySouth Ayrshire, Scotland4
Royal Cinque Ports Golf ClubDeal, England2
Prince’s Golf ClubSandwich. England1
Royal PortrushPortrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland1

These numbers will continue to grow, but don’t expect any new courses to be added to the rotation anytime soon. After Carnoustie hosts the 2018 Open Championship, The R & A decided to go back to Royal Portrush in 2019.

That will be the first time Royal Portrush has hosted the Open since Max Faulkner won the tournament there back in 1951.

If you are ever in England or Scotland and are fortunate to play any of these courses, make sure you take advantage. Playing any of these courses means you are part of history. They are the same tracks that will be used as British Open locations for the foreseeable future.

List of Winners

The British Open was first played in 1860. What started out as 8 men playing 36 holes in 1 day has turned into a 4-day, 72-hole marathon of 156 of the world’s finest golfers.

The tournament’s format has been played around with over the years, adjusting many rules about the number of players eligible and how the players qualify.

After a 6-year hiatus from 1940-1945 due to World War II, The Open Championship resumed in 1946 and has been held every July since. Let’s take a look at who has won the Open and what their winning scores were.

YearWinnerCourseWinning Score
1946Sam SneadSt. Andrews290 (+2)
1947Fred DalyRoyal Liverpool293 (+5)
1948Henry CottonMuirfield284 (E)
1949Bobby LockeRoyal St Georges283 (-5)
1950Bobby LockeTroon279 (-9)
1951Max FaulknerRoyal Portrush285 (-3)
1952Bobby LockeRoyal Lytham & St Annes287 (-1)
1953Ben HoganCarnoustie282 (-6)
1954Peter ThompsonRoyal Birkdale283 (-5)
1955Peter ThompsonSt Andrews281 (-7)
1956Peter ThompsonRoyal Liverpool286 (+2)
1957Bobby LockeSt Andrews279 (-9)
1958Peter ThompsonRoyal Lytham & St Annes278 (-6)
1959Gary PlayerMuirfield284 (E)
1960Kel NagleSt Andrews278 (-10)
1961Arnold PalmerRoyal Birkdale284 (-4)
1962Arnold PalmerTroon276 (-12)
1963Bob CharlesRoyal Lytham & St Annes277 (-3)
1964Tony LemaSt Andrews279 (-9)
1965Peter ThompsonRoyal Birkdale285 (-3)
1966Jack NicklausMuirfield282 (-2)
1967Roberto De VicenzoRoyal Liverpool278 (-10)
1968Gary PlayerCarnoustie289 (+1)
1969Tony JacklinRoyal Lytham & St Annes280 (-4)
1970Jack NicklausSt Andrews283 (-5)
1971Lee TrevinoRoyal Birkdale278 (-14)
1972Lee TrevinoMuirfield278 (-6)
1973Tom WeiskopfTroon276 (-12)
1974Gary PlayerRoyal Lytham & St Annes282 (-2)
1975Tom WatsonCarnoustie279 (-9)
1976Johnny MillerRoyal Birkdale279 (-9)
1977Tom WatsonTurnberry268 (-12)
1978Jack NicklausSt Andrews281 (-7)
1979Seve BallesterosRoyal Lytham & St Annes283 (-1)
1980Tom WatsonMuirfield271 (-13)
1981Bill RogersRoyal St. Georges276 (-4)
1982Tom WatsonRoyal Troon284 (-4)
1983Tom WatsonRoyal Birkdale275 (-9)
1984Seve BallesterosSt Andrews276 (-12)
1985Sandy LyleRoyal St. Georges282 (+2)
1986Greg NormanTurnberry280 (E)
1987Nick FaldoMuirfield279 (-5)
1988Seve BallesterosRoyal Lytham & St Annes273 (-11)
1989Mark CalcavecchiaRoyal Troon275 (-13)
1990Nick FaldoSt Andrews270 (-18)
1991Ian Baker-FinchRoyal Birkdale272 (-8)
1992Nick FaldoMuirfield272 (-12)
1993Greg NormanRoyal St. Georges267 (-13)
1994Nick PriceTurnberry268 (-12)
1995John DalySt Andrews282 (-6)
1996Tom LehmanRoyal Lytham & St Annes271 (-13)
1997Justin LeonardRoyal Troon272 (-12)
1998Mark O’MearaRoyal Birkdale280 (E)
1999Paul LawrieCarnoustie290 (+6)
2000Tiger WoodsSt. Andrews269 (-19)
2001David DuvalRoyal Lytham & St Annes274 (-10)
2002Ernie ElsMuirfield278 (-6)
2003Ben CurtisRoyal St Georges283 (-1)
2004Todd HamiltonRoyal Troon274 (-10)
2005Tiger WoodsSt Andrews274 (-14)
2006Tiger WoodsRoyal Liverpool270 (-18)
2007Pádraig HarringtonCarnoustie277 (-7)
2008Pádraig HarringtonRoyal Birkdale283 (+3)
2009Stewart CinkTurnberry278 (-2)
2010Louis OosthuizenSt Andrews272 (-16)
2011Darren ClarkeRoyal St Georges275 (-5)
2012Ernie ElsRoyal Lytham & St Annes273 (-7)
2013Phil MickelsonMuirfield281 (-3)
2014Rory McIlroyRoyal Liverpool271 (-17)
2015Zach JohnsonSt Andrews273 (-15)
2016Henrik StensonRoyal Troon264 (-20)
2017Jordan SpiethRoyal Birkdale268 (-12)

British Open Highlights

Who doesn’t love highlights? As fans, we love seeing out favorite athletes and favorite teams chase down records that former legends accomplished. The British Open has seen its fair share of tremendous performances.

Duel in the Sun

The 1977 “Duel in the Sun” at Turnberry witnessed Tom Watson edge out Jack Nicklaus in one of the most memorable weekends in Major Championship History. After matching each other with sizzling Saturday 65s, the pair put on a performance of a lifetime on Sunday. Watson’s 65 nipped Nicklaus by a single shot after both men birdied the 72nd hole.

Watson and Nicklaus would finish the tournament at -12 and -11 respectively. Hubert Green finished third that year, 11 shots back at -1. Most golf tournaments are supposed to come down to the final day and have multiple players be in the fold.

The 1977 Open Championship at Turnberry was a true case of a head-to-head battle. It was as if they were the only two men out there. As if they were playing a different course then the rest of the field.

This short video highlighting that famous Sunday will help you feel like you were right there, taking in the action live.

Watson “Oh So Close” at Age 59

The performance Tom Watson put on display at the 2009 Open Championship will always be remembered. Despite eventually losing in a playoff to Stewart Cink, Watson’s heroics and determination that week will never be forgotten.

At age 59, Watson entered the week in good spirits. The Open was being held at famed Turnberry. It was at the same Ailsa Course that he beat out Jack Nicklaus in 1977 in one of the most talked-about Majors in golf history.

Everyone had assumed that because Tom was 59-years old that he was just there to have a nice time, perhaps making the cut would be an amazing feat.

The problem is, someone forgot to tell this to Tom. Watson opened Thursday with a scorching 5 under par, 65. When he backed up his brilliant opening round with a second-round of even par, Tom was tied for the lead. People were starting to believe that history could be taking place right in front of their eyes.

Not only would Tom hold the 54-hole lead on his own, he would approach the final green on Sunday a par away from defying odds and winning the tournament. A missed 8-footer at glory left Watson in a 4-hole playoff with Stewart Cink, which Cink would go on to win.

The fact that Cink won the playoff doesn’t take away from the talent and wisdom Watson treated golf fans to that week. Having to hit much longer clubs into the holes than his counterparts, Watson relied on his savviness and course knowledge to get himself around the Ailsa Course.

He executed his game plan to near perfection, and golf fans who remember watching it won’t ever forget it.

Mickelson at Muirfield 2013

We of course can’t forget the back-9 charge Phil Mickelson put on at Muirfield in 2013, proving he was worthy of being called the Champion Golfer of the Year. Phil entered the final round on Sunday 5 shots behind leader Lee Westwood.

It was birdies at 13,14, 17, and 18 that helped seal the deal for “Lefty”. Many golf analysts and golf touts had said Mickelson’s brash style of play would always leave him on the outside looking in winning a Claret Jug.

He silenced those critics and put all doubts about his abilities to bed with this astounding comeback performance.

Stenson/Mickelson ‘16

The 2016 mono e mono stare down between Phil and Henrik Stenson at Royal Troon in 2016 is right up at the top of the greatest Sunday showdowns we have ever seen on a golf course. The drama provided by the back and forth birdie barrages between Mickelson and Stenson that Sunday was more than electric.

Mickelson started the final round at -11, 1-shot back of the leader, Stenson. You would think shooting an extraordinary, bogey-free 65 would be enough to capture the Claret Jug, wouldn’t you?

Stenson would have none of it. Henrik’s remarkable Sunday 63 was too much for even Phil to handle that day.

All these historical performances took place at the same golf tournament- the Open Championship. The British Open has been creating memories and achievements that can thrill us golf fans for a lifetime. As years go on, the tradition will only go stronger.

Spieth in 2017

Jordan Spieth had been in control for most of the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale until Matt Kuchar finally overtook the outright lead walking to the 14th tee on Sunday. With only 5 holes remaining and trailing the ever-so-steady Matt Kuchar, Spieth knew he needed to make something happen.

Make something happen-would be the understatement of the century. Spieth nearly made a hole-in-one the 14th hole and tapped in for birdie. He made eagle at 15 and followed that up with birdies at 16 and 17.

This implausible and incredible 4-hole stretch from Jordan is why people are already calling the young, Dallas-native a golfing legend.

Average golfers can’t do stuff like what Jordan did down the stretch at Royal Birkdale in ’17. Then again, Spieth certainly isn’t an average golfer.


This guide was meant to get you acquainted with golf’s oldest Major Championship. The one with the richest tradition behind it. We began with a surplus of tips and advice to get you feeling poised about what bets and what factors to be concentrating on.

You should be feeling ready to make some money betting the tournament. From talking about the courses used to host the tournament to a list of winners, this page was designed to get you familiar with some of the history behind the event.

Talking about the Claret Jug and going over how golfers qualify for the Open Championship were things that were too important to leave out.

Our goal was to provide you with a plethora of information that included a background of the Championship, as well as what the landscape of the event looks like today.

Hopefully you enjoyed the sections and were able to gain more insight into golfs oldest and greatest Major Championship!