The Open Championship, often referred to as The Open or the British Open, is the oldest of the four major championships in professional golf. Held in the United Kingdom, it is administered by The R&A and is the only major outside the United States. The Open is currently the third major of the year, between the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship, and is played in mid-July.
The Open was first played on 17 October 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland. The inaugural tournament was restricted to professionals and attracted a field of eight golfers who played three rounds of Prestwick's twelve-hole course in a single day. Willie Park Sr. won with a score of 174, beating Old Tom Morris, by two strokes. The following year the tournament was opened to amateurs; eight of them joined ten professionals in the field.
James Ogilvie Fairlie was the principal organiser of the first Open Championship held at Prestwick in 1860. With the untimely death of Allan Robertson, aged 43 in 1859, Prestwick members decided to conduct a challenge the following year that would determine the land’s greatest golfer. In a proposed competition for a "Challenge Belt", Fairlie sent out a series of letters to Blackheath, Perth, Edinburgh, Musselburgh and St Andrews, inviting a player known as a "respectable caddie" to represent each of the clubs in a tournament to be held on 17 October 1860.
Originally, the trophy presented to the event's winner was the Challenge Belt, a red leather belt with a silver buckle. The Challenge Belt was retired in 1870, when Young Tom Morris was allowed to keep it for winning the tournament three consecutive times. Because no trophy was available, the tournament was cancelled in 1871. In 1872, after Young Tom Morris won again for a fourth time in a row, he was awarded a medal. The present trophy, The Golf Champion Trophy, better known by its popular name of the Claret Jug, was then created.
Prestwick administered The Open from 1860 to 1870. In 1871, it agreed to organise it jointly with The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. In 1892 the event was doubled in length from 36 to 72 holes, four rounds of what was by then the standard complement of 18 holes. The 1894 Open was the first held outside Scotland, at the Royal St George's Golf Club in England. Because of an increasing number of entrants, a cut was introduced after two rounds in 1898. In 1920 full responsibility for The Open Championship was handed over to The Royal & Ancient Golf Club.
The early winners were all Scottish professionals, who in those days worked as greenkeepers, clubmakers, and caddies to supplement their modest winnings from championships and challenge matches. The Open has always been dominated by professionals, with only six victories by amateurs, all of which occurred between 1890 and 1930. The last of these was Bobby Jones' third Open and part of his celebrated Grand Slam. Jones was one of six Americans who won The Open between the First and Second World Wars, the first of whom had been Walter Hagen in 1922. These Americans and the French winner of the 1907 Open, Arnaud Massy, were the only winners from outside Scotland and England up to 1939.
The first post-World War II winner was the American Sam Snead, in 1946. In 1947, Northern Ireland's Fred Daly was victorious. While there have been many English and Scottish champions, Daly was the only winner from Ireland until the 2007 victory by Pádraig Harrington. There has never been a Welsh champion. In the early postwar years The Open was dominated by golfers from the Commonwealth, with South African Bobby Locke and Australian Peter Thomson winning the Claret Jug in eight of the 11 championships from 1948 and 1958 between them. During this period, The Open often had a schedule conflict with the match-play PGA Championship, which meant that Ben Hogan, the best American golfer at this time, competed in The Open just once, in 1953 at Carnoustie, a tournament he won.
Another South African, Gary Player was Champion in 1959. This was at the beginning of the "Big Three" era in professional golf, the three players in question being Player, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus. Palmer first competed in 1960, when he came second to the little-known Australian Kel Nagle, but he won the next two years. While he was far from being the first American to become Open Champion, he was the first that many Americans saw win the tournament on television, and his charismatic success is often credited with persuading leading American golfers to make The Open an integral part of their schedule, rather than an optional extra. The improvement of trans-Atlantic travel also increased American participation.
Nicklaus' victories came in 1966, 1970, and 1978. Although his tally of three wins is the least of his majors, it greatly understates how prominent Nicklaus was at the Open throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He finished runner-up seven times, which is the record and had a total of sixteen top-5 finishes, which is tied most in Open history with John Henry Taylor and easily the most in the postwar era. Nicklaus also holds the records for most rounds under par (61) and most aggregates under par (14). At Turnberry in 1977 he was involved in one of the most celebrated contests in golf history, when his duel with Tom Watson went to the final shot before Watson emerged as the champion for the second time with a record score of 268 (12 under par).
Watson won five Opens, more than anyone else has since the 1950s, but his final win in 1983 brought down the curtain on an era of U.S. domination. In the next 11 years there was only one American winner, with the others coming from Europe and the Commonwealth. The European winners of this era, Spaniard Seve Ballesteros, Sandy Lyle, who was the first Scottish winner in over half a century, and the Englishman Nick Faldo, were also leading lights among the group of players who began to get the better of the Americans in the Ryder Cup during this period.
In 1995, John Daly's playoff win over Italian Costantino Rocca began another era of American domination. Tiger Woods won three Championships, two at St Andrews in 2000 and 2005, and one at Hoylake in 2006. There was a dramatic moment at St Andrews in 2000, as the ageing Jack Nicklaus waved farewell to the crowds, while the young challenger to his crown watched from a nearby tee. Nicklaus later decided to play in The Open for one final time in 2005, when the R&A announced St Andrews as the venue, giving his final farewell to the fans at the Home of Golf.
There have also been wins by previously little known golfers, including Paul Lawrie's playoff win after the 72nd-hole collapse of Jean van de Velde in 1999, Ben Curtis in 2003 and Todd Hamilton in 2004.
In 2007, the Europeans finally broke an eight-year drought in the majors when Pádraig Harrington of Ireland defeated Sergio García by one stroke in a four-hole playoff at Carnoustie. Harrington retained the Championship in 2008.
In 2009, 59-year-old Tom Watson turned in one of the most remarkable performances ever seen at The Open. Leading the tournament through 71 holes and needing just a par on the last hole to become the oldest ever winner of a major championship, Watson bogeyed, setting up a four-hole playoff, which he would lose to Stewart Cink.
In 2013, Phil Mickelson won his first Open Championship at Muirfield. His victory meant that he had won 3 of the 4 majors in pursuit of the career grand slam, just needing the U.S. Open, where he has finished runner-up six times.
The Open is a 72-hole stroke play tournament contested over four days, Thursday through Sunday. Since 1979 it has been played in the week which includes the 3rd Friday in July. Currently, 156 players are in the field, mostly made up of the world's leading professionals, who are given exemptions, along with winners of the top amateur championships. Further places are given to players, amateurs and professionals, who are successful in a number of qualifying events. There is a cut after 36 holes after which only the leading 70 players (and ties) play in the final 36 holes on the weekend. In the event of a tie after 72 holes, a four-hole aggregate playoff is held; if two or more players are still tied, it continues as sudden-death until there is a winner.
There are a number of medals and trophies that are, or have been, given for various achievements during The Open.
The Professional Golfers' Association (of Great Britain and Ireland) also mark the achievements of their own members in The Open.
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 UK or Republic of Ireland.
The common factor in the venues is links courses. The Open has always been played in Scotland, northwest England, and southeast England, along with one course in Northern Ireland which will again stage the competition in 2019.
From 1860 to 1870 The Open was organised by and played at Prestwick Golf Club. From its revival in 1872 until 1891 it was played on three courses in rotation: Prestwick, The Old Course at St Andrews, and Musselburgh Links. In 1892 the newly built Muirfield replaced Musselburgh in the rotation. In 1893 two English courses, Royal St George's and Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, were invited to join the rotation with Royal St George's being allocated the 1894 Open and Royal Liverpool having the 1897 event. At a meeting in 1907 Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club became the sixth course on the rota, being allocated the 1909 Open. With three courses in both England and Scotland, the meeting also agreed that the Championship was to be played in England and Scotland alternately. The alternation of venues in England and Scotland continued until the Second World War.
The rotation of the six courses was reinstated after the First World War with Royal Cinque Ports hosting the first post-war Open in 1920. It had been chosen as the venue for the cancelled 1915 Open. In 1923 Troon was used 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". Muirfield returned as the venue in 1929. Serious overcrowding problems at Prestwick in 1925 meant that the course was never again used for the Open and was replaced by Carnoustie as the third Scottish course. While Royal St George's and Royal Liverpool continued to be used at six-year intervals the third English course varied. After Royal Cinque Ports in 1920, Royal Lytham was used in 1926 and then Prince's in 1932. Royal Cinque Ports was intended as the venue in 1938 but in February of that year abnormal high tides caused severe flooding to the course leaving it like "an inland sea several feet deep" and the venue was switched to Royal St George's. Birkdale was chosen as the venue for 1940, although the event was cancelled because of the Second World War.
There are ten courses in the current rota, five in Scotland, four in England and one in Northern Ireland. In recent times the Old Course has hosted the Open every five years. The remaining courses host the Open roughly every 10 years but the gaps between hosting Opens may be longer or shorter than this. In 2014, it was announced by The R&A that Royal Portrush was returning to the active rota and in October 2015 Portrush was confirmed as the venue for the 2019 Open.
The most recent course to be removed from the active rota was Muirfield in May 2016, following The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers refusal to permit female members to join their club. On 14 March 2017, the members voted to admit females; the R&A subsequently stated that Muirfield would be welcomed back to the Open rota.
From 1894 (when it was first played in England) to 2016, it has been played 62 times in Scotland, 49 times in England and once in Northern Ireland. It was not until 2011 and 2012 that England hosted consecutive Opens.
|2018||147th||Carnoustie Golf Links||Carnoustie||Angus||Scotland||19–22 July||2007|||
|2019||148th||Royal Portrush Golf Club||Portrush||Antrim||Northern Ireland||18–21 July||1951|||
|2020||149th||Royal St George's Golf Club||Sandwich||Kent||England||16–19 July||2011|||
The field for the Open is 156, and golfers gain a place in a number of ways. Most of the field is made up of leading players who are given exemptions. Further places are given to players who are successful in The Open Qualifying Series and in Final Qualifying. Any remaining places, and places made available because qualified players are not competing, are made available to the highest ranked players in the Official World Golf Ranking.
There are currently 28 exemption categories. Among the more significant are:
International qualifying is through the "Open Qualifying Series". Ten tournaments are selected each year. These currently consist of one event from the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Asian Tour, the Sunshine Tour and the Japan Golf Tour and three from the European Tour and the PGA Tour. A pre-allocated number of places are made available at these tournaments (from 1 to 4) which are given to the leading players in those events who are not, at that point, qualified for the Open, provided they finish in a high-enough position. A total of 32 places are available.
Local qualifying was the traditional way for non-exempt players to win a place at The Open. In recent years it has comprised a number of "Regional Qualifying" competitions around Britain and Ireland with successful competitors, joined by those players exempt from regional qualifying, playing in 36-hole "Final Qualifying" tournaments. There are 15 places available through Final Qualifying, three at each of the five venues.
Up to 1920 a variety of qualification systems were used. From 1921 to 1962 (except 1926) local qualifying was used. All those who entered played 18 holes on one of two courses and then played 18 holes on the other course the following day. Qualifying took place immediately before the Championship itself. In 1963 a system of exemptions for the leading players was introduced with local qualifying continuing for the remaining players. Since then a large number of changes have been made to the exemption criteria and to the qualifying system for the remaining players.
In Britain, the tournament is best known by its official title, The Open Championship, or simply the Open. Outside of the United Kingdom, the tournament is often referred to as the "British Open" to disambiguate the tournament from other national open golf tournaments, such as the U.S. Open. Likewise, the Masters and PGA Championship are often referred to as the "U.S. Masters" and "U.S. PGA Championship" outside of the United States, the latter being distinguished in the UK from the European Tour's BMW PGA Championship. In recent years, the R&A has worked to discourage media outlets from referring to the event as the British Open; for instance, the tournament's current television deal with U.S. network NBC contractually forbids the broadcaster from doing so. Lead personality Johnny Miller admitted that he had "trouble" with the mandate during NBC's first year, sometimes having to correct himself on-air when accidentally referring to the event as the British Open.
Some U.S. critics have argued that the insistence of referring to the tournament as "The Open" expresses an opinion of exceptionalism for the event by the R&A in comparison to other open golf tournaments, albeit one that is justified due to its history. Alastair Johnston of IMG, who markets the tournament and its media rights internationally, remarked that negotiations in some regions had been complicated by local executives who did not believe it was appropriate to refer to the event as simply "The Open Championship".
It has been an official event on the PGA Tour since 1995, which means that the prize money won in The Open by PGA Tour members is included on the official money list. In addition, all Open Championships before 1995 have been retroactively classified as PGA Tour wins, and the list of leading winners on the PGA Tour has been adjusted to reflect this. The European Tour has recognised The Open as an official event since its first official season in 1972 and it is also an official money event on the Japan Golf Tour.
The 2015 edition had a total prize money fund of £6.3 million and a first prize of £1.15 million, which equated to about $9.8 million and $1.8 million, respectively. The other three major championships in 2015 had prize money of $10.0 million and first prizes of $1.8 million, so that all four majors had similar prize money. Prize money is given to all professionals who make the cut and, since the number of professionals making the cut changes from year to year, the total prize money varies somewhat from the advertised number (currently £6.3 million).
The prize fund in 2016 was £6.5 million, with a winner's share of £1.175 million; about $8.6 million and $1.55 million. The other majors had prize money of at least $10.0 million and first prizes of at least $1.8 million. The relative decline in prize money, in dollar terms, was attributable to a fall in the £/$ exchange rate.
For the first time in 2017, the prize money was denominated in U.S. dollars. With total prize money of $10.25 million (£7.89 million), it was somewhat lower than the $11 million at the Masters and $12 million for the U.S. Open.
There was no prize money in the first three Opens. In 1863, a prize fund of ten pounds was introduced, which was shared between the second-, third-, and fourth-placed professionals, with the champion keeping the belt for a year. Old Tom Morris won the first champion's cash prize of six pounds in 1864.
Until the late 1990s, The Open prize fund was significantly lower than the other three majors; by 2002, it was the highest.
|2017||20–23 Jul||Jordan Spieth||United States||Royal Birkdale||268 (−12)||3 strokes||Matt Kuchar||1,420,000|
|2016||14–17 Jul||Henrik Stenson||Sweden||Royal Troon||264 (−20)||3 strokes||Phil Mickelson||1,175,000|
|2015||16–20 Jul||Zach Johnson||United States||St Andrews||273 (−15)||Playoff|| Marc Leishman
|2014||17–20 Jul||Rory McIlroy||Northern Ireland||Royal Liverpool||271 (−17)||2 strokes|| Rickie Fowler
|2013||18–21 Jul||Phil Mickelson||United States||Muirfield||281 (−3)||3 strokes||Henrik Stenson||945,000|
|2012||19–22 Jul||Ernie Els (2)||South Africa||Royal Lytham & St Annes||273 (−7)||1 stroke||Adam Scott||900,000|
|2011||14–17 Jul||Darren Clarke||Northern Ireland||Royal St George's||275 (−5)||3 strokes|| Dustin Johnson
|2010||15–18 Jul||Louis Oosthuizen||South Africa||St Andrews||272 (−16)||7 strokes||Lee Westwood||850,000|
|2009||16–19 Jul||Stewart Cink||United States||Turnberry||278 (−2)||Playoff||Tom Watson||750,000|
|2008||17–20 Jul||Pádraig Harrington (2)||Ireland||Royal Birkdale||283 (+3)||4 strokes||Ian Poulter||750,000|
|2007||19–22 Jul||Pádraig Harrington||Ireland||Carnoustie||277 (−7)||Playoff||Sergio García||750,000|
|2006||20–23 Jul||Tiger Woods (3)||United States||Royal Liverpool||270 (−18)||2 strokes||Chris DiMarco||720,000|
|2005||14–17 Jul||Tiger Woods (2)||United States||St Andrews||274 (−14)||5 strokes||Colin Montgomerie||720,000|
|2004||15–18 Jul||Todd Hamilton||United States||Royal Troon||274 (−10)||Playoff||Ernie Els||720,000|
|2003||17–20 Jul||Ben Curtis||United States||Royal St George's||283 (−1)||1 stroke|| Thomas Bjørn
|2002||18–21 Jul||Ernie Els||South Africa||Muirfield||278 (−6)||Playoff|| Stuart Appleby
|2001||19–22 Jul||David Duval||United States||Royal Lytham & St Annes||274 (−10)||3 strokes||Niclas Fasth||600,000|
|2000||20–23 Jul||Tiger Woods||United States||St Andrews||269 (−19)||8 strokes|| Thomas Bjørn
|1999||15–18 Jul||Paul Lawrie||Scotland||Carnoustie||290 (+6)||Playoff|| Justin Leonard
Jean van de Velde
|1998||16–19 Jul||Mark O'Meara||United States||Royal Birkdale||280 (E)||Playoff||Brian Watts||300,000|
|1997||17–20 Jul||Justin Leonard||United States||Royal Troon||272 (−12)||3 strokes|| Darren Clarke
|1996||18–21 Jul||Tom Lehman||United States||Royal Lytham & St Annes||271 (−13)||2 strokes|| Ernie Els
|1995||20–23 Jul||John Daly||United States||St Andrews||282 (−6)||Playoff||Costantino Rocca||125,000|
|1994||14–17 Jul||Nick Price||Zimbabwe||Turnberry||268 (−12)||1 stroke||Jesper Parnevik||110,000|
|1993||15–18 Jul||Greg Norman (2)||Australia||Royal St George's||267 (−13)||2 strokes||Nick Faldo||100,000|
|1992||16–19 Jul||Nick Faldo (3)||England||Muirfield||272 (−12)||1 stroke||John Cook||95,000|
|1991||18–21 Jul||Ian Baker-Finch||Australia||Royal Birkdale||272 (−8)||2 strokes||Mike Harwood||90,000|
|1990||19–22 Jul||Nick Faldo (2)||England||St Andrews||270 (−18)||5 strokes|| Mark McNulty
|1989||20–23 Jul||Mark Calcavecchia||United States||Royal Troon||275 (−13)||Playoff|| Wayne Grady
|1988||14–18 Jul||Seve Ballesteros (3)||Spain||Royal Lytham & St Annes||273 (−11)||2 strokes||Nick Price||80,000|
|1987||16–19 Jul||Nick Faldo||England||Muirfield||279 (−5)||1 stroke|| Paul Azinger
|1986||17–20 Jul||Greg Norman||Australia||Turnberry||280 (E)||5 strokes||Gordon J. Brand||70,000|
|1985||18–21 Jul||Sandy Lyle||Scotland||Royal St George's||282 (+2)||1 stroke||Payne Stewart||65,000|
|1984||19–22 Jul||Seve Ballesteros (2)||Spain||St Andrews||276 (−12)||2 strokes|| Bernhard Langer
|1983||14–17 Jul||Tom Watson (5)||United States||Royal Birkdale||275 (−9)||1 stroke|| Andy Bean
|1982||15–18 Jul||Tom Watson (4)||United States||Royal Troon||284 (−4)||1 stroke|| Peter Oosterhuis
|1981||16–19 Jul||Bill Rogers||United States||Royal St George's||276 (−4)||4 strokes||Bernhard Langer||25,000|
|1980||17–20 Jul||Tom Watson (3)||United States||Muirfield||271 (−13)||4 strokes||Lee Trevino||25,000|
|1979||18–21 Jul||Seve Ballesteros||Spain||Royal Lytham & St Annes||283 (−1)||3 strokes|| Ben Crenshaw
|1978||12–15 Jul||Jack Nicklaus (3)||United States||St Andrews||281 (−7)||2 strokes|| Ben Crenshaw
|1977||6–9 Jul||Tom Watson (2)||United States||Turnberry||268 (−12)||1 stroke||Jack Nicklaus||10,000|
|1976||7–10 Jul||Johnny Miller||United States||Royal Birkdale||279 (−9)||6 strokes|| Seve Ballesteros
|1975||9–13 Jul||Tom Watson||United States||Carnoustie||279 (−9)||Playoff||Jack Newton||7,500|
|1974||10–13 Jul||Gary Player (3)||South Africa||Royal Lytham & St Annes||282 (−2)||4 strokes||Peter Oosterhuis||5,500|
|1973||11–14 Jul||Tom Weiskopf||United States||Troon||276 (−12)||3 strokes|| Neil Coles
|1972||12–15 Jul||Lee Trevino (2)||United States||Muirfield||278 (−6)||1 stroke||Jack Nicklaus||5,500|
|1971||7–10 Jul||Lee Trevino||United States||Royal Birkdale||278 (−14)||1 stroke||Lu Liang-Huan||5,500|
|1970||8–12 Jul||Jack Nicklaus (2)||United States||St Andrews||283 (−5)||Playoff||Doug Sanders||5,250|
|1969||9–12 Jul||Tony Jacklin||England||Royal Lytham & St Annes||280 (−4)||2 strokes||Bob Charles||4,250|
|1968||10–13 Jul||Gary Player (2)||South Africa||Carnoustie||289 (+1)||2 strokes|| Bob Charles
|1967||12–15 Jul||Roberto De Vicenzo||Argentina||Royal Liverpool||278 (−10)||2 strokes||Jack Nicklaus||2,100|
|1966||6–9 Jul||Jack Nicklaus||United States||Muirfield||282 (−2)||1 stroke|| Doug Sanders
|1965||7–9 Jul||Peter Thomson (5)||Australia||Royal Birkdale||285 (−3)||2 strokes|| Brian Huggett
Christy O'Connor Snr
|1964||8–10 Jul||Tony Lema||United States||St Andrews||279 (−9)||5 strokes||Jack Nicklaus||1,500|
|1963||10–13 Jul||Bob Charles||New Zealand||Royal Lytham & St Annes||277 (−3)||Playoff||Phil Rodgers||1,500|
|1962||11–13 Jul||Arnold Palmer (2)||United States||Troon||276 (−12)||6 strokes||Kel Nagle||1,400|
|1961||12–15 Jul||Arnold Palmer||United States||Royal Birkdale||284 (−4)||1 stroke||Dai Rees||1,400|
|1960||6–9 Jul||Kel Nagle||Australia||St Andrews||278 (−10)||1 stroke||Arnold Palmer||1,250|
|1959||1–3 Jul||Gary Player||South Africa||Muirfield||284 (E)||2 strokes|| Fred Bullock
Flory Van Donck
|1958||2–5 Jul||Peter Thomson (4)||Australia||Royal Lytham & St Annes||278 (−6)||Playoff||Dave Thomas||1,000|
|1957||3–5 Jul||Bobby Locke (4)||South Africa||St Andrews||279 (−9)||3 strokes||Peter Thomson||1,000|
|1956||4–6 Jul||Peter Thomson (3)||Australia||Royal Liverpool||286 (+2)||3 strokes||Flory Van Donck||1,000|
|1955||6–8 Jul||Peter Thomson (2)||Australia||St Andrews||281 (−7)||2 strokes||John Fallon||1,000|
|1954||7–9 Jul||Peter Thomson||Australia||Royal Birkdale||283 (−5)||1 stroke|| Bobby Locke
|1953||8–10 Jul||Ben Hogan||United States||Carnoustie||282 (−6)||4 strokes|| Antonio Cerdá
Frank Stranahan (a)
|1952||9–11 Jul||Bobby Locke (3)||South Africa||Royal Lytham & St Annes||287 (−1)||1 stroke||Peter Thomson||300|
|1951||4–6 Jul||Max Faulkner||England||Royal Portrush||285 (−3)||2 strokes||Antonio Cerdá||300|
|1950||5–7 Jul||Bobby Locke (2)||South Africa||Troon||279 (−9)||2 strokes||Roberto de Vicenzo||300|
|1949||6–9 Jul||Bobby Locke||South Africa||Royal St George's||283 (−5)||Playoff||Harry Bradshaw||300|
|1948||30 Jun – 2 Jul||Henry Cotton (3)||England||Muirfield||284 (E)||5 strokes||Fred Daly||150|
|1947||2–4 Jul||Fred Daly||Northern Ireland||Royal Liverpool||293 (+5)||1 stroke|| Reg Horne
Frank Stranahan (a)
|1946||3–5 Jul||Sam Snead||United States||St Andrews||290 (+2)||4 strokes|| Johnny Bulla
|1940–45: No Championships because of World War II|
|1939||5–7 Jul||Dick Burton||England||St Andrews||290 (−2)||2 strokes||Johnny Bulla||100|
|1938||6–8 Jul||Reg Whitcombe||England||Royal St George's||295 (+15)||2 strokes||Jimmy Adams||100|
|1937||7–9 Jul||Henry Cotton (2)||England||Carnoustie||290||2 strokes||Reg Whitcombe||100|
|1936||25–27 Jun||Alf Padgham||England||Royal Liverpool||287||1 stroke||Jimmy Adams||100|
|1935||26–28 Jun||Alf Perry||England||Muirfield||283||4 strokes||Alf Padgham||100|
|1934||27–29 Jun||Henry Cotton||England||Royal St George's||283||5 strokes||Sid Brews||100|
|1933||5–8 Jul||Denny Shute||United States||St Andrews||292||Playoff||Craig Wood||100|
|1932||8–10 Jun||Gene Sarazen||United States||Prince's||283||5 strokes||Macdonald Smith||100|
|1931||3–5 Jun||Tommy Armour||United States||Carnoustie||296||1 stroke||José Jurado||100|
|1930||18–20 Jun||Bobby Jones (a) (3)||United States||Royal Liverpool||291||2 strokes|| Leo Diegel
|1929||8–10 May||Walter Hagen (4)||United States||Muirfield||292||6 strokes||Johnny Farrell||75|
|1928||9–11 May||Walter Hagen (3)||United States||Royal St George's||292||2 strokes||Gene Sarazen||75|
|1927||13–15 Jul||Bobby Jones (a) (2)||United States||St Andrews||285||6 strokes|| Aubrey Boomer
|1926||23–25 Jun||Bobby Jones (a)||United States||Royal Lytham & St Annes||291||2 strokes||Al Watrous||75|
|1925||25–26 Jun||Jim Barnes||United States||Prestwick||300||1 stroke|| Archie Compston
|1924||26–27 Jun||Walter Hagen (2)||United States||Royal Liverpool||301||1 stroke||Ernest Whitcombe||75|
|1923||14–15 Jun||Arthur Havers||England||Troon||295||1 stroke||Walter Hagen||75|
|1922||22–23 Jun||Walter Hagen||United States||Royal St George's||300||1 stroke|| Jim Barnes
|1921||23–25 Jun||Jock Hutchison||United States||St Andrews||296||Playoff||Roger Wethered (a)||75|
|1920||30 Jun – 1 Jul||George Duncan||Scotland||Royal Cinque Ports||303||2 strokes||Sandy Herd||75|
|1915–19: No Championships because of World War I|
|1914||18–19 Jun||Harry Vardon (6)||Jersey||Prestwick||306||3 strokes||J.H. Taylor||50|
|1913||23–24 Jun||J.H. Taylor (5)||England||Royal Liverpool||304||8 strokes||Ted Ray||50|
|1912||24–25 Jun||Ted Ray||Jersey||Muirfield||295||4 strokes||Harry Vardon||50|
|1911||26–30 Jun||Harry Vardon (5)||Jersey||Royal St George's||303||Playoff||Arnaud Massy||50|
|1910||21–24 Jun||James Braid (5)||Scotland||St Andrews||299||4 strokes||Sandy Herd||50|
|1909||10–11 Jun||J.H. Taylor (4)||England||Royal Cinque Ports||291||6 strokes|| Tom Ball
|1908||18–19 Jun||James Braid (4)||Scotland||Prestwick||291||8 strokes||Tom Ball||50|
|1907||20–21 Jun||Arnaud Massy||France||Royal Liverpool||312||2 strokes||J.H. Taylor||50|
|1906||13–15 Jun||James Braid (3)||Scotland||Muirfield||300||4 strokes||J.H. Taylor||50|
|1905||7–9 Jun||James Braid (2)||Scotland||St Andrews||318||5 strokes|| Rowland Jones
|1904||8–10 Jun||Jack White||Scotland||Royal St George's||296||1 stroke|| James Braid
|1903||10–11 Jun||Harry Vardon (4)||Jersey||Prestwick||300||6 strokes||Tom Vardon||50|
|1902||4–5 Jun||Sandy Herd||Scotland||Royal Liverpool||307||1 stroke|| James Braid
|1901||5–6 Jun||James Braid||Scotland||Muirfield||309||3 strokes||Harry Vardon||50|
|1900||6–7 Jun||J.H. Taylor (3)||England||St Andrews||309||8 strokes||Harry Vardon||50|
|1899||7–8 Jun||Harry Vardon (3)||Jersey||St George's||310||5 strokes||Jack White||30|
|1898||8–9 Jun||Harry Vardon (2)||Jersey||Prestwick||307||1 stroke||Willie Park, Jnr||30|
|1897||19–20 May||Harold Hilton (a) (2)||England||Royal Liverpool||314||1 stroke||James Braid||30|
|1896||10–11,13 Jun||Harry Vardon||Jersey||Muirfield||316||Playoff||J.H. Taylor||30|
|1895||12–13 Jun||J.H. Taylor (2)||England||St Andrews||322||4 strokes||Sandy Herd||30|
|1894||11–12 Jun||J.H. Taylor||England||St George's||326||5 strokes||Douglas Rolland||30|
|1893||31 Aug – 1 Sep||William Auchterlonie||Scotland||Prestwick||322||2 strokes||Johnny Laidlay (a)||30|
|1892||22–23 Sep||Harold Hilton (a)||England||Muirfield||305||3 strokes|| John Ball (a)
|1891||6–7 Oct||Hugh Kirkaldy||Scotland||St Andrews||166||2 strokes|| Willie Fernie
|1890||11 Sep||John Ball (a)||England||Prestwick||164||3 strokes|| Willie Fernie
|1889||8,11 Nov||Willie Park, Jnr (2)||Scotland||Musselburgh||155||Playoff||Andrew Kirkaldy||8|
|1888||6,8 Oct||Jack Burns||Scotland||St Andrews||171||1 stroke|| David Anderson Jr.
|1887||16 Sep||Willie Park, Jnr||Scotland||Prestwick||161||1 stroke||Bob Martin||8|
|1886||5 Nov||David Brown||Scotland||Musselburgh||157||2 strokes||Willie Campbell||8|
|1885||3 Oct||Bob Martin (2)||Scotland||St Andrews||171||1 stroke||Archie Simpson||10|
|1884||3 Oct||Jack Simpson||Scotland||Prestwick||160||4 strokes|| Willie Fernie
|1883||16–17 Nov||Willie Fernie||Scotland||Musselburgh||159||Playoff||Bob Ferguson||8|
|1882||30 Sep||Bob Ferguson (3)||Scotland||St Andrews||171||3 strokes||Willie Fernie||12|
|1881||14 Oct||Bob Ferguson (2)||Scotland||Prestwick||170||3 strokes||Jamie Anderson||8|
|1880||9 Apr||Bob Ferguson||Scotland||Musselburgh||162||5 strokes||Peter Paxton||8|
|1879||27,29 Sep||Jamie Anderson (3)||Scotland||St Andrews||169||3 strokes|| Jamie Allan
|1878||4 Oct||Jamie Anderson (2)||Scotland||Prestwick||157||2 strokes||Bob Kirk||8|
|1877||6 Apr||Jamie Anderson||Scotland||Musselburgh||160||2 strokes||Bob Pringle||8|
|1876||30 Sep, 2 Oct||Bob Martin||Scotland||St Andrews||176||Playoff||Davie Strath||10|
|1875||10 Sep||Willie Park, Snr (4)||Scotland||Prestwick||166||2 strokes||Bob Martin||8|
|1874||10 Apr||Mungo Park||Scotland||Musselburgh||159||2 strokes||Tom Morris, Jnr||8|
|1873||4 Oct||Tom Kidd||Scotland||St Andrews||179||1 stroke||Jamie Anderson||11|
|1872||13 Sep||Tom Morris, Jnr (4)||Scotland||Prestwick||166||3 strokes||Davie Strath||8|
|1871||Championship cancelled as no trophy available|
|1870||15 Sep||Tom Morris, Jnr (3)||Scotland||Prestwick||149||12 strokes|| Bob Kirk
|1869||16 Sep||Tom Morris, Jnr (2)||Scotland||Prestwick||157||11 strokes||Bob Kirk||6|
|1868||23 Sep||Tom Morris, Jnr||Scotland||Prestwick||154||3 strokes||Tom Morris, Snr||6|
|1867||26 Sep||Tom Morris, Snr (4)||Scotland||Prestwick||170||2 strokes||Willie Park, Snr||7|
|1866||13 Sep||Willie Park, Snr (3)||Scotland||Prestwick||169||2 strokes||Davie Park||6|
|1865||14 Sep||Andrew Strath||Scotland||Prestwick||162||2 strokes||Willie Park, Snr||8|
|1864||16 Sep||Tom Morris, Snr (3)||Scotland||Prestwick||167||2 strokes||Andrew Strath||6|
|1863||18 Sep||Willie Park, Snr (2)||Scotland||Prestwick||168||2 strokes||Tom Morris, Snr||-|
|1862||11 Sep||Tom Morris, Snr (2)||Scotland||Prestwick||163||13 strokes||Willie Park, Snr||-|
|1861||26 Sep||Tom Morris, Snr||Scotland||Prestwick||163||4 strokes||Willie Park, Snr||-|
|1860||17 Oct||Willie Park, Snr||Scotland||Prestwick||174||2 strokes||Tom Morris, Snr||-|
(a) denotes amateur
"Dates" column includes all days on which play took place or was planned to take place, including any playoffs
Since 1949, the Silver Medal is awarded to the leading amateur, provided that the player completes all 72 holes. In the 69 Championships from 1949 to 2017, it has been won by 44 players on 50 occasions. Frank Stranahan won it four times in the first five years (and was also the low amateur in 1947), while Joe Carr, Michael Bonallack and Peter McEvoy each won it twice. The medal has gone unawarded 19 times.
As of 2016, European Tour Productions serves as the host broadcaster for the Open Championship. The host broadcaster, as well as British and American broadcasters Sky Sports and NBC Sports, utilized a total of 175 cameras during the 2016 tournament.
In the United Kingdom, the Open Championship was historically broadcast by the BBC—a relationship which lasted from 1955 to 2015. The BBC's rights to the Open had been threatened by the event's removal from Category A of Ofcom's "listed" events, a status which legally mandated that the Open be broadcast in its entirety by a terrestrial broadcaster. It had since been moved to Category B, meaning that television rights to the tournament could now be acquired by a pay television outlet, such as BT Sport or Sky Sports, as long as rights to broadcast a highlights programme are given to one of the main terrestrial broadcasters.
Former R&A chief executive Peter Dawson had been critical of the quality of the BBC's television coverage in recent years, stating alongside its final renewal in 2010 that "They know we've got our eye on them. You have to stay in practice and keep up with advances in technology." The Guardian felt that the R&A was being "pressured" to negotiate a more lucrative broadcast deal, as the other three majors have in the United States, but also argued that viewer interest in golf could face further declines in the UK without widely available coverage.
On 3 February 2015, the R&A announced that Sky Sports had acquired broadcast rights to the Open beginning in 2017, under a five-year contract valued at £15 million per-year, doubling the value of the previous BBC contract. As required by broadcasting regulations, rights to broadcast a nightly highlights programme were also sold: the BBC acquired this highlights package. Dawson praised Sky Sports' past involvement with televised golf, explaining that "the way people consume live sport is changing significantly and this new agreement ensures fans have a range of options for enjoying the championship on television and through digital channels". The BBC chose to opt out of the final year of its existing contract, making Sky Sports' broadcast rights begin one year early, in 2016.
In the United States, ABC had historically held rights to the Open. Beginning in 2010 under an eight-year agreement, the Open moved exclusively to ABC's sister pay television channel ESPN, with only tape-delayed highlights shown on ABC. In June 2015, it was announced that NBC Sports would acquire rights to the Open Championship under a 12-year deal beginning in 2017; early round coverage airs on Golf Channel, with the main NBC network broadcasting live weekend coverage. The R&A cited NBC's successful broadcasts of Premier League football, which also primarily airs on weekend mornings in U.S. time zones, as an advantage of NBC's acquisition of The Open. Similarly to the BBC, ESPN chose to opt out of its final year of Open rights, causing NBC's rights to begin in 2016 instead.
The 2017 edition of the Open Championship will have a total of 49.5 hours of coverage in the United States, with 29 hours being on Thursday and Friday, and 20.5 hours being on Saturday and Sunday; the Golf Channel cable network will have a total of 34.5 hours of coverage, with 29 hours on Thursday and Friday, and 5.5 hours on Saturday and Sunday. The NBC broadcast network will have a total of 15 hours of coverage on the weekend, with 8 hours Saturday, and 7 hours Sunday.
The 49.5 total hours of coverage on Golf Channel and NBC remains unchanged from 2016, with the difference being that Golf Channel's total coverage goes down thirty minutes from 35 hours to 34.5 hours, and NBC's total coverage goes up thirty minutes from 14.5 hours to 15 hours.
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