time The Open was played at Royal St George's, the world watched in astonishment
as Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh fell just short, Thomas Bjorn imploded in the
Sandwich sand and unknown rookie Ben Curtis walked away with the Claret Jug.
dramatic afternoon is just one of the great Open Championship moments witnessed in this corner of Kent. We take a look at the top five moments
from Royal St George's Opens over the years.
JH Taylor shoots four rounds in the 80s - and wins
was one of golf's 'Great Triumvirate' of the late 19th and early 20th
centuries, dominating the game in Britain for three decades alongside Harry
Vardon and James Braid.
the career achievements of the five-times Open winner there is an unusual stat:
Taylor holds the record for being the 'worst' ever winner of the tournament,
having posted rounds of 84, 80, 81 and 81 for a total of 326 at Royal St George's
in 1894, when The Open was first played outside Scotland.
as it might sound to modern ears, those scores were enough to give him a five-shot
victory over Douglas Rolland after a brutal week on a course whose heavy rough,
huge sandhills and enforced carries were largely unknown at the time. Only two
players managed to break 80 during the week, Rolland and third-placed Andrew
Kirkcaldy, while Braid made the top 10 despite failing to even break 90 in the
Harry Bradshaw bottles it
Bradshaw was bidding to become the Republic of Ireland's first ever Major
champion at Royal St George's in 1949, and was in the thick of competition
after a brilliant opening round of 68.
But on the
fifth hole of his second round, he suffered a freak mishap which ended up
costing him the title. His tee shot into the rough finished in a broken beer
bottle left behind by a spectator and Bradshaw, unconfident of the rule that
allowed him a free drop, decided to play the ball as it lay.
his eyes up tight he took aim and swung at the bottle, sending broken glass
flying everywhere but moving the sphere just a few yards. Shaken, he posted a
77, and despite two solid final rounds ended up in a play-off with
up-and-coming South African superstar Bobby Locke.
dominated the 36-hole play-off completely, beating Bradshaw by 12 shots - and
forcing Ireland to wait until 2007 to see an Open champion from the Emerald Isle,
when Padraig Harrington won at Carnoustie.
Greg Norman shoots the greatest final round in
Open at Royal St George's produced some truly stunning golf, with Nick Faldo's
second-round 63 often hailed as one of the best ever played in Major
achievement was matched by Greg Norman on the Sunday as the top three players
in the world threw everything at each other. Alongside Norman and defending
champion Faldo was reigning Masters champion Bernhard Langer, who was also in
the hunt on the final afternoon - but it was the big-hitting Australian who came
every drive and flushed every approach, with shot after shot barely missing the
flag as he produced a torrent of birdies. Only an almost comical missed tap-in
on the penultimate hole stopped Norman winning with a final-round 63 - an astonishing
feat considering the tough final-round pins. Faldo and Langer meanwhile were left scratching their heads after their own final-round 67s, which were
both exceptional and would have been good enough to win in normal
later described his golf as the greatest round of his life.
whole career I'd never before gone round a golf course and not mis-hit a
single shot," he said. "I was playing a game of chess out there,
hitting the ball into position in the fairway where I could get it to the best
spot on the green. I didn't want the round to end. I wished it could have been
Trio break the 70 barrier
In 1904, 10 years
after Royal St George's saw the highest ever winning score at an Open, it
witnessed scoring at the other end of the spectrum as golfers fired the first
ever sub-70 rounds in Major golf history.
First James Braid fired a 69 in his third round, becoming the first man ever to break 70
at The Open.
Jack White had been well behind Harry Vardon at the halfway point of the
tournament, but Vardon's implosion on the 36 holes of the event's third and
final day saw him out of the picture.
taken control of the tournament with a third-round 72 then appeared to have
blown the field away with a closing 69 of his own.
two behind White after 54 holes, had other ideas. Teeing off later than the
Scot (the players did not go out in reverse order in the final round until
years later), Taylor threw everything he had at the Sandwich layout.
Although he managed to establish a new Open record of 68, he finished one shot behind to end joint second with Braid.
Sandy Lyle ends British drought - and sparks
Jacklin's victory in The Open at Royal Lytham ended an 18-year wait for a
home-grown Open champion - but sparked a further 16-year drought for British
players in their home championship.
ended when Sandy Lyle battled to victory at a wind-battered Open in 1985.
Bernhard Langer, American Tom Kite and Australia's David Graham all had
chances, but one by one they fell by the wayside.
did the same: he fluffed a chip on the final hole that rolled back almost to
his feet and ended up with a bogey, but Langer and Graham both missed the final
green to hand the title to the Scot.
was significant: Seve Ballesteros had been the first European to take the fight
to the Americans, but Lyle's win at Sandwich, along with Langer's at Augusta
three months earlier and the European win at the Ryder Cup later that year (the
first American defeat since 1957) gave European
golf a huge psychological boost which persists to this day.