Few events in any sport carry the prestige and have the kind of history that The Open does. Played in July, The Open is the third major in the calendar year, yet it is the oldest of all the major championships and has been a proving ground for some of the best professionals from around the world. With the tournament stretching back all the way to 1860, it’s easy to understand why The Open is one of the most anticipated events of the year for golfing fans.
Like most of the majors, The Open is a punishing challenge, and this year the 145th British Open will take place at Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland. A links style course, the Royal Troon’s Old Course has both the longest and shortest holes out of the any of The Open’s regularly cycled courses. Pros will have to demonstrate both their proficiency with their long game and their accuracy in their short game.
Over the impressive history of The Open, a number of exciting moments have emerged. We’ve put together our three favorite moments of The Open to get you excited about this event:
1) “The Duel in the Sun”
There is a reason why this showdown between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson is consistently ranked one of the best moments in The Open’s history: it was two amazing golfers at the top of their game. While The Open is an international event, the two Americans dominated the leaderboard and thus their only real competition was each other. Going into the last hole on the last day, Watson had a slight advantage coming into the last hole, although the two had been neck and neck throughout the entire tournament. Things were looking great for Watson after Nicklaus hit his tee shot into thick rough, but in an amazing display of power and skill, the Golden Bear managed to salvage his game by making it to the green and putting the ball just 35 feet from the hole. While Watson had an easy tap-in to win the tournament, Nicklaus sunk the difficult shot, laying the pressure on Watson to sink the easy shot. However, nerves prevailed and he ended up winning The Open, but sweeter than the win was the memorialized rivalry between Nicklaus and Watson that day.
2) The Open’s punishment
In 1999, The Open showed what true punishment looked like (although we’re sure there were also some jitters involved as well) when Jean Van de Velde had a complete meltdown. On the verge of being the first French champion since 1907, Van de Velde had a three stroke lead and just needed to shoot better than a double bogey. Unfortunately, things went downhill for Van de Velde fast. His second shot went into the water, where the Frenchman actually considered playing the ball instead of taking a drop. The next shot put him in the bunker… and eventually a triple bogey, which landed him in a playoff against Justin Leonard and Paul Lawrie. The damage had already been done and without any momentum, Van de Velde lost.
3) Tiger’s Dominance
In 2000, Tiger Woods completed a career Grand Slam by winning The Open at the age of 24 and won his first Open title. Almost as impressive: he managed to avoid all of the 112 bunkers on the Old Course. The symbolism of this win couldn’t be more perfect. As Tiger began his final round, the legendary Jack Nicklaus waved goodbye to fans on the 18th.
We love watching professional golf because it inspires us to get out and play or work on our swings. If you get as inspired watching The Open as we do, contact AMPD Golf Fitness today. Our Feel Better program will have you feeling great and playing well for years to come.