Founded in 1886, Royal Lytham & St Annes is one of the premier links courses in the world and has hosted The Open on eleven occasions.
Though a relatively short course, the routing of the holes and the huge number of bunkers – some 200 in all – make it one of the most challenging of the Open venues. The Lancashire course could hardly have had a better introduction to Championship golf than the victory by legendary American amateur Bobby Jones when The Open was first played there in 1926. Bobby Locke (1952), Peter Thomson (1958) and Bob Charles (1963) were the next three winners before Tony Jacklin signalled the revival of British golf in 1969 with the first home victory since Max Faulkner 18 years earlier at Royal Portrush.
Gary Player was next on the podium at Lytham, in 1974, and in 1979 Seve Ballesteros lit the fuse of European golf with a brilliant short game display – as well as a recovery shot from a car park – to finish three shots clear of Jack Nicklaus and Ben Crenshaw. Seve returned in 1988 to win his third Open title, closing with a round of 65. Ernie Els is the most recent champion in 2012, securing his second Open title.