Five memorable shots from The Open at Royal Troon
Royal Troon has provided a plethora of memorable moments throughout its eight previous stagings of The Open. Here are five historic shots that helped shape the eventual outcome of each Championship.
1923 – Arthur Havers’ bunker shot on the final hole
It was the Golden Age of golf and Walter Hagen bestrode the era with flair and panache. But when Troon staged The Open for the first time in 1923, a greenside bunker on the final hole proved his undoing and cost him back-to-back titles.
A winner at Royal St George’s 12 months earlier, Hagen found himself in sand after his approach to the final hole. Moments earlier, Havers had been in the same position and sensationally holed out for birdie.
Hagen needed to repeat the trick, but failed and Havers was crowned Champion Golfer of the Year.
1973 - Gene Sarazen’s hole-in-one
In 1923 American Gene Sarazen missed out on qualifying for The Open at Troon by just one shot. Exactly 50 years later his week was once again all about one shot.
Wearing plus fours and a flat cap, the 71-year-old winner of the 1932 Championship climbed to the elevated tee of the 126-yard par-three 8th hole - the famous Postage Stamp - and struck his 5-iron low into the wind. It fell to earth short of the hole, landed softly and trickled into the cup.
In 1973 television coverage was far from the all-seeing exercise it is today, but the ace was captured by the cameras and it flashed across the world.
1982 - Bobby Clampett’s tee shot on the 6th in the third round
The 22-year-old played the first two rounds in 67-66 to lead the field by five strokes, and after five holes of his third round Clampett had extended the advantage to seven shots.
Feted following a stellar amateur career, the American appeared on course to not only win a first Major, but become a superstar of the game - until his tee shot on the 577-yard par-five 6th hole found a bunker.
It took him two shots to get out of the sand and he found more trouble in high grass on his way to triple-bogey eight, which prompted a sad slide into a tie for tenth place.
1989 - Greg Norman’s final hole tee shot in the play-off
For 20 holes of the final day Norman was imperious. He began by crafting a superb course record 8-under-par 64 to tie America’s Mark Calcavecchia and the 54-hole leader, Wayne Grady.
In the first ever four-hole play-off Norman took immediate control with two birdies, but a bogey on the third hole - the 17th - left him in a tie with Calcavecchia.
From the final tee the Australian unleashed a ferocious drive which reached a sand trap he believed to be out of reach - it was an error he would forever rue. His second shot found more sand and his third flew out of bounds. Norman's race was run and Calcavecchia was triumphant.
1997 - Darren Clarke 2nd hole tee shot in the final round
Jesper Parnevik led Clarke by two going into the final round, but the Northern Irishman had a three shot advantage of his own over third placed Jim Furyk. So when Clarke nearly drove the green on the par-four 1st hole, before making birdie to move within one of the Swede, the inevitability of a final round head-to-head battle seemed assured.
Alas for Clarke, within minutes his challenge had been derailed. He shanked his 3-iron tee shot from the 2nd tee onto the beach, made double-bogey and played the rest of the day in recovery mode.
Parnevik fared little better as the pair were passed in some style by the Champion Justin Leonard. Clarke would have to wait 14 years for his redemption - victory at Royal St George’s in 2011.