Fireworks fly down the years at The Open
Fireworks night is here so expect sparks to fly.
And The Open is no stranger to explosive final days – with a number of magical match-ups standing out throughout the years of the battle for the illustrious Claret Jug.
And to celebrate Guy Fawkes night, here are some of our favourite spectacular finishes that caught fire down the stretch.
Remember remember, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, Old and Young Tom Morris, and Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson…
SPIETH STUNS SOUTHPORT
Fans of The Open in recent years have been spoiled by the quality of the golf and closeness of the finishes on show.
Francesco Molinari’s win this year at Carnoustie was not short of thrills, with Tiger Woods taking the lead on the back nine.
But for our first dramatic denouement, we have opted for the year before and Jordan Spieth’s stunning back nine against Matt Kuchar.
Spieth’s final round had it all, the youngster blowing a three-short overnight lead at Royal Birkdale by the turn.
Then his now-infamous travails at the 13th put his compatriot Kuchar in the lead for the first time.
But thereafter, Spieth was unstoppable, finishing birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie to claim a three-shot win.
With that he became only the second player after Jack Nicklaus to win three of golf’s four majors before the age of 24 and the second-youngest Open winner since Seve Ballesteros’s first back in 1979.
And it wasn’t just on the course that Spieth showed his class.
“Matt, I really enjoyed battling with you buddy,” Spieth said on the 18th green after the trophy presentation.
“Obviously, it could have went to either one of us. I got the good breaks. What a great champion Matt Kuchar is, and what a class act.
“I took about 20 minutes to play one of my shots, and Matt took it in stride, smiled, and...there’s not many people who would have done that, and it speaks to the man you are, and you set a great example for all of us.”
A TROON TORNADO
Only one year earlier and we have potentially the most explosive finish of them all as Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson went head-to-head at Royal Troon.
These two men in that summer of 2016 were playing on a different planet to the rest of the field.
It all began on Thursday when Mickelson had a putt lip out for a major record 62 on the 18th.
Stenson had to reel him in – and by Sunday, the Swede led the American by a shot at 12-under with Bill Haas in third six shots further back.
"When I hit that final putt...I knew I'd won." 😄— The Open (@TheOpen) June 10, 2017
Henrik Stenson's Open Flashback...coming soon.👀 pic.twitter.com/MMCRIXmlj8
But even that could not prepare the crowds for the magical Sunday that unfolded.
On the first hole, Mickelson made a birdie and Stenson three-putted for a bogey, the swing giving Mickelson a one-shot lead.
And from then after, it was a roller coaster. Birdie for birdie, eagle for eagle, the two tamed Royal Troon like few have ever managed before.
Stenson’s massive putt on 15th stands out while his driver just missing the bunker on 18 was the icing on the cake – but really both men deserve enormous credit, even if it was Stenson who emerged with the Claret Jug.
Stenson's 20-under 264 was the lowest score in major history and the 41-year-old Swede’s final-round eight-under-par 63 equalled the lowest score for a major championship round.
THE DUEL IN THE SUN
Throughout Mickelson v Stenson at Troon two years ago, the comparison was drawn again and again to the most famous of them all.
Turnberry in the long hot summer of 1977 – the Duel in the Sun and The Open most remembered for its Sunday fireworks.
While Stenson and Mickelson played the better golf to par at Troon in 2016, for drama, there was nothing to match the Watson-Nicklaus clash.
The No.1 and No.2 players in the game, playing alongside each other all weekend, and Nicklaus’ 65-66 finish edged out by Watson’s 65-65.
The Sunday began with Nicklaus – ten years Watson’s senior at 37 – throwing down the gauntlet to his rival to move three shots clear after four holes.
But back came Watson and as the crowds swelled – and stampedes threatened until Nicklaus put his foot down – it went back and forth.
They had lapped the field, finishing 10 and 11 shots clear of the third-placed player Hubert Green, who uttered the immortal line: "I won this golf tournament. I don't know what game those other two guys were playing."
The 18th hole at Turnberry has been renamed to honour this famous finish and even though Watson had a tiddler to win it all, Nicklaus made him sweat it by holing a monstrous 35-footer at the last.
But Watson held his nerve – and Nicklaus was the first to congratulate his rival: “I gave you my best shot and it wasn’t enough!”.
FATHER AND SON
The list of Open winners does not quite stretch back to Guy Fawkes’ plot at the start of the 17th century.
But there are still some historical golfing tales from centuries gone by that can capture the imagination.
Not least The Open of 1868 that saw Young Tom Morris claim his first Championship – at the expense of his own father Old Tom Morris.
That has never happened before or since in the illustrious history of this tournament.
And the father and son traded the lead over the three rounds at Prestwick, where Morris senior was the groundsman and greenkeeper.
Old Tom was a heavy favourite to retain the title after becoming the oldest Champion, aged 46 years and 102-days-old, at Prestwick a year earlier.
But Morris Jnr had already proved he could beat his old man when he was 13 in a friendly game at St Andrews while Old Tom was reigning Champion Golfer.
And this final round to seal the first of his four wins was suitably spectacular.
His round included four threes in five holes from the seventh and despite having a comfortable advantage going into the last, Young Tom went for the green in two and made a four.
He would go on to secure the game’s first hole in one the year later as part of four titles in a row.