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History of The Open



Moments of misfortune at The Open

Pressure can do funny things to golfers – especially when competing at The Open.

There have been many moments that have been burnt into memories at golf’s most prestigious major as players have wilted under the pressure of challenging for the Claret Jug.

Who could forget Jean van de Velde at Carnoustie in 1999? Or Tony Jacklin at Muirfield in 1972 after three-putting the penultimate hole?

But while tension can play a large part in proceedings, there have also been a number of golfers who have been left to rue their luck after falling foul of The Open’s links venues.

Here’s a look at recent memorable moments of misfortune.

A sandy grave for Finau

There are few par-three holes in the world more famous than the 8th at Royal Troon.

The Postage Stamp has caused many players grief since the South Ayrshire course made it’s Open debut in 1923 due to the hole’s high tee ground and narrow green.

Tony Finau is among those to have suffered, but when the American targeted the green during his penultimate round in 2016 he couldn’t have imagined the bad luck that would follow.

Playing just hundred yards, Finau flicked a wedge just beyond the hole before watching it spin back and hit the cup before rolling all the way down the green and into the bunker.

From being within a whisker of scoring a hole-in-one, Finau incredibly found himself in the right greenside pot bunker. He ended up bogeying the eighth hole.

Record-breaking disappointment

In fact, Royal Troon was a particularly cruel mistress in 2016 – as Phil Mickelson also found out.

The 2013 Champion Golfer produced the round of his life in the opening round as he posted four birdies on the front nine and four on the back for a brilliant 63.

But it could have been even better for Mickelson had it not been for an unlucky break on the last hole, where he had a putt for the first ever 62 in major championship golf history.

Everyone thought Lefty’s birdie effort was in, with the crowd ready to hail a new record, but to the dismay of Mickelson the ball fell slightly to the right and lipped around and out.

Having missed a place in history by a millimetre, Mickelson admitted afterwards that he “felt like crying” as he was forced to settle for joining the 63 club.

Spieth’s Slam hopes ended

Before Jordan Spieth was crowned Champion Golfer for the first time in 2017, the American came agonisingly close to winning his first Claret Jug at St Andrews two years earlier.

Spieth was the hottest golfer on the planet at the time and had already won his first major at that year’s Masters before adding the US Open in sensational style at Chambers Bay.

The then 21-year-old became only the sixth player to win the Masters and US Open in the same year and turned up at the Old Course in search of golf’s holy grail – the Grand Slam.

And he looked primed to claim the third leg of the historic feat after trailing by one shot going into the final round, with Zach Johnson, Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen tied for the lead.

Spieth remained in contention going down the last hole and needed a birdie at the last to get into the play-off – only to see his brilliant chip come within inches of going in.