Tiger Woods again dominated on the Old Course to become the fifth player to win two Opens at St Andrews after Bob Martin, JH Taylor, James Braid and Jack Nicklaus.
Earlier in the week, however, Woods had to share top billing with Nicklaus, who bowed out of The Open for the last time with a birdie on the 18th green on Friday evening.
A huge crowd lined the 18th fairway to provide an emotional send-off, the three-time Champion having stopped on the Swilcan Bridge with his playing partners Luke Donald and Tom Watson.
It was Watson who had most difficulty in holding back the tears. Nicklaus had missed the cut, as did Tony Jacklin, the 1969 Champion also on his last appearance.
By Friday evening Woods was leading by four strokes following rounds of 66 and 67. On the weekend he added scores of 71 and 70 to finish on 14 under par and win by five strokes from Colin Montgomerie. Woods became the sixth player to win by leading after every round, following Ted Ray, Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen, Henry Cotton and Tom Weiskopf.
Playing alongside Woods on Saturday, Montgomerie was pleased to outscore the leader by a stroke but on Sunday, when he was in the group in front, he could not keep up the pressure long enough.
Roared on by the Scottish fans, Monty had three birdies going out but three bogeys coming home. Jose Maria Olazabal, Tiger’s closest challenger, faded to a 74 and shared third place with Fred Couples.
Victory completed a second career Grand Slam for Woods – the first having come at St Andrews five years earlier – and brought his tally of major titles to 10. “Honestly, when I started playing the tour, I didn’t think I would have this many majors before the age of 30,” he said.