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History of The Open

Biggest victories at The Open


Record post-war winning margins

Louis Oosthuizen with the Claret Jug after winning The Open in 2010

Louis Oosthuizen, who celebrated his 38th birthday on Monday, is responsible for one of the most emphatic wins in the post-war history of The Open.

Oosthuizen cantered to victory at St Andrews in 2010, his winning total of 16 under par putting him seven clear of nearest rival Lee Westwood.

To mark the South African’s birthday, we look at where his success sits among the most convincing Open triumphs of the last 75 years.


8 strokes – Tiger Woods, 2000, St Andrews

The biggest margin of victory in any post-war Open was achieved by Tiger Woods at the Old Course 20 years ago.

In a truly dominant display that ensured he completed a career Grand Slam at the age of 24, Woods led by three at the halfway point and was five clear after 54 holes.

That set up a final-round procession for Woods, with the world number one winning by eight with a total of 19 under par, the lowest winning score at The Open until Henrik Stenson posted 20 under par at Royal Troon in 2016.

Tiger Woods on his way to victory in The Open in 2000 at St Andrews

Tiger Woods in 2000, on his way to the most dominant post-war win at The Open

7 strokes – Louis Oosthuizen, 2010, St Andrews

The home of golf played host to another emphatic win 10 years later, albeit a somewhat more surprising one.

While Woods had been the world number one when he won convincingly at St Andrews in 2000 and 2005, Oosthuizen was ranked 54th in the world in 2010, claiming his maiden major title in style.

Oosthuizen began the week with a superb 65, bettered only by Rory McIlroy’s course-record-equalling 63, and was five ahead after 36 holes.

He went on to win by seven and has since contended for further major victories on a regular basis, accomplishing the rare feat of finishing runner-up at all four majors, including again at St Andrews in The 144th Open.


6 strokes – Arnold Palmer, 1962, Royal Troon // Johnny Miller, 1976, Royal Birkdale // Shane Lowry, 2019, Royal Portrush

Shane Lowry’s victory at Royal Portrush last year was the joint-third most emphatic Open triumph since the Second World War.

Lowry’s success owed much to a spectacular third-round 63 that lifted him into a four-shot lead, before the Irishman held his nerve superbly to pull further clear of Tommy Fleetwood on the final day.

Shane Lowry on the final hole at Royal Portrush in 2019

Shane Lowry soaks up the adulation of the crowd on Royal Portrush's 18th

Prior to Lowry, two charismatic Americans had registered the most recent six-shot wins at The Open.

Johnny Miller was two behind a teenage Seve Ballesteros heading into the final round at Royal Birkdale in 1976, but it was the Californian who charged to victory with a closing 66.

In 1962 at Royal Troon, defending champion Arnold Palmer was a class apart on the final day, shooting 67 in the morning and 69 in the afternoon to finish half a dozen strokes ahead of Kel Nagle at 12 under par.


5 strokes – Sir Henry Cotton, 1948, Muirfield // Tony Lema, 1964, St Andrews // Greg Norman, 1986, Turnberry // Sir Nick Faldo, 1990, St Andrews // Tiger Woods, 2005, St Andrews

Five players have won The Open by five shots since 1945, with three of those victories – by Tony Lema, Nick Faldo and Woods – coming at St Andrews, the venue for Woods’ and Oosthuizen’s respective eight- and seven-shot triumphs.

Henry Cotton secured his third and final Open title by five shots in 1948, winning £150 in the process, while Greg Norman won by the same margin in 1986 at Turnberry, thanks largely to a magnificent 63 in round two.

Greg Norman following his Open victory at Turnberry in 1986

Greg Norman kisses the Claret Jug after winning The Open in 1986