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History of The Open

British and Irish Champions


The Open

Henry Cotton, the three-time Champion Golfer

There is surely no greater honour for a British or Irish player than to be crowned Champion Golfer of the Year at The Open.

Each of the first 29 editions of the Championship were won by players from The Open’s birthplace, Scotland, with Willie Park Snr, Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris Jr the most prolific victors in those formative years.

Many more golfers from Scotland, England and the island of Ireland have since followed in their footsteps by etching their name on the Claret Jug, including greats such as JH Taylor, James Braid, Sir Henry Cotton and Sir Nick Faldo.

In total, there have been 41 wins by players from Scotland (by 22 winners), 22 from England (by 13 winners), three from Northern Ireland and another three from the Republic of Ireland (by two winners).

Jersey, a British Crown Dependency, has provided two Champions with a total of seven wins, thanks largely to the sensational efforts of six-time Champion Golfer Harry Vardon, who has more Open victories than any other player. Ted Ray is the other player from Jersey to have lifted the Claret Jug.

Harry Vardon, Ted Ray, James Braid and JH Taylor

Champion Golfers Harry Vardon, Ted Ray, James Braid and JH Taylor

Wales has yet to produce a Champion Golfer, although Dai Rees, Dave Thomas and Brian Huggett have combined for six runner-up finishes at The Open.

Jock Hutchison and Tommy Armour were born in Scotland, but both men were naturalised citizens of the United States when they lifted the Claret Jug.

Here is a list of every British and Irish golfer to have won The Open, from Park Snr to Shane Lowry.


Willie Park Snr (4) Scotland - 1860, 1863, 1866, 1875 (all at Prestwick)

Old Tom Morris (4) Scotland - 1861, 1862, 1864, 1867 (all at Prestwick)

Andrew Strath Scotland - 1865 (Prestwick)

Young Tom Morris (4) Scotland - 1868, 1869, 1870, 1872 (all at Prestwick)

Young Tom Morris

Young Tom Morris, who won four Opens in a row from 1868

Tom Kidd Scotland - 1873 (St Andrews)

Mungo Park Scotland - 1874 (Musselburgh)

Bob Martin (2) Scotland - 1876, 1885 (both at St Andrews)

Jamie Anderson (3) Scotland - 1877 (Musselburgh), 1878 (Prestwick), 1879 (St Andrews)

Bob Ferguson (3) Scotland - 1880 (Musselburgh), 1881 (Prestwick), 1882 (St Andrews)

Willie Fernie Scotland - 1883 (Musselburgh)

Jack Simpson Scotland - 1884 (Prestwick)

David Brown Scotland - 1886 (Musselburgh)

Willie Park Jr (2) Scotland - 1887 (Prestwick), 1889 (Musselburgh)

Jack Burns Scotland - 1888 (St Andrews)

John Ball Jnr England - 1890 (Prestwick)

John Ball Jnr

John Ball Jnr, the first English Champion Golfer

Hugh Kirkaldy Scotland - 1891 (St Andrews)

Harold Hilton (2) England - 1892 (Muirfield), 1897 (Royal Liverpool)

Willie Auchterlonie Scotland - 1893 (Prestwick)

John Henry Taylor (5) England - 1894 (Royal St George’s), 1895 (St Andrews), 1900 (St Andrews), 1909 (Royal Cinque Ports), 1913 (Royal Liverpool)

Harry Vardon (6) Jersey - 1896 (Muirfield), 1898 (Prestwick), 1899 (Royal St George’s), 1903 (Prestwick), 1911 (Royal St George’s), 1914 (Prestwick)

James Braid (5) Scotland - 1901 (Muirfield), 1905 (St Andrews), 1906 (Muirfield), 1908 (Prestwick), 1910 (St Andrews)

Sandy Herd Scotland - 1902 (Royal Liverpool)

Jack White Scotland - 1904 (Royal St George’s)

Ted Ray Jersey - 1912 (Muirfield)

George Duncan Scotland - 1920 (Royal Cinque Ports)

George Duncan at St Andrews

George Duncan on the opening tee at St Andrews

Arthur Havers England - 1923 (Royal Troon)

Jim Barnes England - 1925 (Prestwick)

Sir Henry Cotton (3) England - 1934 (Royal St George’s), 1937 (Carnoustie), 1948 (Muirfield)

Alf Perry England - 1935 (Muirfield)

Alf Padgham England - 1936 (Royal Liverpool)

Reg Whitcombe England - 1938 (Royal St George’s)

Dick Burton England - 1939 (St Andrews)

Fred Daly Northern Ireland - 1947 (Royal Liverpool)

Fred Daly, the Champion Golfer of 1947

Fred Daly celebrates winning The Open in 1947

Max Faulkner England - 1951 (Royal Portrush)

Tony Jacklin England - 1969 (Royal Lytham & St Annes)

Sandy Lyle Scotland - 1985 (Royal St George’s)

Sir Nick Faldo (3) England - 1987 (Muirfield), 1990 (St Andrews), 1992 (Muirfield)

Paul Lawrie Scotland - 1999 (Carnoustie)

Padraig Harrington (2) Republic of Ireland - 2007 (Carnoustie), 2008 (Royal Birkdale)

Darren Clarke Northern Ireland - 2011 (Royal St George’s)

Rory McIlroy Northern Ireland - 2014 (Royal Liverpool)

Shane Lowry Republic of Ireland - 2019 (Royal Portrush)

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