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Open Insight

Consecutive Open appearances


Eight active golfers with longest unbroken Championship stints

Ernie Els in action at Royal Liverpool in 2023

Adam Scott is set to extend an impressive run of consecutive appearances at The Open.

The former world number one secured his spot at Royal Troon by taking one of the qualification spots on offer at the ISPS Handa Australian Open at the weekend.

Next year’s Championship will be Scott’s 24th successive stint in golf’s original major stretching back to his debut appearance at St Andrews in 2000.

It is not, however, the longest current run of unbroken* Open appearances.

That accolade goes to modern-day great Ernie Els who has, remarkably, appeared in every Open Championship since 1992.

The South African has collected two Claret Jugs during this astonishing run, in 2002 and 2012.

We take a closer look at the eight golfers who are enjoying the longest active appearance streaks at The Open.

*there was no Championship in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ernie Els: 1992-present

Els’s first taste of The Open came at Royal Troon in 1989 when he missed the cut.

He reappeared at Muirfield in 1992, finishing fifth, and he hasn’t missed an Open since. Alongside his two victories, he has finished in the top 10 on 11 other occasions.

And such was his brilliance at the turn of the century, ‘Big Easy’ finished in the top 5 six times between 2000 and 2007.

A fan favourite for many years, Els wowed the galleries with a hole-in-one at Royal Troon’s famous ‘Postage Stamp’ in 2004.

Adam Scott in action at Royal Liverpool in 2023

Adam Scott: 2000-present

Scott would be forgiven a wry smile at seeing Els above him in another Open-related list.

For it was clubhouse leader Els who pipped Scott to the Claret Jug at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2012, when the Australian faltered on the home stretch by bogeying the final four holes, in doing so relinquishing his four-shot lead.

Scott bounced back in commendable fashion by winning The Masters at Augusta the following April.

He then went on to display a great level of consistency on links courses by finishing in the top 10 in his next three Opens.

Furthermore, Scott has only missed the cut five times during his 23 appearances.

Padraig Harrington in action at Royal Liverpool in 2023

Padraig Harrington: 2006-present

There is perhaps no greater example of the variation and difficulty of links courses than to glance at Harrington’s Open record in the mid-noughties.

By 2004, the Irishman had already appeared in eight Championships, finishing fifth twice.

But then came two consecutive missed cuts – at Troon in 2004 and Royal Liverpool in 2006 – followed by back-to-back Claret Jugs, captured at Carnoustie in 2007 and Royal Birkdale in 2008, the year in which he also won the PGA Championship.

He was the first player from the Republic of Ireland to win The Open and is the last man to have successfully defended the title.

Darren Clarke in action at Royal Liverpool in 2023

Darren Clarke: 2009-present

Clarke’s Open odyssey began at Royal Birkdale in 1991 – and the popular Northern Irishman would have appeared in every Championship since, had it not been for missing just one edition, in 2008.

His champagne moment came at Royal St George’s in 2011 when he won the trophy he craved the most.

He can also boast three other top-10 finishes, in 1997, 2000 and 2001.

He later said: “If I could pick one out of all of them, I would pick The Open. It’s the oldest, the biggest, and the best. And I would like to have won more of them.”

Louis Oosthuizen in action at Royal Liverpool in 2023

Louis Oosthuizen: 2009-present

It took Oosthuizen some time to fully get to grips with major golf as he missed the cut in six of his first seven attempts, including at The Open in 2009.

But then something clicked.

Renowned for having one of the smoothest swings on tour, the South African put his stamp on the game by triumphing at the home of golf in 2010. His seven-stroke victory over Lee Westwood represents the second-biggest winning margin in The Open since 1913, beaten only by Tiger Woods in 2000.

Dustin Johnson in action at Royal Liverpool in 2023

Dustin Johnson: 2009-present

Johnson has been one of the most consistent players in the game since making his breakthrough in the late-noughties.

His highlights are two major victories, at the US Open in 2016 and The Masters in 2020. These are just two of his 23 top-10 finishes in majors since 2009, the year he made his Open bow.

He missed the cut on debut but soon became accustomed to links golf, finishing T14, T2 and T9 on his next three trips across the pond.

Johnson missed the cut at Royal Liverpool last time out but was T6 at The 150th Open at St Andrews and T8 at Royal St George’s in 2021.

Francesco Molinari: 2009-present

Molinari became the first Italian Champion Golfer when he held off Woods in the final round of the 2018 Open at Carnoustie.

It was part of an unforgettable season, which also brought a maiden PGA Tour success at the BMW Championship and the notable achievement of becoming the first European to win all five games at a Ryder Cup.

Molinari has finished in The Open’s top 15 six times, the last occasion coming at St Andrews in 2022.

Phil Mickelson: 2010-present

Mickelson has only missed one Open since 1994 – in 2009, when he took a break from the game to support his wife’s recovery from breast cancer.

A six-time major winner, Lefty finally got his hands on the Claret Jug in 2013, when he put on an exhibition of putting on Muirfield’s sun-baked greens.

And although he didn’t get over the line at Royal Troon in 2016, Mickelson shared the stage with eventual Champion Golfer Henrik Stenson as they produced a final-day duel for the ages.