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History of The Open

The Open 2012-2022


Key moments from the last ten Championships

Irishman Shane Lowry won The Open on home soil in 2019

Every year The Open throws up storylines that go down in the annals.

From Bobby Jones completing his unique Grand Slam to the Duel in the Sun, golf’s original major is synonymous with some of the sport’s most captivating moments.

Here we take a closer look at the key events from the last decade:

2022 – The 150th Open, St Andrews

Champion Golfer of the Year: Cameron Smith (-20)
Winning score: 268
Lowest scoresR1: Cameron Young (64), R2: Cameron Smith (64), R3: Kevin Kisner (65), Final round: Cameron Smith & Sam Burns (64)

It was perhaps fitting that a number of landmarks were reached during the historic 150th staging of The Open.

Cameron Smith became the first Champion Golfer to shoot two scores of 64 or better on his way to lifting the Claret Jug.

The Australian, who signed for a 268, then went on to equal Henrik Stenson’s Open aggregate record of 20-under-par.

Smith came home in just 30 on the Sunday – a remarkable run that included five straight birdies from the 10th – as he fended off 2014 Champion Rory McIlroy and eventual runner-up Cameron Young to clinch his maiden major title.

And a new Championship attendance record was set as 290,000 fans flocked to the home of golf for Smith’s crowning glory.

2021 – The 149th Open, Royal St George’s

Champion Golfer of the Year: Collin Morikawa (-15)
Winning score: 265
Lowest scores: R1: Louis Oosthuizen (64), R2: Collin Morikawa, Emiliano Grillo and Jon Rahm (64), R3: Robert MacIntyre (65), Final round: Brooks Koepka (65)

Debutant Collin Morikawa posted a blemish-free final-round 66 as he made history at the 149th Open.

He became the first man to win on his first appearance at two different majors, having previously triumphed at the 2020 PGA Championship. The Californian was also the first player since Bobby Jones in 1926 to win two majors in eight or fewer starts.

And if that wasn’t enough, Morikawa set a new record for the lowest score at Royal St George’s; his 265 strokes beating Greg Norman’s 1993 effort by two.

Meanwhile, the shot of the Championship came from Jonathan Thomson – the tallest player in DP World Tour history at 6ft 9in – who brought the house down with a hole-in-one at the par-3 16th on the Friday.

The 149th Open was delayed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Collin Morikawa poses with the Claret Jug after winning The Open in 2021

Collin Morikawa won the Claret Jug at the first time of asking

2019 – The 148th Open, Royal Portrush

Champion Golfer of the Year: Shane Lowry (-15)
Winning score: 269
Lowest scores: R1: JB Holmes (66), R2: Justin Harding, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Kevin Streelman (65), R3: Shane Lowry (63), Final round: Francesco Molinari (66)

Home favourite Shane Lowry became the fifth Irish golfer to win the Claret Jug when he triumphed at Royal Portrush.

The Open was being staged in Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951 and proud Offaly man Lowry gave the partisan crowd the outcome they craved.

Lowry had missed his last four cuts at the Championship but he carded back-to-back 67s to take a share of the lead with JB Holmes.

He then blew the field away on the Saturday with a sensational bogey-free 63 – a course record for the new Portrush layout – before holding off Tommy Fleetwood in the final round.

“It's just incredible to be sitting here with a trophy in front of me,” said Lowry after his victory. “Look at the names on it. I couldn't believe it was happening.”

2018 – The 147th Open, Carnoustie

Champion Golfer of the Year: Francesco Molinari (-8)
Winning score: 276
Lowest scores: R1: Kevin Kisner (66), R2: Tommy Fleetwood (65), R3: Justin Rose (64), Final round: Eddie Pepperell (67)

Francesco Molinari was the toast of Turin after becoming Italy’s first major winner.

A Carnoustie record of 172,000 spectators witnessed a typically steady performance by the eventual Champion Golfer which was supplemented by a bogey-free weekend.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy took turns to threaten on the Angus links but Molinari persevered; his birdie at the last securing a two-shot victory over Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner, Xander Schauffele and McIlroy.

Meanwhile, on the Saturday, South African Zander Lombard became the first man to eagle the course’s tricky 18th hole.

2017 – The 146th Open, Royal Birkdale

Champion Golfer of the Year: Jordan Spieth (-12)
Winning score: 268
Lowest scores: R1: Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth (65), R2: Zach Johnson (66), R3: Branden Grace (62), Final round: Haotong Li (63)

When only Jack Nicklaus’s name is above yours in the record books you know you’re doing something right.

Jordan Spieth’s victory at Royal Birkdale meant the Texan had collected his third major by the age of just 23 – with only the Golden Bear achieving the feat at a younger age.

His hard-fought win on the Southport links included a fine recovery from a bad start to his final round, as well as a quite calamitous episode on the 13th, as he added the Claret Jug to his Green Jacket and US Open crown.

The resilient Spieth carded an excellent 69 on the Sunday to finish three shots clear of compatriot Matt Kuchar.

Jordan Spieth poses with the Claret Jug after winning The Open in 2017

Jordan Spieth is just one leg away from a career Grand Slam

2016 – The 145th Open, Royal Troon

Champion Golfer of the Year: Henrik Stenson (-20)
Winning score: 264
Lowest scores: R1: Phil Mickelson (63), R2: Henrik Stenson (65), R3: Haydn Porteous, Brandt Snedeker, Henrik Stenson, Steve Stricker (68), Final round: Henrik Stenson (63)

Henrik Stenson wasn’t content with just becoming Sweden’s first major winner when he finally got his hands on the Claret Jug at Royal Troon.

Not only did he break the ceiling for his countrymen, the 40-year-old further etched his name in Open folklore with a record Championship aggregate of 20-under-par.

Stenson’s duel with runner-up Phil Mickelson will go down as one of the greatest battles in Open history. Remarkably the pair finished, respectively, 14 and 11 shots clear of JB Holmes in third.

And Stenson’s closing 63 shaved one shot off the previous record for the lowest final round recorded by a winner of The Open, which had been set by Greg Norman in 1993.

Henrik Stenson kisses the Claret Jug after winning The Open in 2016

History for Henrik Stenson - in more ways than one

2015 – The 144th Open, St Andrews

Champion Golfer of the Year: Zach Johnson (-15)
Winning score: 273
Lowest scores: R1: Dustin Johnson (65), R2: Russell Henley, Hideki Matsuyama (66), R3: Marc Leishman (64), Final round: Scott Arnold, Zach Johnson, Marc Leishman, Brendon Todd (66)

In one of the Championship’s most exciting finales, Zach Johnson beat Marc Leishman and 2010 Champion Golfer Louis Oosthuizen in a four-hole play-off to secure the second major of his career.

This was only the second Monday finish in Open history, due to severe weather, but the trio at the head of the field provided a denouement to make the wait worthwhile, with Johnson sinking a monster 30ft putt to force the play-off.

The Iowa hall of famer was the sixth Masters champion to win at St Andrews, alongside Jack Nicklaus, Sam Snead, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods.

Johnson said: “I'm grateful. I'm humbled and I'm honoured. This is the birthplace of the game and that jug means so much in sports.”

The 144th Open saw the memorable farewells of Sir Nick Faldo – wearing the sweater from his 1987 victory – and five-time Champion Tom Watson.

Five-time Champion Tom Watson bids farewell to The Open Championship at St Andrews in 2015

Only Harry Vardon has won The Open more times than the great Tom Watson

2014 – The 143rd Open, Royal Liverpool

Champion Golfer of the Year: Rory McIlroy (-17)
Winning score: 271
Lowest scores: R1: Rory McIlroy (66), R2: Dustin Johnson (65), R3: Darren Clarke, Jordan Spieth (67), Final round: Jim Furyk, Marc Leishman, Shane Lowry, Chris Wood (65)

Rory McIlroy served further notice of his status as the best golfer on the planet by clinching his third major inside four years.

In triumphing at Royal Liverpool, the Holywood hero achieved the third leg of the modern Grand Slam following his victories in the 2011 US Open and 2012 PGA Championship.

The Open’s first wire-to-wire winner since Tiger Woods in 2005 – and just the seventh in history – McIlroy was imperious around Hoylake, so it is to Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler’s credit that they finished just two shots behind the Championship’s dominant force.

McIlroy would win his fourth major – a second PGA title – less than a month later.

2013 – The 142nd Open, Muirfield

Champion Golfer of the Year: Phil Mickelson (-3)
Winning score: 281
Lowest scores: R1: Zach Johnson (66), R2: Charl Schwartzel, Lee Westwood (68), R3: Sergio Garcia, Hunter Mahan, Richard Sterne (68), Final round: Phil Mickelson (66)

Phil Mickelson became just the second left-hander – after Sir Bob Charles – to win The Open as he found his touch on the lightning-fast greens at Muirfield.

Trailing Lee Westwood by five shots on the final day, Mickelson, the only player to finish under-par, reeled off four birdies in six holes on the back nine to beat Henrik Stenson by three shots.

The runner-up to Darren Clarke in 2011 and Stenson in 2016, Mickelson was home in 32 for a 66, the lowest closing round by any Muirfield Champion.

2012 – The 141st Open, Royal Lytham & St Annes

Champion Golfer of the Year: Ernie Els (-7)
Winning score: 273
Lowest scores: R1: Adam Scott (64), R2: Brandt Snedeker (64), R3: Zach Johnson (66), Final round: Nicholas Colsaerts (65)

The 2012 Open is perhaps as much about the player who didn’t win as the player who did.

Four shots ahead with four to play, it appeared a formality that Adam Scott would get his hands on the Claret Jug for the first time – only for a succession of bogies to cruelly end the Australian’s dreams.

It was Ernie Els, the Champion Golfer of the Year at Muirfield a decade earlier, who ultimately benefited from Scott's painful finish. Playing several groups ahead of his good friend, the Big Easy finished his final round superbly and a brilliant birdie putt on the 18th, which flew into the centre of the cup, was ultimately enough to edge out Scott by a single stroke.

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