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History of The Open

Largest winning margins


The most emphatic Open victories

Old Tom Morris, the four-time Champion Golfer

Winning The Open is the pinnacle of any player’s career but doing it in style adds an extra cherry on top of the cake.

A handful of players have dominated their competition en route to the Claret Jug, none more so than Old Tom Morris, who won by 13 strokes in 1862.

Old Tom was head and shoulders above the rest of the field in The 3rd Open, as he led by 11 strokes after two 12-hole rounds and eventually went round Prestwick in 163 shots – back when the Championship was contested over 36 holes.

His son, Young Tom Morris, was another standout performer in The Open’s early years as he matched his father’s four Open crowns. In 1869, he was in scintillating form and won by 11 strokes, while a year later he went one better.

The turn of the 20th century saw JH Taylor win by eight shots at St Andrews, a margin of victory he repeated at Royal Liverpool 13 years later.

His old rival James Braid also won by eight in 1908, while Tiger Woods is the most dominant winner of the modern era, winning by eight strokes at St Andrews in 2000. Louis Oosthuizen won by seven at the same venue 10 years later.


Largest margins of victory at The Open:

13 strokes – Old Tom Morris, 1862

12 strokes – Young Tom Morris, 1870

11 strokes – Young Tom Morris, 1869

8 strokes – JH Taylor, 1900 and 1913

8 strokes – James Braid, 1908

8 strokes – Tiger Woods, 2000


Largest leads since 1892:

After 18 holes

5 strokes: Sandy Herd, 1896

4 strokes: Harry Vardon, 1902

4 strokes: Jim Barnes, 1925

4 strokes: Christy O’Connor Jr, 1985


After 36 holes

9 strokes: Henry Cotton, 1934

6 strokes: Abe Mitchell, 1920


After 54 holes

10 strokes: Henry Cotton, 1934

7 strokes: Harry Vardon, 1903

7 strokes: Tony Lema, 1964

6 strokes: JH Taylor, 1900

6 strokes: James Braid, 1905

6 strokes: James Braid, 1908

6 strokes: Max Faulkner, 1951

6 strokes: Tom Lehman, 1996

6 strokes: Tiger Woods, 2000

6 strokes: Rory McIlroy, 2014

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