The 150th Open at St Andrews in July 2022 will be a celebration of golf’s incredible journey since the Championship was first played in 1860.
Ahead of the landmark Championship, we have delved through the archives to examine a series of notable firsts at The Open.
Willie Park Snr holds that honour, after winning The 1st Open at Prestwick in October 1860, You can read about the rich legacy of Willie and his family here.
Old Tom Morris may have been beaten by Park in the inaugural Open, but the Grand Old Man of Golf went on to claim back-to-back wins in 1861 and 1862, making him the first player to retain the title of Open Champion. This year marked 200 years since Old Tom's birth and our long-read feature pays tribute to his lasting legacy.
The first prize fund at The Open was paid out in 1863. A total of £10 was distributed equally among the eight professionals in a field of 14.
In addition to winning The Open four times in succession, Tom Morris Jnr achieved the Championship’s first recorded hole-in-one in 1869, at Prestwick’s eighth hole.
However, the first name on the jug is that of Young Tom Morris, who had won The Open the previous year before there had been time to get a new trophy ready.
Young Tom’s third successive victory in 1870 meant he kept The Open’s original prize – the Challenge Belt. There was then no Open in 1871 and it was not until the following year that the Championship returned, with Morris triumphing once again.
The first play-off at The Open took place in 1883, with Willie Fernie defeating Bob Ferguson – the Champion Golfer in each of the previous three years – by one stroke over an additional 36 holes.
There had also been a tie for first place in 1876 between Bob Martin and Davie Strath, but the latter refused to participate in a play-off after the Championship Committee opted not to provide an immediate decision on whether he would be disqualified over an earlier incident in regulation play.
John Ball Jnr was the first amateur Champion Golfer, courtesy of his victory at Prestwick in 1890. That success also ensured Ball, who was English, became the first non-Scottish player to win The Open.
Only two further amateurs – Harold Hilton and Bobby Jones – have gone on to win The Open as an amateur, although both men did so multiple times.
The first 72-hole Open took place at Muirfield in 1892, with the Championship previously having been played over 36 holes.
The first 33 editions of The Open were held in Scotland and shared between Prestwick, St Andrews, Musselburgh and Muirfield, but the Championship then moved to England for the first time in 1894.
That impressive feat was achieved by France’s Arnaud Massy, who pulled off a memorable triumph at Royal Liverpool in 1907. Massy also made it into a play-off at Royal St George’s four years later, only to be well beaten by the great Harry Vardon.
The first and only man to earn six victories at The Open is Vardon.
The two other members of the Great Triumvirate – J.H. Taylor and James Braid – each amassed five Open wins, a tally later matched by fellow greats Peter Thomson and Tom Watson.
However, Vardon remains the only player to have been crowned Champion Golfer of the Year six times, courtesy of his successes in 1896, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1911 and 1914.
This one is not straightforward. Jock Hutchison was the first American citizen to win The Open, courtesy of his triumph at St Andrews in 1921. However, Hutchison was born and raised in St Andrews before emigrating to the United States prior to World War I.
The following year saw the first American-born Champion Golfer, as Walter Hagen claimed victory at Royal St George’s. Hagen would go on to record further successes in 1924, 1928 and 1929 during a decade of American dominance.
The first South African winner of The Open was the great Bobby Locke, who first lifted the Claret Jug in 1949 and went on to become a four-time Champion Golfer.
Gary Player, Ernie Els and Louis Oosthuizen have since joined Locke as South African Champions at The Open.
Frank Stranahan was the first winner of the Silver Medal, awarded to the highest-placed amateur to make the cut, in 1949.
A two-time Open runner-up, Stranahan went on to secure the prize again in 1950, 1951 and 1953.
Five-time Champion Golfer Thomson holds this honour, with his first victory coming in 1954.
Kel Nagle, Greg Norman and Ian Baker-Finch are the other Australians to have triumphed in golf’s oldest major.
New Zealand’s Bob Charles became the first left-handed player to secure victory in The Open when he won at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1963.
Northern Ireland became the third country to host The Open in 1951, with Max Faulkner triumphing at Royal Portrush.
After a 68-year absence, the spectacular Dunluce Links welcomed golf’s original Championship again in 2019 and there was a hugely popular winner as Shane Lowry cantered to victory.
Royal Portrush will not have to wait nearly as long for its next major, having been recently confirmed as the venue for The 153rd Open in 2025.
A dozen players have carded rounds of 63 at The Open, but the first man to do so was Mark Hayes, who achieved the feat in the second round at Turnberry in 1977.
Branden Grace made history at Royal Birkdale in 2017, becoming the first man to shoot 62 in any major with a spectacular third-round performance.