July 2022 will see The 150th Open staged at the most fitting of venues.
St Andrews is known as the Home of Golf for a reason and nowhere has hosted the sport’s oldest Championship more times than the famous Old Course.
Many of the game's greatest Champions have lifted the Claret Jug at St Andrews and as the class of 2022 prepare to take to the esteemed fairways, here’s our quick guide to one of sport’s most iconic venues…
St Andrews in numbers
29 – Number of Opens staged at St Andrews.
7,297 – The yardage of the Old Course when it staged its most recent Open in 2015 – only 350 yards further than a century ago.
63 – The lowest round in an Open at St Andrews, achieved by Paul Broadhurst in 1990 and Rory McIlroy in 2010. McIlroy followed up with an 80 the day after in The 139th Open, marking the largest difference between two successive rounds in the history of The Open at St Andrews.
67 – The number of major titles held by the 12 post-war winners of The Open at St Andrews.
239,000 – The highest attendance in the history of The Open, set at St Andrews in 2000.
1st – Burn: The Old Course begins with one of the most iconic shots in golf. A stone's throw from The R&A clubhouse, players have the luxury of targeting one of the widest fairways in golf, although there is out of bounds left and right to punish the most wayward of strokes. Get it right, however, and a birdie chance opens up.
4th – Ginger Beer: Arguably the toughest test on the Old Course's outward nine, Ginger Beer offers up a riskier line down the right half of the fairway opening up an easier second. Those choosing to play safer up the left will have to carry a large mound just short of the green with their approach, no easy feat on a par-4 that nears 500 yards from the Championship tee.
11th – High (In): Amusingly referred to by many locals as "the shortest par-5 in golf", the par-3 11th is certainly a challenging test. The fearsome Hill and Strath bunkers just short of the putting surface must be avoided, although that is easier said than done when played into a headwind. The flag is often placed right behind Strath bunker, and although the green is enormously wide, shared with the seventh hole, danger long and short ensures the target seems that much smaller.
14th – Long: Measuring over 600 yards, the 14th is a tough par-5 that begins with a demanding tee shot. Many players opt to keep right of the group of bunkers known as the Beardies, while being careful not to drift towards the out-of-bounds wall further to the right. Others take the ball down the left side, a common play on the Old Course, and hit to the 5th fairway. More bunkers surround the green, all aptly placed for running approach shots, helping make this one of the trickier long holes played at The Open.
17th – Road: The Road Hole is undoubtedly the Old Course's most demanding test and regarded by many as the toughest par-4 in golf. It has consistently played to a scoring average well above its par at The Open, including an average of 4.79 in 1984 and 4.65 when St Andrews last hosted the Championship in 2015. Those who are able to tame one of golf’s most famous holes, and stay away from the notorious hazards of the Road Hole Bunker, the stoned wall behind the green and the road itself, will make up considerable ground on the field in 2022.
18th – Tom Morris: The site of so many dramatic moments over the years, the par-4 18th is quite simply iconic. It should be no problem to find the huge fairway that also served as the target for the opening shot of the round, and players can then savour a walk over the Swilcan Bridge as they make it back into the town where they started. The Valley of Sin short of the putting surface is a common collection point for either under-hit approaches or tee shots depending on the wind, and the green, difficult to read, has been the site for many of the greatest moments in golfing history…
Best St Andrews moments
Nicklaus nicks it
An epic battle in 1970 was settled by a play-off between Jack Nicklaus and Doug Sanders after the latter bogeyed the 72nd hole of his Championship. The following day, it was Nicklaus who was faced with a clutch putt on the 18th which he did not miss, claiming the first of two St Andrews Opens.
Seve’s super celebration
A whole host of big names set out in pursuit of glory in the final round of the 1984 Open, but it was Seve Ballesteros who eventually beat out Tom Watson, the man in search of his third straight Open and record-tying sixth Championship, to the title. While Watson was stuck beside the wall on the Road Hole, Ballesteros holed a curling putt on the 18th green to break a tie and win his second Open, prompting one of the most famous celebrations in golfing history.
Palmer bows out
Arnold Palmer bid farewell to the Old Course in 1995, 35 years after his first visit. Palmer never lifted the Claret Jug at St Andrews, but his victories in 1961 and 1962 transformed the game of golf and he received a rapturous reception upon his walk up the 18th fairway during his final Championship appearance.
Later in The 124th Open, Costantino Rocca needed to get up and down from the Valley of Sin to force a play-off with John Daly. But after duffing his first chip, the Italian famously holed a miraculous long putt to make his birdie, convert the most unlikely of up and downs and cement an all-time Open Championship moment. Daly would claim victory in extra holes, but Rocca’s exploits on the 72nd hole in 1995 will live long in the memory.
Tiger turns on the style
Tiger Woods’ triumph in 2000 was nothing short of remarkable. He avoided all the Old Course’s pitfalls on his way to an eight-shot victory, carding a then Open Championship record score of 19 under par.
Nicklaus says goodbye
Countless top players have chosen the Swilcan Bridge as the backdrop to their farewells and few have earned that right more than Jack Nicklaus, who played his final round at the Old Course in 2005. Playing alongside Tom Watson, the three-time Open winner brought the house down with a birdie putt on the 18th reminiscent of his glorious heyday.
Champion Golfers at St Andrews
1873 – Tom Kidd
1876 – Bob Martin
1879 – Jamie Anderson
1882 – Bob Ferguson
1885 – Bob Martin
1888 – Jack Burns
1891 – Hugh Kirkaldy
1895 – J.H. Taylor
1900 – J.H. Taylor
1905 – James Braid
1910 – James Braid
1921 – Jock Hutchinson
1927 – Bobby Jones
1933 – Denny Shute
1939 – Dick Burton
1946 – Sam Snead
1955 – Peter Thomson
1957 – Bobby Locke
1960 – Kel Nagle
1964 – Tony Lema
1970 – Jack Nicklaus
1978 – Jack Nicklaus
1984 – Seve Ballesteros
1990 – Nick Faldo
1995 – John Daly
2000 – Tiger Woods
2005 – Tiger Woods
2010 – Louis Oosthuizen
2015 – Zach Johnson
Best St Andrews quotes
“I fell in love with it the first day I played it. There's just no other golf course that is even remotely close.” Jack Nicklaus, Champion at St Andrews in 1970 and 1978
“That was the happiest moment of my whole sporting life. My moment of glory. My most fantastic shot.” Seve Ballesteros on the shot which won him the Open At St Andrews in 1984
“It may be years before I fully appreciate it, but I am inclined to believe that winning The Open at the Home of Golf is the ultimate achievement in the sport.” Tiger Woods after lifting the Claret Jug in 2000 at St Andrews
“I could take out of my life everything except my experiences at St Andrews and I would still have a rich, full life.” Bobby Jones, whose victory at St Andrews in 1927 was one of three Open wins