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The Open For The Ages

Past Champions at St Andrews


The most recent winners at the Old Course

Louis Oosthuizen, the Champion Golfer of the Year at St Andrews in 2010

The Open For The Ages, in association with HSBC, will use real footage from past Championships at St Andrews dating back to 1970 to recreate the drama of an Open final round.

The winner of this innovative event will be determined by a data model developed by NTT DATA, which combines the votes of over 10,000 fans with player career statistics to calculate the victorious golfer.

While many factors will influence the outcome, seven players can point to Open victories on the Old Course in the last 50 years as boosts to their respective credentials.

We look at the men who have lifted the Claret Jug at St Andrews since 1970 and are therefore likely to be among the contenders when The Open For The Ages culminates in a three-hour broadcast from 11am on Sunday 19 July.

Jack Nicklaus

The most prolific major-winner in golf, Nicklaus demonstrated remarkable consistency at The Open from 1966 to 1980, never finishing outside the top six. This period was highlighted by three successes, two of which came at St Andrews.

In 1970, Doug Sanders looked set to prevail over the Old Course, only to famously miss a three-foot putt for victory on the final green. That led to an 18-hole play-off and Nicklaus held off a late charge from his rival to win by a stroke, hurling his putter into the air with joy as victory was sealed with a birdie at the last.

Nicklaus finished second three times over the next seven Opens, but he was reunited with the Claret Jug when the Championship returned to St Andrews in 1978. On this occasion, a bogey-free 69 in the final round was enough to win by two strokes.

The Golden Bear also emerged victorious at Muirfield in 1966. In addition to claiming Open glory three times, he was a runner-up on seven occasions.

Jack Nicklaus following his Open win at St Andrews in 1978

Seve Ballesteros

Like Nicklaus, Ballesteros also won The Open three times. The charismatic Spaniard triumphed at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1979 and 1988, but his victory in 1984 came at the home of golf.

In a truly memorable Championship, Ballesteros found himself locked in battle with the most formidable of rivals down the stretch, Tom Watson. The American was not only a five-time Champion Golfer of the year, but had also won three of the last four Opens.

Nevertheless, Watson had to settle for a share of second at St Andrews as Ballesteros birdied the 72nd hole to reach 12 under par, his final putt triggering one of the most iconic and joyous celebrations in sporting history.

Sir Nick Faldo

Yet another three-time Open winner, Faldo dominated proceedings over the weekend at St Andrews in 1990.

After two rounds, the Englishman was tied at the top of the leaderboard with his great rival Greg Norman, both men having excelled to reach 12 under.

However, in the much-anticipated third-round shootout that followed, Norman struggled to a 76 as Faldo completed a wonderful 67 and opened up a five-shot lead. That advantage was maintained over the final 18 holes, earning Faldo his second Open title in between victories at Muirfield in 1987 and 1992.

John Daly

Daly was renowned for his immense power, but he also boasted magnificent touch. In 1995, he combined these two strengths to earn his second major crown, winning The Open at a course seemingly ideally suited to his game.

After ending his final round of a windy week on six under, the American was initially denied victory in remarkable circumstances as Costantino Rocca holed a 65-foot putt from the Valley of Sin to force a play-off.

However, Daly – the shock winner of the 1991 US PGA Championship - was not to be frustrated a second time as he dominated the resulting extra holes.

Tiger Woods

He may yet add to his haul of Open wins, but for the time being Woods’ record in golf’s original major shares a symmetry with that of Nicklaus. Both men have lifted the Claret Jug three times, twice each at St Andrews.

Tiger was a runaway winner in 2000, with a record score of 19 under, as he became only the fifth player in history to complete the career Grand Slam.

Five years later, Woods again prevailed by a wide margin at the Old Course, finishing five strokes ahead of Colin Montgomerie. The remarkable Woods then successfully defended the Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool in 2006 to claim his third, and latest, Open triumph.

Louis Oosthuizen

Faldo and Woods are not the only players to have streaked clear of the field at St Andrews in recent years. In 2010, Oosthuizen was unstoppable as he ended the week seven shots clear of nearest rival Lee Westwood.

The final six holes of Oosthuizen’s fourth round essentially represented a glorious victory lap after he had opened up an eight-stroke advantage.

The South African clearly loves St Andrews and boasts a stunning aggregate score of 31 under across his last two Opens at the home of golf. He came agonisingly close to winning again at the Old Course in 2015, missing out in a three-way play-off for the Claret Jug.

Zach Johnson

In that 2015 play-off, Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman were edged out by Johnson, who earned his second major success and joined an elite band of players to have won both the Masters and The Open at St Andrews.

Johnson began the final round, which took place on Monday following some wild weather earlier in the Championship, three off the pace, but surged into contention with six birdies in his first 10 holes.

Another gain at the last earned him a place in the three-way play-off, in which he held his nerve superbly to be the only man under par for the four extra holes. Under the greatest pressure, Johnson delivered.

The Open For The Ages is in association with HSBC.