The R&A is preparing to celebrate a momentous milestone in the history of golf when St Andrews hosts The 150th Open from 10-17 July 2022.
Our new series, ‘The Open in Time’, highlights the remarkable journey of the Championship, through an exploration of what the world looked like when various editions of The Open took place.
We begin with a look back to 1975, when Tom Watson claimed his first Claret Jug and an Open star of the future was born.
The 104th Open
In his first appearance at The Open, Watson made an immediate impact.
Having secured top-10 finishes in the year’s two previous majors, the 25-year-old American was well placed again through three rounds at Carnoustie as he moved into fourth, three shots behind the 54-hole leader, Bobby Cole.
As Cole faded on a demanding final day, Watson put together a fine 72 completed with a lengthy birdie putt at the last, which earned him a place in a Sunday play-off with Jack Newton.
The extra holes proved tightly contested, but a par on the 18th ultimately proved enough for Watson as Newton finished with a bogey.
It proved the start of a golden era as the Champion Golfer of 1975 went on to triumph again in 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1983, as well as recording runner-up finishes in 1984 and, incredibly, in 2009 at the age of 59.
“My love affair with the Scottish people had begun,” said Watson, whose five Open victories all came in Scotland.
A digital revolution
The year that saw Watson first make his mark on links golf was also notable for a significant advancement in the world of technology.
The first digital camera was released in 1975, revolutionising photography forever.
Much like Watson, the new camera’s significance became more apparent with the passage of time. Forty-six years ago, few could have predicted just how huge both would become.
A star is born
Watson first emerged as a sporting icon with his success at Carnoustie, but 1975 also featured the arrival of a golfing titan of the future.
On December 30, Eldrick Tont Woods, who would soon become known to all as Tiger, was born in Cypress, California.
There was no way of knowing it in 1975, of course, but Woods has since become one of the biggest sports stars of all time.
To date, he counts three victories at The Open – in 2000, 2005 and 2006 – among his 15 major titles, a haul bettered only by Jack Nicklaus.
Any way the wind blows
In between Watson’s maiden Open win and the birth of another golfing legend in Woods, one of the most famous songs in history was released.
Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody initially sparked a mixed reaction, but the single nevertheless topped the UK charts for nine weeks.
It’s popularity would only grow thereafter, with both the song and its ground-breaking video proving hugely influential.
What is more, one of the lyrics could even have been written by Watson himself.
As the master of links golf might have said: “Any way the wind blows, doesn’t really matter to me.”
Everything has led to this. To have a chance of being at St Andrews for The 150th Open, enter the ticket ballot today.
Alternatively, you can purchase Origins Hospitality for The 150th Open and guarantee your place at what promises to be a truly memorable sporting occasion.