The Open returned to Royal St George’s for the first time in 32 years after new road links had made Sandwich more accessible.
A new generation of professionals would get to know the links and it was one with no prior knowledge who triumphed.
Bill Rogers, who had won the World Match Play at Wentworth two years before, was only playing after his friend and fellow Texan Ben Crenshaw persuaded him to come over.
Rogers almost missed his tee-time on the first day, but it had nothing to do with his unfamiliarity with the venue and everything to do with mis-reading the starting list.
He was on the practice putting green when journalist John Whitbread noticed he was in the wrong place and Rogers ran to the first tee just in time.
Four rounds later, after playing the golf of his life, Rogers admitted it would have been a completely different story had Whitbread not intervened.
“I got the times wrong,” he said. “I panicked, ran off the green and made it on to the tee in time There’s no doubt that if John hadn’t told me I would have been DQ’d. Instead I won.”
Jack Nicklaus’ 83 in terrible weather on the first day was the worst score of his professional career. The Golden Bear still made the cut with a 66 the next day, which was matched by Rogers.
It moved the Texan to the top of the leaderboard, one ahead of Crenshaw. However, in the third round Crenshaw spoilt his chances with a 76 while Rogers added a 67 to take a five-stroke lead over Mark James and Bernhard Langer.
When Rogers had a double-bogey at the seventh, Langer had cut his lead to one but the American made birdies at the ninth, 10th and 12th holes to draw away again.
Having been runner-up in the U.S. Open the previous month, Rogers went on to win by four strokes from Langer, who would also finish in the top three in his next two visits to Sandwich, and by seven from James and Ray Floyd. It was his second appearance in The Open but he would make only five more.