Greg Norman won his second Open title playing the best golf of his career against one of the finest leaderboards ever seen – all but one of the final top 12 either were, or would become, a major champion.
Not even his great rival Nick Faldo could defeat the Australian. In the second round Faldo, the defending Champion Golfer, scored the first ever 63 at Royal St George’s – Payne Stewart matched it on the final day – to take the halfway lead and he was joined by Corey Pavin, one ahead of Norman and Bernhard Langer, after day three.
Norman’s performance on the Sunday was scintillating. He went out in 31, with a 9-iron to six inches at the ninth, and birdied the 12th, the 14th, where Langer drove out of bounds onto Prince’s Golf Club, and the 16th, where Norman hit a 5-iron to four feet.
The aberration of missing from 14 inches at the 17th did not matter. Faldo, who finished two back, almost holed in one at the 11th but neither he nor the rest had any answer to Norman’s brilliance.
His 64 set a new record as the lowest round to win The Open and his total of 267 beat Tom Watson’s old record from 1977. Norman and Ernie Els, who finished tied for sixth, became the first players to record four rounds under 70. Iain Pyman, meanwhile, set a new record total for an amateur of 281.
Gene Sarazen, the 91-year-old Champion from Prince’s in 1932, was present and said: “Today, I saw the greatest championship in all my 70 years in golf.”
“This means more to me knowing I have beaten great players,” Norman said. “I never mis-hit a shot. It was like playing a game of chess.” Langer added: “He was invincible. It was fun to watch.”
The Open returns to Kent in 2020 with Sunday Championship ticket sold out.