When The Open restarted in 1872 after a year’s absence, the result was the same as before – Young Tommy Morris won for the fourth time in a row, a feat never repeated, and tied his father’s record number of victories.
Winning for the third time in a row in 1870 led to Morris being allowed to keep the Challenge Belt as the rules of The Championship stated. But without a trophy, no event could take place.
Talks on running The Championship and providing a new trophy began at the Prestwick Spring Meeting in 1871 but were not concluded until September 1872, when the Royal and Ancient at St Andrews and the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Musselburgh agreed to share the staging and organising of The Open.
A new trophy could not be found in time but a medal was provided for the winner. The 1872 Open was announced at only two days notice so only eight players were in the field. Davie Strath led for two rounds, opening up a five-stroke advantage of Morris with a 52 in the second round.
But as early as the second hole in the final round, where he lost two shots, Strath started to show his nerves and it only got worse. His drive splashed into Goosedubs Swamp at the last and any hope had gone.
He closed with a 61, while Morris had played steadily for a 53 to win by three with a total of 166. William Doleman was third, the highest finish ever for an amateur in The Open.
At the fourth hole in the second round Morris’s third came to rest against the wall at the back of the green.
Trying to play a cannon shot off the wall, Morris saw his ball climb over it and he then had to play a blind recovery back onto the green.