Aside from a home winner, there could not have been a more popular Champion Golfer at Hoylake in 1967 than Roberto de Vicenzo.At 44, the Argentinian became the second oldest ever winner, behind Old Tom Morris, who was 46 in 1867.
A gentle man from humble origins, he had first played in The Open in 1948 and in ten previous appearances had finished runner-up once, third five times and no worse than sixth in all but two attempts.
But the Claret Jug always remained tantalisingly out of reach. Until now.
He led by two strokes after a third round in which he matched Gary Player’s course record of 67 set moments earlier by the South African.
Player was two behind but struggled on the final day and tied for third with 22-year-old Yorkshireman Clive Clark, with another young Englishman, Tony Jacklin, finishing fifth. Instead, it was Jack Nicklaus who became de Vicenzo’s biggest challenger.
The defending Champion Golfer produced a 69 for a total of 280 and key to de Vicenzo’s victory were his birdies at the two par-5s, the 14th and 16th holes.
The 16th doglegs around the internal out-of-bounds – the hole became the 18th when The Open returned to Hoylake after a gap of 39 years in 2006 – and the Argentinian hit a sublime 3-wood over the corner of the practice ground to the heart of the green.
Two more pars and he had won by two from Nicklaus with a closing 70 for a total of 278.
At the final green, Pat Ward-Thomas wrote: “Vicenzo, the look of an emperor about him, strode towards a reception the like of which I had never heard before.
"Its sustained warmth and affection were tribute to a fine human being as well as to a great golfer and a victory nobly won.”