By News Team
29th June 2021
The 149th Open Championship returns to Royal St Georges at Sandwich, Kent on July 15th to 18th, and it’s guaranteed to be one for the ages.
Before it tees off, we’ve taken a look back at some of the best moments in Open Championship history.
Padraig Harrington, 2007, Carnoustie
This was Sergio Garcia’s best chance of a major title but he blew it. Ahead by six strokes on Sunday, he had only to play safe to win. But street-fighter Padraig Harrington scrambled his way back up the Open championship leaderboard as the day wore on. Yet Garcia should still have won.
When Harrington double-bogeyed on 18, all Garcia had to do to win was knock in a seven-footer. Instead, he two-putted, sending the Open Championship into a playoff.
Harrington went on to win the four-hole playoff, becoming the first Irishman in 60 years to win the Claret Jug.
Phil Mickelson, 2013, Muirfield
Old leftie came from right out of left field to win this one. At five shots behind the leader going into the final day, Phil Mickelson didn’t seem to have a chance.
It took two of the best shots in Open championship history as part of a five-under round of 66 to capture the third leg of the career grand slam. With four birdies over the last six holes, Mickelson finished with a three-shot win over Henrik Stenson.
He also passed Adam Scott, Lee Westwood and Tiger Woods. It was Mickelson’s lowest final round in his 80 majors, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Jean van de Velde, 1999, Carnoustie
Three shots clear when he arrived at the 18th, Jean Van De Velde, like the watching millions, must have thought he had the famous Claret Jug in the bag. Yet one of the most treacherous holes in golf saw him self-combust and his title dreams go up in smoke.
Instead of playing conservatively, Van de Velde took it on but his ball flew into the grandstand right of the green and took one of the worst bounces in major-championship history; it ricocheted back across the creek into knee-high rough.
Van de Velde dumped the next shot into the water and waded in to try to play it before deciding to take a drop. He ended up having to down a 10-footer for triple-bogey seven just to get into a playoff with Justin Leonard and Paul Lawrie. Lawrie won and one of the most unexpected Open championship results was complete.
Tiger Woods, 2006, Royal Liverpool
For sheer gut-wrenching emotion, Tiger’s sentimental win in 2006 was unforgettable as it came just two months after his father, Earl, had passed away.
Tiger played like a god among mortals taking apart the course at Hoylake with surgeon-like precision. He used his driver only once while figuring out ways to avoid the treacherous pot bunkers.
After sinking the final putt to win, the normally cool-as-ice champ broke down in tears. It was both a chilling and beautiful moment for the man and for the fans.
Tom Watson v Jack Nicklaus, 1977, Royal Turnberry
The battle of the champions became known as the Duel In The Sun thanks to an epic last couple of rounds with the pair out on their own at the front.
Jack Nicklaus was looking for his third Open title while Tom Watson was hunting a second. “This is what it is all about,” Watson said to Nicklaus on the 16th hole. “You bet it is,” said the Golden Bear. Going to the 18th, Watson led by one shot and played a brilliant seven-iron approach to within three feet.
Nicklaus beat a bad lie on the fairway to get his ball onto the edge of the green. Going first Nicklaus downed his 35-foot putt for a birdie to tie for the lead. However, with the tension unbearable Watson holed out before throwing both arms in the air in victory as he was crowned the Open Championship winner.