On Thursday 20th of July the oldest and most famous golf tournament commences at Royal Birkdale golf course.
This will be the 146th British Open tournament and is the longest running competition in the world of professional golf. There are four open golf championships throughout the year and this is the only one that is not played in the America. This year, the field of approximately 146 players will be playing for the famous and most prized trophy in golf, the Claret jug. Plus, a very respectable prize fund of almost 10 million pounds. Seventeen previous winners of the trophy will be teeing up and hoping to lift the trophy one more time.
The Royal Birkdale Golf Course
The course was established in 1889 and is a classic Links course that sits between towering sand dunes right next to the coast. It received a facelift and was redesigned by Fred Hawtree and JH Taylor in 1922; the course maintains this layout today. It is 7,173 yards in length and plays to a par of 70. This will be the 9th time the Open has been played at Royal Birkdale. Along with Royal Lytham and St Andrews, it is one of the most used courses in the country for this competition.
The first Open to be held at Birkdale was in 1954, the turn of professional Australian golfer Peter Thomson. He went on to win the competition on the same course again in 1965. Won by many famous golfers, such as Arnold Palmer, who lifted the claret jug in 1961. Palmer was regarded as one of the best players in the world to ever swing a golf club.
1971 saw another American come to our shore to win the coveted trophy. This time, it was the greatest Hispanic golfer of all time, Lee Trevino. He will always be remembered for throwing his cap into the crowd on the 18th green after putting out to win.
1976, and it was the flamboyant American Johnny Miller who triumphed. Miller was at the top of his game in the mid seventies and won many trophies on the PGA Tour in America.
In 1983 the unstoppable Americans had another winner in Tom Watson, another legend of American golf who went on to captain their Ryder cup team.
Eight years passed before Royal Birkdale hosted the competition again. Then in 1991, the unfancied Australian Ian Baker Finch won and it was to be his greatest achievement.
1998 the tournament was once again at Royal Birkdale Golf Course. It was back to winning ways for the Americans with the outspoken Mark Omeara, a prolific winner in his own country. In 2015 Omeara was inducted into the golfing hall of fame such is his regard within the game.
2008 saw the last time the tournament was held on the links of Birkdale and finally we British had something to cheer as our very own charismatic Irishman, Padraig Harrington lifted the most famous trophy in golf.
Nine years on we are ready to go again, the golf course is the same, some of the faces have changed. Some are looking older but hoping to lift that trophy one more time. Some just happy to compete in the oldest competition in golfs long and traditional history. Then there’s the new breed of golfers. The ones who just want to get the driver out the bag and hit the ball as far as they can. Showing no fear or reverence for the golf courses hidden traps.
Soon, a golfing superstars will lift the famous claret jug. It may be a previous winner, but if recent history is anything to go by a new name will be etched onto that trophy and that person’s life will change and be remembered forever.
Make sure you keep up to date with the tournament with your very own personalised golf desktop calendar.
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