? When was the first British Open championship played? Who won it?
•The first championship was held at Prestwick in 1860. Old Willie Park defeated seven other professionals in 174 strokes, playing three rounds on a 12-hole course. The prize to the winner was the Championship Challenge Belt.
? Since 1892 the Open has been played over 72 holes, a) who had the highest winning 72-hole score? b) the lowest?
•a) John Henry Taylor in 1894 shot the highest winning score—326—at Sandwich, to win the first of five championships (others: 1895, 1900, 1909, 1913). In only one, the 1909 tournament at Deal, did he better 300. b) Two Australians have won the Open with the record low score of 278—Peter Thomson in 1958 and Kel Nagle in the 100th Open two years later.
? How many Americans have won the Open? Name them.
•Ten Americans have won 15 championships. The first was Scottish-born Jock Hutchison, who had emigrated to America and had become a U.S. citizen. In 1921 he returned to his birthplace, St. Andrews, to win the title. The other American winners were Walter Hagen (1922, 1924, 1928, 1929), Bobby Jones (1926, 1927, 1930), Jim Barnes (1925), Tommy Armour (1931), Gene Sarazen (1932), Denny Shute (1933), Sam Snead (1946), Ben Hogan (1953) and Arnold Palmer (1961). Armour was born in Scotland and Barnes in England but, like Hutchison, had become American citizens.
? a) Who was the youngest golfer to win the Open? b) the oldest?
•a) Tom Morris Jr. won four consecutive Opens, the first when he was 18. He was the youngest winner of the championship, b) Harry Vardon was the oldest Open champion. He won his sixth championship when he was 44, in 1914 at Prestwick. Vardon's other victories were in 1896, 1898, 1899, 1903 and 1911. Vardon won more British Opens than any other golfer.