BRITISH OPEN ’21: Previous winners at Royal St. George’s


A capsule look at the previous 14 times the British Open was at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England:

Year: 2011

Winner: Darren Clarke

Score: 275

Margin: 3 shots

Runner-up: Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson

Prize: 900,000 pounds

Summary: Without having been in serious contention at a major in a decade, Darren Clarke captured his first major championship by closing with an even-par 70. Dustin Johnson was poised to catch him until hitting 2-iron out-of-bounds on the par-5 14th hole. Phil Mickelson’s momentum was slowed when he missed a par putt from inside 3 feet on the 11th hole. Clarke’s victory meant Northern Ireland players had captured three of the last six majors.

Year: 2003

Winner: Ben Curtis

Score: 283

Margin: 1 shot

Runner-up: Vijay Singh, Thomas Bjorn

Prize: 700,000 pounds

Summary: Ben Curtis became the first player since Francis Ouimet in the 1913 U.S. Open to win a major in his first try. Even with four bogeys on his last seven holes, Curtis closed with a 2-under 69. He made an 8-foot par putt on the 18th that proved to be the winner. Thomas Bjorn was in control until taking three shots to get out of a pot bunker on the 16th hole and making double bogey. Curtis was a PGA Tour rookie who had yet to record a top 10 until winning golf’s oldest championship.

Year: 1993

Winner: Greg Norman

Score: 267

Margin: 2 shots

Runner-up: Nick Faldo

Prize: 100,000 pounds

Summary: In one of the greatest closing rounds in a major championship, Greg Norman shot a 64 in breezy conditions to overtake rival Nick Faldo and win his second claret jug. Norman’s 267 was the lowest score ever in a major. Faldo in the second round and Payne Stewart in the final round tied the major championship record with a 63. Ernie Els, a 23-year-old South Africa, shot all four rounds in the 60s and tied for sixth.

Year: 1985

Winner: Sandy Lyle

Score: 282

Margin: 1 shot

Runner-up: Payne Stewart

Prize: 65,000 pounds

Summary: Sandy Lyle closed with a 70 and became the first Scottish-born player since Tommy Armour in 1931 to win the British Open. Masters champion Bernhard Langer was going for his second major of the year, tied with David Graham for the 54-hole lead. Langer and Graham each staggered to a 75, while Lyle came from three shots behind to capture the first of his two majors.

Year: 1981

Winner: Bill Rogers

Score: 276

Margin: 4 shots

Runner-up: Bernhard Langer

Prize: 25,000

Summary: Bill Rogers became only the fourth player to win his first tournament on a links course. He seized control with rounds of 66-67 that gave him a five-shot lead going into Sunday, and no one seriously came close to him. He closed with a 71 for a four-shot victory over Langer. It was the first time in 32 years the British Open was held at Royal St. George’s. It was the first big stage for Bernhard Langer, who was asked by an American reporter who was considered Germany’s greatest golfer. His reply: “It is I.”

Year: 1949

Winner: Bobby Locke

Score: 283

Margin: Playoff

Runner-up: Harry Bradshaw

Prize: 300 pounds

Summary: Bobby Locke of South Africa won the first of his four British Open titles after an epic battle with Harry Bradshaw that landed them in a 36-hole playoff. Both closed with rounds of 68-70 to finish at 283, although the playoff was anticlimactic. Locke had 135 to finish 12 shots ahead of Bradshaw. The week was famous for Bradshaw’s tee shot coming to rest in the bottom of a broken beer bottle. Unsure of his options, and with no official nearby, he closed his eyes and smashed the bottle, advancing the ball 25 yards on his way to a double bogey.

Year: 1938

Winner: Reg Whitcombe

Score: 295

Margin: 2 shots

Runner-up: Jimmy Adams

Prize: 100 pounds

Summary: The wind was so fierce that an exhibition tent collapsed and Alf Padgham drove the green on the 384-yard 11th hole with the wind at his back. In these conditoins. Whitcombe closed with a 78 for a two-shot victory. He atoned for the previous year at Carnoustie when he lost the 54-hole lead with a 76 on the final day.

Year: 1934

Winner: Henry Cotton

Score: 283

Margin: 5 shots

Runner-up: Sid Brews

Prize: 100 pounds

Summary: Henry Cotton ended 10 years of American dominance by shattering the 36-hole and 54-hole scoring records. His 65 in the second round stood as the lowest score in a British Open until Mark Hayes shot 63 at Turnberry in 1977. He had a 10-shot lead over Joe Kirkwood Sr., a record that stood in all majors until Tiger Woods tied at the Pebble Beach in the 2000 U.S. Open. The difference is Woods closed with a 67 and won by 15. Cotton closed with a 79 and won by five.

Year: 1928

Winner: Walter Hagen

Score: 292

Margin: 2 shots

Runner-up: Gene Sarazen

Prize: 75 pounds

Summary: This was the height of the Walter Hagen-Gene Sarazen rivalry. Jose Jurado had the 36-hole lead, with Hagen and Sarazen three shos behind. Hagen shot a 72 in he third round to pull one ahead of Sarazen, and he closed with another 72 for a two-shot victory and his 10th major championship. It also was his second time winning at Royal St. George’s. Defending champion Bobby Jones chose not to make the trip across the Atlantic.

Year: 1922

Winner: Walter Hagen

Score: 300

Margin: 1 shot

Runner-up: Jim Barnes, George Duncan

Prize: 75 pounds

Summary: Walter Hagen became the first American-born player to win the British Open, and thus became the first player to have won all three major championships. He won the U.S. Open in 1914 and 1919, and the PGA Championship in 1921. Hagen shot 79 in the third round and fell two shots behind Jock Hutchison. But he closed with a 72 and held off two-time PGA champion Jim Barnes and George Duncan.

Year: 1911

Winner: Harry Vardon

Score: 303

Margin: Playoff

Runner-up: Arnaud Massy

Prize: 50 pounds

Summary: One year after James Braid won the British Open for a record fifth time, Harry Vardon joined him with a playoff victory over Arnaud Massy. It was the second time Vardon won at Royal St. George’s, and this was far more difficult. Vardon closed with an 80, and Massy forced a playoff with a par on the final hole for a 76. Massy took a 7 on the 17th hole of the 36-hole playoff to trail by five. Vardon was 10 shots ahead when Massy was in thick grass after two shots on the 35 hole, picked up his ball and conceded.

Year: 1904

Winner: Jack White

Score: 296

Margin: 1 shot

Runner-up: James Braid, J.H. Taylor

Prize: 50 pounds

Summary: Jack White became the first player to break 300 in the British Open and held off the “Great Triumvirate,” beating James Braid and J.H. Taylor by one shot with Harry Vardon in fifth place. Braid had a 69 in the third round to lead by one, only for White to close with a 69 while Braid shot 71. The 144-man field meant it was the first time the British Open was held over three days. White had been runner-up the last time at Sandwich.

Year: 1899

Winner: Harry Vardon

Score: 310

Margin: 5 shots

Runner-up: Jack White

Prize: 30 pounds

Summary: Harry Vardon won for the third time in four years, and became the first player to win a British Open from start to finish. He was tied with Tom Williamson after 18 holes, and another 76 sent him on his way gave him a one-shot lead over J.H. Taylor. Only two players broke 80 in the third round. Vardon close with a 77, while Taylor faded to an 83-84 finish. White had the low score of the tournament at 75 to finish second.

Year: 1894

Winner: J.H. Taylor

Score: 326

Margin: 5 shots

Runner-up: Douglas Rolland

Prize: 30 pounds

Summary: The British Open was held outside Scotland for the first time since it began in 1860. J.H. Taylor won the first of his five championships and became the only player to win a 72-hole British Open without ever breaking 80. Sandy Herd opened with an 83 to lead Taylor by one. Taylor followed with an 80 for a one-shot lead over Rolland, and he shot a pair of 81s on the final day for a five-shot victory.

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