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The Open Championship

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The Open Championship
The Open Championship.svg
Tournament information
Location Scotland/England
Established 1860
Course(s) 2013: Muirfield, Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland
Par 71 in 2013
Length 7,245 yards (6,625 m) in 2013
Tour(s) European Tour
PGA Tour
Japan Golf Tour
Format Stroke play
Prize fund £5.0 million
Month played July
Tournament record score
Aggregate 267 Greg Norman ( 1993)
To par –19 Tiger Woods ( 2000)
Current champion
South Africa Ernie Els ( 2012)
2012 Open Championship

The Open Championship, or simply The Open (often referred to as the British Open), is the oldest of the four major championships in professional golf. It is the only major held outside the United States and is administered by the R&A, which is the governing body of golf outside of the U.S. and Mexico.

Since 1979, The Open has been played on the weekend of the third Friday in July. It is the third major of the calendar year, following The Masters and the U.S. Open, and preceding the PGA Championship. The current champion is Ernie Els who won in 2012 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire. The Open moved to a Sunday finish in 1980; it had a scheduled Saturday finish from 1966 through 1979, with the first round on Wednesday. Prior to 1966, the final two rounds were scheduled for Friday. Before 1926, the four rounds were played in two days.

The event takes place annually on one of nine links courses in Scotland or England. It was held once in Northern Ireland, at Royal Portrush in 1951 but has not returned.

In 2012, The Open had a first prize of £900,000 (about $1.4 million) and a total prize fund of about £5 million (about $7.8 million). The other three Major Championships in 2012 had first prizes of about $1.44 million and prize money of about $8 million, so that all four majors had almost identical prize money. Prize money is given to all professionals who make the cut and, since the number of professionals making the cut changes from year to year, the total prize money varies somewhat from the advertised number (currently £5 million).

The Open is a 72-hole stroke play tournament with a cut after 36 holes, limited to the top 70 players and ties. Unique among the four major championships, The Open features a four-hole playoff at the end of regulation, and continues into sudden-death if tied after four holes. Introduced in 1986, this format was first used in 1989; earlier playoffs were 36 holes until 1964, then 18 holes until 1986. The PGA Championship adopted a three-hole playoff, first used in 2000, after using sudden-death since 1977. (The Masters changed to sudden-death in the 1970s and the U.S. Open retains an 18-hole playoff.)


The Open Championship was first played on 17 October 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland. The inaugural tournament was restricted to professionals and attracted a field of eight golfers who played three rounds of Prestwick's twelve-hole course in a single day. Willie Park, Sr. won with a score of 174, beating the favourite Old Tom Morris, by two strokes. The following year the tournament was opened to amateurs; eight of them joined ten professionals in the field.

Prestwick Golf Club, site of the first Open Championship in 1860.
Willie Park, Sr. wearing the Challenge Belt, the winner's prize at The Open from 1860 to 1870.

Originally, the trophy presented to the event's winner was the Challenge Belt, a red leather belt with a silver buckle. There was no prize money in the first three Opens. In 1863, a prize fund of £10 was introduced, which was shared between the second- third- and fourth-placed professionals, with the Champion still just getting to keep the belt for a year. In 1864 Old Tom Morris won the first Champion's cash prize of £6. By 2004, the winner's cheque had increased one hundred and twenty thousandfold to £720,000, or perhaps two thousandfold after allowing for inflation. The Challenge Belt was retired in 1870, when Young Tom Morris was allowed to keep it for winning the tournament three consecutive times. Because no prize was available, the tournament was cancelled in 1871. In 1872, after Young Tom Morris won again for a still-unmatched fourth time in a row, he was awarded a medal. The present trophy, The Golf Champion Trophy, better known by its popular name of the Claret Jug, was then created.

Prestwick administered The Open from 1860 to 1870. In 1871, it agreed to organise it jointly with The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. In 1892 the event was doubled in length from 36 to 72 holes, four rounds of what was by then the standard complement of 18 holes. In the same year the prize fund reached £100. The 1894 Open was the first one held outside Scotland, at the Royal St George's Golf Club in England. Because of an increasing number of entrants, a cut was introduced after two rounds in 1898. In 1920 full responsibility for The Open Championship was handed over to The Royal & Ancient Golf Club.

The early winners were all Scottish professionals, who in those days worked as greenkeepers, clubmakers, and caddies to supplement their modest winnings from championships and challenge matches. The Open has always been dominated by professionals, with only six victories by amateurs, all of which occurred between 1890 and 1930. The last of these was Bobby Jones's third Open and part of his celebrated Grand Slam. Jones was one of six Americans who won The Open between the First and Second World Wars, the first of whom had been Walter Hagen in 1922. These Americans and the French winner of the 1907 Open, Arnaud Massy, were the only winners from outside Scotland and England up to 1939.

The first post-World War II winner was the American Sam Snead, in 1946. In 1947, Northern Ireland's Fred Daly was victorious. While there have been many English and Scottish champions, Daly was the only winner from Ireland until the 2007 victory by Pádraig Harrington. There has never been a Welsh champion. In the early postwar years The Open was dominated by golfers from the Commonwealth, with South African Bobby Locke and Australian Peter Thomson winning the Claret Jug in eight of the 11 championships from 1948 and 1958 between them. During this period, The Open often had a schedule conflict with the match-play PGA Championship, which meant that Ben Hogan, the best American golfer at this time, competed in The Open just once, in 1953 at Carnoustie, a tournament he won.

Another South African, Gary Player was Champion in 1959. This was at the beginning of the "Big Three" era in professional golf, the three players in question being Player, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Palmer first competed in 1960, when he came second to the little-known Australian Kel Nagle, but he won the two following years. While he was far from being the first American to become Open Champion, he was the first that many Americans saw win the tournament on television, and his charismatic success is often credited with persuading leading American golfers to make The Open an integral part of their schedule, rather than an optional extra. The improvement of trans-Atlantic travel also increased American participation.

Nicklaus' victories came in 1966, 1970 and 1978. Although his tally of three wins is not very remarkable, and indeed he won all of the other three majors more often, it greatly understates how prominent Nicklaus was at the tournament throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He finished runner-up seven times, which is the record. He had a total of sixteen top-5 finishes, which is tied most in Open history with John Henry Taylor and easily the most in the postwar era. Nicklaus also holds the records for most rounds under par (61) and most aggregates under par (14). At Turnberry in 1977 he was involved in one of the most celebrated contests in golf history, when his duel with Tom Watson went to the final shot before Watson emerged as the champion for the second time with a record score of 268 (12 under par).

Watson won five Opens, more than anyone else has since the 1950s, but his final win in 1983 brought down the curtain on an era of U.S. domination. In the next 11 years there was only one American winner, with the others coming from Europe and the Commonwealth. The European winners of this era, Spaniard Seve Ballesteros, Sandy Lyle, who was the first Scottish winner in over half a century, and the Englishman Nick Faldo, were also leading lights among the group of players who began to get the better of the Americans in the Ryder Cup during this period.

In 1995, The Open became part of the PGA Tour's official schedule. John Daly's playoff win over Italian Costantino Rocca began another era of American domination. Tiger Woods has won three Championships to date, two at St Andrews in 2000 and 2005, and one at Hoylake in 2006. There was a dramatic moment at St Andrews in 2000, as the ageing Jack Nicklaus waved farewell to the crowds, while the young challenger to his crown watched from a nearby tee. Nicklaus later decided to play in The Open for one final time in 2005, when the R&A announced St Andrews as the venue, giving his final farewell to the fans at the Home of Golf.

In 2002, all Open wins before 1995 were retroactively classified as PGA Tour wins. Recent years have been notable for the number of wins by previously obscure golfers, including Paul Lawrie's playoff win after the epic 72nd-hole collapse of Jean van de Velde in 1999, Ben Curtis in 2003 and Todd Hamilton in 2004. All three missed the cut when defending the title the following year, as did Mark Calcavecchia in 1990 and Mark O'Meara in 1999.

In 2007, the Europeans finally broke an eight-year drought in the majors when Pádraig Harrington of the Republic of Ireland defeated Sergio García by one stroke in a four-hole playoff at Carnoustie. In 2008 at Royal Birkdale, Harrington retained the Claret Jug with a final round of 69 to win the tournament by four shots from Ian Poulter, with a total of 283 (+3) after 72 holes.

In 2009, 59-year-old Tom Watson turned in one of the most remarkable performances ever seen at The Open. Leading the tournament through 71 holes and needing just a par on the last hole to become the oldest ever winner of a major championship, Watson bogeyed, setting up a four-hole playoff, which he would lose to Stewart Cink. In 2010, Rory McIlroy set a new record for the best opening round of an Open Championship, shooting a 9-under-par 63 at St Andrews, tying the lowest individual round at the tournament. To date, eight different players hold the record for shooting a 63 at The Open, including Greg Norman at Turnberry in 1986 and Nick Faldo at Royal St George's in 1993.


The Claret Jug

There are several medals and trophies that are, or have been, given out for various achievements during The Open Championship.

  • Challenge Belt – awarded to the winner from 1860 until 1870 when Young Tom Morris won the belt outright.
  • The Golf Champion Trophy (commonly known as the Claret Jug) – replaced the Challenge Belt and has been awarded to the winner since 1873.
  • Gold medal – awarded to the winner. First given out in 1872 when the Claret Jug was not yet ready, but since awarded to all champions.
  • Silver medal – awarded since 1949 to the highest finishing amateur.
  • Bronze medal – awarded since 1972 to all other amateurs playing in the final round.

The Professional Golfers' Association of Great Britain and Ireland also mark the achievements of their own members in the Open.

  • Ryle Memorial Medal – awarded since 1901 to the winner if he is a PGA member.
  • Braid Taylor Memorial Medal – awarded since 1966 to the highest finishing PGA member.
  • Tooting Bec Cup – awarded since 1924 to the PGA member who records the lowest single round during the championship.

The Braid Taylor Memorial Medal and the Tooting Bec Cup are restricted to members born in, or with a parent or parents born in, the UK or Republic of Ireland.

Tour status

It has been an official event on the PGA Tour since 1995, which means that the prize money won in The Open by PGA Tour members is included on the official money list. In addition, all Open Championships before 1995 have been retroactively classified as PGA Tour wins, and the list of leading winners on the PGA Tour has been adjusted to reflect this. The European Tour has recognised The Open as an official event since its first official season in 1972 and it is also an official money event on the Japan Golf Tour.

Host courses

From 1860 to 1870 the Open Championship was organised by and played at Prestwick Golf Club. From its revival in 1872 until 1891 it was played on three courses in rotation: Prestwick, The Old Course at St Andrews, and Musselburgh Links. In 1892 the newly built Muirfield replaced Musselburgh in the rotation. In 1893 two English courses, Royal St George's and Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, were invited to join the rotation. Since then a handful of further courses have been added, and a few have been dropped.

The common factor in the venues for The Open is that they have always been links courses. The rotation has often followed the pattern of being played in Scotland and England alternately, being in Scotland somewhat more often than in England. Between 1894 (when it was first played in England) and 2012, it has been played 59 times in Scotland, 48 times in England and once in Northern Ireland. It was not until 2011 and 2012 that England hosted consecutive Opens. There is, however, no strict rule and the host is appointed by the R&A roughly five years in advance. There is a map showing the locations of the venues here. The Open has always been played in Scotland, North West England, or Kent in South East England except for a single occasion in Northern Ireland.

There are nine courses in the current rota, five in Scotland and four in England. In recent times the Old Course has hosted the Open every five years. The remaining eight courses host the Open roughly every 10 years but the gaps between hosting Opens may be longer or shorter than this.

Courses in Scotland:

  • Old Course at St Andrews: In 1873 the "Home of Golf" became the second course to host the Open. Nowadays, it does so more often than any other course. Since 1990 it has been scheduled every fifth year. The 2010 Open was held at St Andrews and is scheduled again for 2015.
  • Carnoustie Golf Links, Championship Course: Carnoustie first hosted The Open in 1931, and rejoined the rotation in 1999 after an absence of 24 years, and returned in 2007.
  • Muirfield: This private course was built for The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, one of the trio of clubs which ran The Open in the 1870s and 1880s. It first staged The Championship in 1892, just nine months after it had been built. Muirfield last hosted in 2002 and is scheduled for 2013.
  • The Turnberry Resort, Ailsa Course: A course on the southwest coast of Scotland which hosted The Open in 1977, 1986, 1994, and 2009.
  • Royal Troon Golf Club, Old Course: Also in southwestern Scotland, Troon has been in the rotation since 1923 and last hosted in 2004. Royal Troon is scheduled to host the Open in 2016.

Courses in England:

  • Royal St George's Golf Club: This course is in the town of Sandwich in the county of Kent in southeast England. In 1894 it became the first Open venue outside Scotland. After a 32 year absence, it returned to the rota in 1981, and last hosted in 2011.
  • Royal Birkdale Golf Club: This course in northwest England has been in the rotation since 1954 and hosted The Open in 2008.
  • Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club: Also in northwest England, this course first hosted The Open in 1926 but has only hosted it regularly since 1952. It hosted the 2012 Open.
  • Royal Liverpool Golf Club: This course, often referred to simply as "Hoylake", joined the rotation in 1897 and hosted ten Opens up to 1967. After a 39 year absence, it returned to the rota in 2006, and is scheduled to host again in 2014.

Five courses have hosted the Open but are no longer in the rotation:

  • Scotland Prestwick Golf Club: The founder club was dropped from the rotation in 1925, by which time it had hosted twenty-four Opens.
  • Scotland Musselburgh Links: Musselburgh is a public course which was used by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. When that club built Muirfield, Musselburgh dropped out of the rotation.
  • England Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club: This course in the town of Deal in Kent hosted the Open in 1909 and 1920. Although situated in Deal, the course is very close to Royal St George's in Sandwich, on the current rota. In fact, the 11th tee at Royal Cinque Ports is closer to the clubhouse at Royal St George's than it is to the clubhouse of Royal Cinque Ports.
  • England Prince's Golf Club: Prince's hosted its only Open in 1932. The course is in Sandwich, Kent, and is adjacent to Royal St George's on the current rota.
  • Northern Ireland Royal Portrush Golf Club: The 1951 Open was staged at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, the only Open not played in Scotland or England.

Future venues

Year Edition Course Town County Country Dates
2013 142nd Muirfield Gullane East Lothian  Scotland 18–21 July
2014 143rd Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake Hoylake Merseyside  England 17–20 July
2015 144th Old Course at St Andrews St Andrews Fife  Scotland 16–19 July
2016 145th Royal Troon Golf Club Troon Ayrshire  Scotland 21–24 July

Exemptions and qualifying events

The field for the Open is 156, and golfers may gain a place in a number of ways. Most of the field is made up of leading players who are given exemptions. Further places are given to players who are successful in "Local Qualifying" and those who come through "International Final Qualifying". Any remaining places (known as alternates) are made available to the highest ranked players in the Official World Golf Ranking.

There are currently 32 exemption categories. Among the more significant are:

  • The top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking. This category means that no member of the current elite of world golf will be excluded.
  • The top 30 in the previous season's European Tour Race to Dubai and the PGA Tour FedEx Cup. Most of these players will also be in the World top 50.
  • All previous Open Champions who will be age 60 or under on the final day of the tournament. Each year a number of past champions choose not to compete.
  • All players who have won one of the other three majors in the previous five years.
  • The top 10 from the previous year's Open Championship.
  • Any past Open champions who have finished in the top 10 in the previous five years.

Further exemptions are given to winners and other leading finishers in a number of important tournaments around the world, to leading money winners in the major tours and to recent Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup players. The latest winners of a few major amateur events are also given exemptions. They must remain amateurs to take advantage of this exemption.

Local Qualifying is the traditional way for non-exempt players to win a place at The Open. In 2012 it comprised fourteen 18-hole "Regional Qualifying" competitions around Britain and Ireland on 25 June with successful competitors moving on to the four 36-hole "Local Final Qualifying" tournaments on 3 July. There are currently 12 places available through Local Qualifying, though there used to be far more.

International Final Qualifying comprises five 36-hole qualifying events, one each in Africa, Australasia, Asia, America and Europe. Only players who have a rating in the Official World Golf Ranking may enter, which is a more stringent standard than for Local Qualifying. 28 places were available through International Final Qualifying in 2012. The R&A introduced International Final Qualifying in 2004 in order to make it easier for professionals from outside Britain and Ireland to compete for a place.

In 2012, 115 of the field qualified through the exemption categories, 12 through Local Qualifying, 28 through International Final Qualifying and 1 as an alternate. A further 14 players qualified through the exemption categories but did not compete in the event. This was because the players chose not to enter, dropped out for personal reason, were injured or who had qualified as amateurs but had turned professional.

Tournament name

In Britain the tournament is best known by its official title, The Open Championship. The tournament's website uses only this name, while British media generally refer to it as the Open (with "the" in lower case).

Outside the UK, the tournament is generally called the British Open, in part to distinguish the tournament from another of the four majors that has an 'open' format, the U.S. Open, but mainly because other nations with similar 'open' format golf events refer to their own nation's open event as "the Open". The PGA Tour refers to the tournament as the British Open, as do many media outlets in the United States, though U.S. television rights-holder ESPN has taken to referring to it as The Open Championship.


  • Oldest winner: Old Tom Morris (46 years, 99 days), 1867.
  • Youngest winner: Young Tom Morris (17 years, 156 days), 1868.
  • Most victories: 6, Harry Vardon (1896, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1911, 1914).
  • Most consecutive victories: 4, Young Tom Morris (1868, 1869, 1870, 1872 – there was no championship in 1871).
  • Lowest 36-hole score: 130, Nick Faldo (66-64), 1992; Brandt Snedeker (66-64), 2012.
  • Lowest 72-hole score: 267, Greg Norman (66-68-69-64), 1993.
  • Lowest 72-hole score in relation to par: –19, Tiger Woods (67-66-67-69, 269), 2000 (a record for all major championships).
  • Greatest victory margin: 13 strokes, Old Tom Morris, 1862. This remained a record for all majors until 2000, when Woods won the U.S. Open by 15 strokes at Pebble Beach. Old Tom's 13-stroke margin was achieved over just 36 holes.
  • Lowest 18-hole score: 63 – Mark Hayes, 2nd round, 1977; Isao Aoki, 3rd, 1980; Greg Norman, 2nd, 1986; Paul Broadhurst, 3rd, 1990; Jodie Mudd, 4th, 1991; Nick Faldo, 2nd, 1993; Payne Stewart, 4th, 1993; Rory McIlroy, 1st, 2010.
  • Lowest 18-hole score in relation to par: –9, Paul Broadhurst, 3rd, 1990; Rory McIlroy, 1st, 2010.

There is an extensive records section on the official site.


Year Venue Champion Country Winning Score 1st Prize
2013 Muirfield
2012 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club Ernie Els (2)  South Africa 273 (−7) £ 900 000
2011 Royal St George's Golf Club Darren Clarke  Northern Ireland 275 (−5) £ 900 000
2010 St Andrews Louis Oosthuizen  South Africa 272 (−16) £ 850 000
2009 Turnberry Stewart Cink  United States 278 (−2)PO £ 750 000
2008 Royal Birkdale Golf Club Pádraig Harrington (2)  Ireland 283 (+3) £ 750 000
2007 Carnoustie Golf Links Pádraig Harrington  Ireland 277 (−7)PO £ 750 000
2006 Royal Liverpool Golf Club Tiger Woods (3)  United States 270 (−18) £ 720 000
2005 St Andrews Tiger Woods (2)  United States 274 (−14) £ 720 000
2004 Royal Troon Golf Club Todd Hamilton  United States 274 (−10)PO £ 720 000
2003 Royal St George's Golf Club Ben Curtis  United States 283 (−1) £ 700 000
2002 Muirfield Ernie Els  South Africa 278 (−6)PO £ 700 000
2001 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club David Duval  United States 274 (−10) £ 600 000
2000 St Andrews Tiger Woods  United States 269 (−19) £ 500 000
1999 Carnoustie Golf Links Paul Lawrie  Scotland 290 (+6)PO £ 350 000
1998 Royal Birkdale Golf Club Mark O'Meara  United States 280 (E)PO £ 300 000
1997 Royal Troon Golf Club Justin Leonard  United States 272 (−12) £ 250 000
1996 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club Tom Lehman  United States 271 (−13) £ 200 000
1995 St Andrews John Daly  United States 282 (−6)PO £ 125 000
1994 Turnberry Nick Price  Zimbabwe 268 (−12) £ 110 000
1993 Royal St George's Golf Club Greg Norman (2)  Australia 267 (−13) £ 100 000
1992 Muirfield Nick Faldo (3)  England 272 (−12) £ 95 000
1991 Royal Birkdale Golf Club Ian Baker-Finch  Australia 272 (−8) £ 90 000
1990 St Andrews Nick Faldo (2)  England 270 (−18) £ 85 000
1989 Royal Troon Golf Club Mark Calcavecchia  United States 275 (−13)PO £ 80 000
1988 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club Seve Ballesteros (3)  Spain 273 (−11) £ 80 000
1987 Muirfield Nick Faldo  England 279 (−5) £ 75 000
1986 Turnberry Greg Norman  Australia 280 (E) £ 70 000
1985 Royal St George's Golf Club Sandy Lyle  Scotland 282 (+2) £ 65 000
1984 St Andrews Seve Ballesteros (2)  Spain 276 (−12) £ 55 000
1983 Royal Birkdale Golf Club Tom Watson (5)  United States 275 (−9) £ 40 000
1982 Royal Troon Golf Club Tom Watson (4)  United States 284 (−4) £ 32 000
1981 Royal St George's Golf Club Bill Rogers  United States 276 (−4) £ 25 000
1980 Muirfield Tom Watson (3)  United States 271 (−13) £ 25 000
1979 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club Seve Ballesteros  Spain 283 (−1) £ 15 000
1978 St Andrews Jack Nicklaus (3)  United States 281 (−7) £ 12 500
1977 Turnberry Tom Watson (2)  United States 268 (−12) £ 10 000
1976 Royal Birkdale Golf Club Johnny Miller  United States 279 (−9) £ 7 500
1975 Carnoustie Golf Links Tom Watson  United States 279 (−5)PO £ 7 500
1974 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club Gary Player (3)  South Africa 282 (−2) £ 5 500
1973 Troon Golf Club Tom Weiskopf  United States 276 (−12) £ 5 500
1972 Muirfield Lee Trevino (2)  United States 278 (−6) £ 5 500
1971 Royal Birkdale Golf Club Lee Trevino  United States 278 (−10) £ 5 500
1970 St Andrews Jack Nicklaus (2)  United States 283 (−5)PO £ 5 250
1969 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club Tony Jacklin  England 280 (−4) £ 4 250
1968 Carnoustie Golf Links Gary Player (2)  South Africa 289 (+1) £ 3 000
1967 Royal Liverpool Golf Club Roberto De Vicenzo  Argentina 278 (−10) £ 2 100
1966 Muirfield Jack Nicklaus  United States 282 (−2) £ 2 100
1965 Royal Birkdale Golf Club Peter Thomson (5)  Australia 285 (−3) £ 1 750
1964 St Andrews Tony Lema  United States 279 (−9) £ 1 500
1963 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club Bob Charles  New Zealand 277 (−7)PO £ 1 500
1962 Troon Golf Club Arnold Palmer (2)  United States 276 (−12) £ 1 400
1961 Royal Birkdale Golf Club Arnold Palmer  United States 284 (−4) £ 1 400
1960 St Andrews Kel Nagle  Australia 278 (−10) £ 1 250
1959 Muirfield Gary Player  South Africa 284 (E) £ 1 000
1958 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club Peter Thomson (4)  Australia 278 (−10)PO £ 1 000
1957 St Andrews Bobby Locke (4)  South Africa 279 (−9) £ 1 000
1956 Royal Liverpool Golf Club Peter Thomson (3)  Australia 286 (−2) £ 1 000
1955 St Andrews Peter Thomson (2)  Australia 281 (−7) £ 1 000
1954 Royal Birkdale Golf Club Peter Thomson  Australia 283 (−5) £750
1953 Carnoustie Golf Links Ben Hogan  United States 282 (−6) £500
1952 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club Bobby Locke (3)  South Africa 287 (−1) £300
1951 Royal Portrush Golf Club Max Faulkner  England 285 (−3) £300
1950 Troon Golf Club Bobby Locke (2)  South Africa 279 (−9) £300
1949 Royal St George's Golf Club Bobby Locke  South Africa 283 (−5) £300
1948 Muirfield Henry Cotton (3)  England 288 (E) £150
1947 Royal Liverpool Golf Club Fred Daly  Northern Ireland 293 (+5) £150
1946 St Andrews Sam Snead  United States 290 (+2) £150
1940–1945: No Championships because of World War II
1939 St Andrews Dick Burton  England 290 (+2) £100
1938 Royal St George's Golf Club Reg Whitcombe  England 295 (+7) £100
1937 Carnoustie Golf Links Henry Cotton (2)  England 290 £100
1936 Royal Liverpool Golf Club Alf Padgham  England 287 £100
1935 Muirfield Alf Perry  England 283 £100
1934 Royal St George's Golf Club Henry Cotton  England 283 £100
1933 St Andrews Denny Shute  United States 292PO £100
1932 Prince's Golf Club Gene Sarazen  United States 283 £100
1931 Carnoustie Golf Links Tommy Armour  United States 296 £100
1930 Royal Liverpool Golf Club Bobby Jones (a) (3)  United States 291 Am – £100
1929 Muirfield Walter Hagen (4)  United States 292 £75
1928 Royal St George's Golf Club Walter Hagen (3)  United States 292 £75
1927 St Andrews Bobby Jones (a) (2)  United States 285 Am – £75
1926 Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club Bobby Jones (a)  United States 291 Am – £75
1925 Prestwick Golf Club Jim Barnes  England 300 £75
1924 Royal Liverpool Golf Club Walter Hagen (2)  United States 301 £75
1923 Troon Golf Club Arthur Havers  England 295 £75
1922 Royal St George's Golf Club Walter Hagen  United States 300 £75
1921 St Andrews Jock Hutchison  United States 296PO £75
1920 Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club George Duncan  Scotland 303 £75
1915–1919: No Championships because of World War I
1914 Prestwick Golf Club Harry Vardon (6)  Jersey 306 £50
1913 Royal Liverpool Golf Club John Henry Taylor (5)  England 304 £50
1912 Muirfield Ted Ray  Jersey 295 £50
1911 Royal St George's Golf Club Harry Vardon (5)  Jersey 303PO £50
1910 St Andrews James Braid (5)  Scotland 299 £50
1909 Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club John Henry Taylor (4)  England 291 £50
1908 Prestwick Golf Club James Braid (4)  Scotland 291 £50
1907 Royal Liverpool Golf Club Arnaud Massy  France 312 £50
1906 Muirfield James Braid (3)  Scotland 300 £50
1905 St Andrews James Braid (2)  Scotland 318 £50
1904 Royal St George's Golf Club Jack White  Scotland 296 £50
1903 Prestwick Golf Club Harry Vardon (4)  Jersey 300 £50
1902 Royal Liverpool Golf Club Sandy Herd  Scotland 307 £50
1901 Muirfield James Braid  Scotland 309 £50
1900 St Andrews John Henry Taylor (3)  England 309 £50
1899 St George's Golf Club Harry Vardon (3)  Jersey 310 £30
1898 Prestwick Golf Club Harry Vardon (2)  Jersey 307 £30
1897 Royal Liverpool Golf Club Harold Hilton (a) (2)  England 314 Am – £30
1896 Muirfield Harry Vardon  Jersey 316 PO £30
1895 St Andrews John Henry Taylor (2)  England 322 £30
1894 St George's Golf Club John Henry Taylor  England 326 £30
1893 Prestwick Golf Club William Auchterlonie  Scotland 322 £30
1892 Muirfield Harold Hilton (a)  England 305 Am – £35
1891 St Andrews Hugh Kirkaldy  Scotland 166 £10
1890 Prestwick Golf Club John Ball (a)  England 164 Am – £13
1889 Musselburgh Links Willie Park, Jnr (2)  Scotland 155PO £8
1888 St Andrews Jack Burns  Scotland 171 £8
1887 Prestwick Golf Club Willie Park, Jnr  Scotland 161 £8
1886 Musselburgh Links David Brown  Scotland 157 £8
1885 St Andrews Bob Martin (2)  Scotland 171 £10
1884 Prestwick Golf Club Jack Simpson  Scotland 160 £8
1883 Musselburgh Links Willie Fernie  Scotland 159PO £8
1882 St Andrews Bob Ferguson (3)  Scotland 171 £12
1881 Prestwick Golf Club Bob Ferguson (2)  Scotland 170 £8
1880 Musselburgh Links Bob Ferguson  Scotland 162 £8
1879 St Andrews Jamie Anderson (3)  Scotland 169 £10
1878 Prestwick Golf Club Jamie Anderson (2)  Scotland 157 £8
1877 Musselburgh Links Jamie Anderson  Scotland 160 £8
1876 St Andrews Bob Martin  Scotland 176 £10
1875 Prestwick Golf Club Willie Park, Snr (4)  Scotland 166 £8
1874 Musselburgh Links Mungo Park  Scotland 159 £8
1873 St Andrews Tom Kidd  Scotland 179 £11
1872 Prestwick Golf Club Tom Morris, Jnr (4)  Scotland 166 £8
1871 No Championship
1870 Prestwick Golf Club Tom Morris, Jnr (3)  Scotland 149 £6
1869 Prestwick Golf Club Tom Morris, Jnr (2)  Scotland 157 £6
1868 Prestwick Golf Club Tom Morris, Jnr  Scotland 154 £6
1867 Prestwick Golf Club Tom Morris, Snr (4)  Scotland 170 £7
1866 Prestwick Golf Club Willie Park, Snr (3)  Scotland 169 £6
1865 Prestwick Golf Club Andrew Strath  Scotland 162 £8
1864 Prestwick Golf Club Tom Morris, Snr (3)  Scotland 167 £6
1863 Prestwick Golf Club Willie Park, Snr (2)  Scotland 168 -
1862 Prestwick Golf Club Tom Morris, Snr (2)  Scotland 163 -
1861 Prestwick Golf Club Tom Morris, Snr  Scotland 163 -
1860 Prestwick Golf Club Willie Park, Snr  Scotland 174 -

(a) denotes amateur
PO denotes playoff

Silver Medal winners

The Silver Medal is awarded to the leading amateur, provided that the player completes all 72 holes. The medal was first awarded in 1949.

In the 64 Championships from 1949 to 2012 it was won by 40 different golfers on 45 occasions. Frank Stranahan won it 4 times while Joe Carr and Michael Bonallack each won it twice. In 19 Championships no amateur qualified for the final round and the medal was not awarded.

Winners: 1949 Frank Stranahan, 1950 Frank Stranahan, 1951 Frank Stranahan, 1952 J.W. Jones, 1953 Frank Stranahan, 1954 Peter Toogood, 1955 Joe Conrad, 1956 Joe Carr, 1957 W.D. Smith, 1958 Joe Carr, 1959 Robert Reid Jack, 1960 Guy Wolstenholme, 1961 Ronald White, 1962 Charlie Green, 1963 Michael Burgess, 1966 Ronnie Shade, 1968 Michael Bonallack, 1969 Peter Tupling, 1970 Steve Melnyk, 1971 Michael Bonallack, 1973 Danny Edwards, 1979 Peter McEvoy, 1980 Jay Sigel, 1981 Hal Sutton, 1982 Malcolm Lewis, 1985 José María Olazábal, 1987 Paul Mayo, 1989 Russell Claydon, 1991 Jim Payne, 1992 Darren Lee, 1993 Iain Pyman, 1994 Warren Bennett, 1995 Steve Webster, 1996 Tiger Woods, 1997 Barclay Howard, 1998 Justin Rose, 2001 David Dixon, 2004 Stuart Wilson, 2005 Lloyd Saltman, 2006 Marius Thorp, 2007 Rory McIlroy, 2008 Chris Wood, 2009 Matteo Manassero, 2010 Jin Jeong, 2011 Tom Lewis

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