British Open History

Open Championship (as it is known in the United Kingdom) or British Open history dates back to 1860, and the tournament has been played every year since, save for two breaks during the wartime years of 1915 to 1919 and 1940 to 1945.

The first Open Championship was played over three rounds at the 12-hole Prestwick Golf Course (now known as the Royal Prestwick) in October, 1860. Just eight men played in that first challenge and Willie Park of Musselburgh beat Tom Morris by two strokes with a score of 174.

It was only in 1894 that English golf clubs began to be included in the venue rotation of what, over the years, has become one of the most famous and widely viewed sporting events in the world.

Of the 136 times the British Open has been staged since 1860, a Scottish club has hosted 90 of them. The Open Championship still clings to the roots of its prestigious history; spending its formative years exclusively in Scotland, the tournament retains a rich Scottish vein.

Today, Scotland is home to five of the nine British courses that share the privilege of hosting the British Open. St Andrews, Muirfield, Royal Troon, Carnoustie and Turnberry are the cream of the crop in terms of Scottish links course. Indeed, they are among the best is the world.

But in Scotland, golf is the game of the people and readily accessible to everyone. Unlike privileged courses in other parts of the globe, these fabled links also remain very much available for visitors to play, allowing the general public to experience the thrill of playing courses steeped in history and tradition and born of a rich golfing heritage.

The Trophy

British Open history began in 1860, when Willie Park Snr was awarded the Challenge Belt, made of wide, red Moroccan leather and gilded with silver buckles and emblems.

The first man to hold the present trophy aloft was 1873 champion Tom Kidd. This trophy has come to be the oldest and most coveted in world golf. The original Championship Cup, or “Claret Jug”, as it is known, has remained permanently at the R&A since 1927, with a copy being presented to each British Open winner to keep until the crowning of the new champion.

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