Open Championship Trophy – The Claret Jug

Apart from the celebrated Green Jacket the annual winner of the US Masters dons each year, the Claret Jug is possibly one of the most sought after trophies in professional golf and it is most certainly one of the oldest.
It is a trophy that has held all sorts of libations over its 136 year history and it sports a couple of battle scars from the less vigilant of winners. Five time champion, Tom Watson, got a bit overzealous with his swing and dented the priceless silver trophy with his club, a blemish that remains to this day.

What’s in a Claret Jug?

The surprise champion of the 2003 Open, Ben Curtis, claimed he felt intoxicated for the first week after his triumphant win at the Royal St George’s Golf Club "We had everything from water to Coke to beer. We didn’t do anything too crazy," he said, grinning into the jug specifically designed to hold a standard bottle of wine.
Todd Hamilton, who defeated Ernie Els in a playoff at Royal Troon in 2004, possibly did the jug justice – he and a restaurateur friend quaffed Cristal out of it, whilst 1997 winner, Justin Leonard, fancied his trophy so much he drank iced tea out of it during the day and progressed to champagne by nightfall!

The Claret Jug replaces the Championship Belt

The Claret Jug wasn’t introduced to the Open Championship until Tom Morris junior claimed a hat-trick of titles in the late 1860’s and early 70’s. Prior to this feat a championship belt, crafted out of soft red Moroccan leather and embellished with silver buckles and insignia, had been awarded to the winner of the British Open.
Whoever decided on the actual design of the new silver trophy is lost in the mists of time, however we do know that the Claret Jug is a replica of the silver jugs used to serve Claret at aristocratic gatherings in the 19th Century and was crafted by Mackay & Cunningham of Edinburgh at a cost of just £30.
The original Claret jug has been safely ensconced in the British Museum of golf in the clubhouse of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews since 1928. The current jug, first awarded to Walter Hagen in 1928, remains with the champion for a year but must be returned before the next Open Championship tees off.