Fun golf stuffGolf FeaturesGolf newsLead article

Why we love The Open Championship

By July 17, 2012December 3rd, 2014No Comments

the-openThe Open Championship is the oldest major in golf and while it is referred to in America as “The British Open”, most golfing aficionados know it simply as “The Open”. There’s just something so grand about the tournament first played in 1860 at Prestwick GC, originally contested by a small field of just 8 Scottish golfers. It’s the only major contested outside of the USA and the only one that is played on a true links course, giving it a different and very special flavour. It’s tough, it’s full of history, and it’s unlike any other tournament. Tiger Woods recently said The Open was his favourite championship in golf and we’d have to agree.

Here’s why we love The Open Championship…

The Weather

The weather? Surely the worst thing about “the British”? Wrong!

True links courses provide a vastly different challenge to what modern day touring professionals are used to playing week in week out. Situated on or near the coast, links courses are perennially played in unpredictable conditions which call for shot shaping, imagination and most of all determination. The only certainty attached to The Open is that nobody can predict the weather! The wind is the biggest factor when it comes to battling against one of the 9 links courses currently on the Open rotation but inevitably the players will have to see out a few heavy showers. This is all part of the fun of playing links golf, where man does battle against the formidable team of the links and Mother Nature.

It really is an Open Championship

The ethos of the tournament has always been “if you qualify, you can play”. That hasn’t changed and there’s something about this attitude we love. Average Joes like you and I can theoretically play in the Open…it’s just the small matter of battling through qualifying rounds against the world’s best amateur golfers that stands in our way. Like I said, theoretically, we can all play in The Open. This is the People’s tournament!

You can’t pick a winner

They say links golf is a great leveller and that anyone can emerge out of the field and get their hands on the Claret Jug on Open Sunday. Sure Tiger, Jack, Seve and the like each have multiple Open Championships under their belts, but for every one of them there is a Ben Curtis, Todd Hamilton or Paul Lawrie. The likes of 59 year old Tom Watson coming so close to a record 6th Claret Jug at Turnberry in 2009 highlights this fact even further. While other major tournaments are often won by one of the game’s elite players, we have no clue who will be walking proudly up the 18th at Royal Lytham & St Anne’s come Sunday evening.

Few players have dominated The Open – and that’s just the way we like it.

History

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 Scottish golfers,who played three rounds of Prestwick’s twelve-hole course in a single day.

Originally, the trophy presented to the event’s winner was the Champion’s Belt, a red leather belt with a silver buckle. There was no prize money in the first three Opens but in 1863, a prize fund of £10 was introduced, which was shared between the second- third- and fourth-placed professionals. This year’s winner will walk off with £900,000…times have changed! The trophy has changed as well with the Claret Jug first having been awarded in place of the champion’s belt in 1872.

Everything about The Open is special. It first started out as 8 Scotsmen playing three rounds on a 12 hole course and we are still fascinated by it in its current form today. If only Old Tom Morris and co could see what it has become today!

The Fans

The Open Championship would not be what it is without the thousands of hardy golf fans who get wrapped up to watch their golfing heroes strut their stuff on the world’s best links courses. Costumes are not uncommon, plenty of beers are sunk but there is always total respect for the players who constantly comment on the fact that Open Championship fans have a deep understanding of the game of golf. No idiotic “GET IN THE HOLE!” or “MASHED POTATOES!” being yelled here!

Peter Allis and the BBC

Let’s face it…golf on TV just isn’t the same without the velvet tones of Peter Allis, also known as “The Voice of Golf”, providing the commentary. The cheesy and nostalgic sound of the BBC grandstand theme gets my golfing juices flowing as well!

The courses

Currently The Open is shared between nine of the finest links courses in the world and is the only major that is played outside of the USA. Links courses are unique, vastly different from inland courses and fabulous tests of a golfer’s skill. They are what golf was designed to be played on and along with ever changing weather conditions they truly push golfers to their limit.

All of the current Open Championship host courses are situated in Scotland and England with only one course from another country, Royal Portrush, having hosted the game’s oldest major.

In Scotland you have the likes of Royal Troon, Muirfield, Turnberry, Carnoustie and, of course, the St Andrews Old Course and in England Royal St Georges in Kent is joined by the famous Southport trio of Royal Birkdale, Royal Liverpool and this year’s host, Royal Lytham & St Anne’s.

While these courses are now synonymous with The Open, they might not be the only courses on the rota in the coming years. Following the successes of Northern Irish golfers in the majors – think McIlroy, McDowell and Clarke – the R&A have been under pressure to reinstate Royal Portrush to the rota. Having just hosted the Irish Open, which became the most successful European Tour event in years, this mighty course may just rejoin The Open party but it is not the only course that could be considered good enough to host the game’s best players.

Kyle Philips’ Kingsbarns has drawn plaudits from all who have played it since it opened just over a decade ago and of course we now have the much publicised Trump International Golf Links on the menu as well. While golfers like Tiger and Rory McIlroy may be used to the spotlight it is the courses that are the stars of The Open show.

If you love The Open then why not make sure you are there next year? Our Open Championship Golf Tours are a great way of catching the action from the game’s oldest major and getting to play a few holes of golf yourself.


 

For information on England Golf Breaks and Scottish Golf Holidays please visit www.yourgolftravel.com or call free on 0800 043 6644.


 

yourgolftravel.com facebook.com/yourgolftravel twitter.com/yourgolftravel yourgolftravel.com/19th-hole
Your Golf Travel Facebook Twitter Blog


Rory

Rory

The resident golf geek at Your Golf Travel. Have been lucky enough to have travelled far and wide playing golf and if I’m not writing about it at work, you will probably find me hacking it around my local course. Owner of 2 holes in one and some of the most crooked drives you have ever seen! www.yourgolftravel.com/ygt-rory

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.