The British Open
The British Open, or “The Open Championship” as it is referred to officially, is the oldest of all four major championships in professional golf – The Masters, The US Open, The Open, and The PGA Championship. The Open Championship was first played on October 17, 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland. While the other three majors are played in the United States, The Open is played outside the U.S. as it is administered by the R&A – the governing body of golf outside the U.S. and Mexico.
The tournament is held every year on one of nine links courses amidst Scotland and England. While it was played once at Northern Ireland’s Royal Portrush in 1951, The Open has not returned since. While The Open Championship has been played 60 times in Scotland, 48 times in England, and once in Ireland, there is no strict rule. The R&A appoints the host of the championship typically five years in advance.
The Open is always played on the weekend of the third Friday in July. It is a 72-hole stroke play tournament with a cut at the end of the first two rounds, limiting the field to the top 70 players and ties. In the event of a tie after 72 holes, The Open features a four-hole playoff and continues to sudden-death if a winner has still not emerged.
Over the years of The Open Championship, several awards have been given out for various achievements. Some of these include the Challenge Belt, The Gold Medal, The Silver Medal, and the Bronze Medal. Today perhaps the most prized award is The Claret Jug. Also known as the Golf Champion Trophy, it replaced the Challenge Belt and has been awarded to the winner each year since 1873.
British Open Courses in Scotland
Old Course at St Andrews:
The ”Home of Golf”. The Old Course has played host to the greatest golfers in the world and produced many of golf’s dramatic moments. Wide double fairways, seven extensive double greens, and a multitude of intimidating bunkers are just some of the unique features you will encounter.
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Carnoustie Golf Links, Championship Course:
Host to the British Open on seven occasions and considered by many to be the most challenging of all Open venues. While the links is relatively flat it is exposed to the elements. A combination of length and accuracy are required from the tee and approach shots demand precision to the greens heavily guarded by steep bunkers and burns. Arguably the toughest finishing holes in championship golf, the course gained much praise following a testing but fair set up for the 2007 Open Championship.
Home to Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers since 1744, Muirfield has a distinctive design with the front nine wrapping along the outside of the links and the back nine circling the interior. Over the winters of 2010 and 2011, changes at 15 holes were made, including the introduction of new bunkers in selected drive areas; the relocation of green-side bunkers to tighten the entrances to greens; the extension of greens to provide more championship pin positions, and the introduction of six new championship tees taking the course to 7245 yards in length.
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The Turnberry Resort, Ailsa Course:
Lying on a spectacular curve of rockbound coast in the southern reaches of Ayrshire. The coastal scenery is magnificent especially from the 4th through the 11th passing the famous landmark lighthouse at the turn. This is a demanding links, and an ever present wind will make for a tough examination of your golfing skills. In 2009, the Ailsa Course hosted the Open Championship for the 4th time when golfing legend Tom Watson lost out to Stewart Cink in a playoff for the Claret Jug.
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Royal Troon Golf Club, Old Course:
Eight time venue of the British Open, the course is scheduled to host the 2016 Championship. It is consistently praised for its testing but fair set up. A long and demanding links, Troon unusually boasts both the longest and the shortest holes in Open Championship golf, being the Postage Stamp 8th at 126 yards, and the 6th at 577 yards 6th named Turnberry.
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British Open Courses in England
Royal St George’s Golf Club:
Located on the Kent Coast of England. The first course in England to host the Open Championship in 1894, it has been a host venue on twelve occasions since that day. A links course full of awkward twists and turns each designed to derail an overconfident approach. The Open returned to Royal St. George’s in 2003 when Ben Curtis came out on top. The course is scheduled to once again host the Open Championship in 2011.
Royal Birkdale Golf Club:
A course that provides a formidable test of links golf and fully deserves its recognition as a true venue for the Open Championship. Each hole runs in valleys between towering sand hills. The problems are clearly stated, if you stray from the fairway the buckthorn and scrub can be demanding. The Open was last played at Birkdale in 2008 when Padraig Harrington lifted the Claret Jug for back to back Open Championships.
Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club:
Arguably the toughest of England’s championship links courses. Unusual for a British links it does not sit beside the sea. Its main defense is the vast numbers of deep bunkers guarding both the fairways as well as the greens. It enjoys a very special atmosphere. It was here in 1926 that Bobby Jones won the British Open Championship; his legendary shot to the 17th green is commemorated by a plaque.
Royal Liverpool Golf Club:
Despite its somewhat flat and benign appearance, Royal Liverpool is among the toughest and most demanding of the great seaside championship links of Britain. Hoylake, as it is more commonly known, lies at the very heart of the history and development of golf in Britain. Built in 1869, on what was then the racecourse of the Liverpool Hunt Club, Hoylake is one of the oldest English seaside courses.
Future Open Championship Venues
When: July 17-20, 2014
Course: Royal Liverpool Golf Club
When: July 16-19, 2015
Course: Old Course at St Andrews
Town: St Andrews
When: July 21-24, 2016
Course: Royal Troon Golf Club
2015 British Open at St Andrews by Sea
England, Ireland & Scotland on board Azamara Quest
14 Nights | 7 Rounds | Attend the Open at St Andrews
Southampton – Edinburgh | 4 – 18 July 2015
Join PerryGolf in July of 2015 for what will surely be our finest British Open Golf Cruise yet!
Our 14 night voyage will begin in Southampton, England for its journey through the British Isles including eleven ports-of-call en route to St Andrews for attendance to the 144th Open Championship at the legendary Old Course. The itinerary is beautifully balanced with famous city experiences such as Liverpool, Dublin and Edinburgh along with visits to the charming island of Guernsey and the Isle of Man. We’ll explore the great beauty of the Scotland’s Hebridean archipelago with visits to the isles of Skye and Lewis before sailing on to the Scottish Highlands and to Edinburgh and The Open at St Andrews.
The golf arrangements are exceptional. Your biggest decision may well be whether to join the Tom Morris flight or the Arnold Palmer flight. Either way, you are assured of seven fabulous rounds including Royal Clubs, Open Championship and Ryder Cup venues. The PerryGolf staff will oversee all aspects of your golf experience from daily pairings and scoring to caddie arrangements and the handling of your golf clubs, which will be set up at each club awaiting your arrival from the ship.
The on board experience with Azamara is to want for nothing. Our companies partnered in 2013 for our British Open golf cruise to Muirfield and found an ideal match of form and function. The 694 passenger Quest is large enough to provide every comfort and amenity, yet nimble enough to navigate smaller harbours. Azamara is recognized as a specialist for “destination immersion” by providing more time in port than other major cruise lines. You’ll find an impressive selection of Land Discoveries® that you can enjoy to their fullest. PerryGolf also offers accompanying non-golfing spouses the option to attend Friday’s play of the 144th British Open Golf Championship. It really is the perfect vacation for golfers and non-golfers alike!
Forty-two suites are available on Quest, each attended by English-style butler service. Dining, wine, beer, spirits, coffees and sodas plus shuttle service to and from port communities, and more is inclusive along with all gratuities. Better yet, three half days at sea are scheduled for you to unwind with the help of this outstanding vessel.
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Client Comments ~2013 British Open Golf Cruise to Muirfield
The Open Championship Records
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.
Past Open Championship Winners
About the Author: Harrison Gould is the Social Media Marketing Manager of PerryGolf, the leading provider of international golf vacations. You can find him on Google+