The Open

Past winners at Royal St Georges

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Past winners at Royal St Georges
Nick Smith / Royal St George’s Golf Clubhouse.

The open golf championships are held throughout the United Kingdom and unlike other locations in the world are on links courses.  Royal St Georges is one of those, set on the south coast of England in Kent it can be a windy inhospitable place to play golf, on the other a warm summer day where you hardly feel a breeze. 

Royal St Georges is one of 8 or 9 locations where the Open Golf Championships are currently played and is chosen because of its intimidating course, even for the Championship golfers.  The first hole is widely regarded as one of the toughest holes in championship golf and its deepest bunker in England.  It can be a very unforgiving course with all the fairway bumps from the dunes.  You can see the course here

Many great golfers have played the links course in Kent.  Many have found that it’s much harder to play than expected, or their luck was out on those days.  The 18 holes of golf do really show a true champion.  There are some fantastic names who have played here and never won.  The biggest of those in the current era is I suppose Tiger Woods, but their others before him Jack Nicolas, Arnold Palmer Tony Jacklin.

The first time the Open was played at Royal St Georges was in 1894 when John Henry Taylor, which was the first time the Open Championship was played outside of Scotland. The open has visited 13 times with the 149th Open was to have been played from July 12 to 19, 2020, but owing to the coronavirus was postponed until 2021.   

Royal St George's Open winners.

The Open Championship in 1894

Past winners at Royal St GeorgesThis was the 34th and was the first outside Scotland.   It was held on the 11th/12th June over 4 rounds.  It was won by John Henry Taylor (£30) with a score of 326, 5 strokes ahead of the second-place Douglas Rolland.  The field of 10 included Harry Vardon who came 5th,

The Open Championships in 1899
Harry Vardon

This was the 39th it was the second occasion at Royal St Georges and only the third time out of Scotland, It having been played at Royal Liverpool in 1897. Harry Vardon won with a four-round score of 310, five shots ahead of Jack White. John Henry Taylor was fourth that year.

The Open Championship in 1904
Jack White

This was the 43rd Open and was only the 5th time it had been played in England. Royal Liverpool featured again in 1902. Jack White won with a score of four-round score of 296, which stood as a championship record for the next quarter of a century, won by one shot from John Henry Taylor and James Braid. Tom Vardon was fourth.

The Open Championship in 1911
Harry Vardon

 This was the 50th Open.  It had now been played in England 8 times again at Liverpool and the previous year at the Royal Cinque ports.  It was won by Harry Vardon his fifth time of playing in the championships and his second and final time here, but not without a fight!  On the final day, there was a tie for first place with Arnaud Massey with a score of 303.  Next-Day at the subsequent playoff Harry Vardon won.  The whole field was within 7 shots of the winners on the day.

The Open Championships in 1922
Walter Hagen

This was the 56th Open.  The first World war Intervened.  This was 7th time the championships were played in England, two years previously at the Royal Cinque Ports.  It was won by Walter Hagen, this was his first of two occasions to win here with a score of 300. George Duncan was second one shot behind.  Harry Vardon was joint eighth.  This was the first time an American had won the Claret Jug.

The Open Championships in 1928
Walter Hagen

This was the 62nd Open and was the 10th time to have been played in England.  It was won by the dominating Walter Hagen for the second time here with a  four-round total of 292 (wow!) Gene Sarazen, who was also American,  was second two shots behind.

The Open Championships in 1934
Henry Cotton

This was the 68th time the  Open was played and was the 13th time to have been played in England.  It was won by Henry Cotton, the Brits finally had a winner after the previous 8 years of domination by Americans.  Not only that he set a new low score of 65 in round two using a Dunlop ball who subsequently renamed the product Dunlop 65.  He also equalled the tournament record of 283 set two years earlier. Sid Brews came second five shots behind.

The Open Championships in 1938

This was the 72nd time the Open was played.  It was won by Reg Whitcombe in gale force winds for the last two rounds.  He won with a total of 295, Jimmy Adams came second two shots behind.  Henry Cotton was third and this was the professional debut of Bobby Locke.

The Open Championships in 1949
Bobby Locke

This was the 77th time the open was played.  It was won by Bobby Locke.  After four rounds the championship was tied with Harry Bradshaw on 283.  It went to a playoff the next day where Bobby Locke won easily over 36 holes.  This was the first time a South African had won the Open and the first of four for Bobby Locke. 

The Open Championships in 1981

This was the 109th time the open was played.  It was won by Bill Rogers with a score of 276 with Bernhard Langer second, four shots behind.  The weather played a full part on the first two days, with Jack Nicolas scoring 83 on the first day.

The Open Championships 1985
Sandy Lyle

This was the 113th time the open was played.  It was won by Sandy Lyle with a score of 282, Payne Stuart came second one shot behind.  This was another year where the links course and the weather intervened.

The Open Championship in 1993
Greg Norman

This was the 121st time the open had been played.  It was won by Greg Norman on 267,  Every round was under 70 and the final round 64 which was the best round ever to win the open.  Nick Faldo was two shots behind.  This was a low scoring championship due to earlier rain.

The Open championship in 2003

This was the 131st time the Open had been played.  It was won by Ben Curtis on 283 and Thomas Bjorn two shots behind.  It was a windy first day that allowed an exciting finish.

The Open Championships in 2011

This was the 140th time the Open had been played.  It was won by Darren Clarke on 275 with Dustin Johnson 3 shots behind.  This was a championship where the weather played its part on all four days. 

Who will be the champion in 2021?

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