PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (AP) — A look at key anniversaries during this year’s British Open:
150 YEARS AGO (1869)
One year after Young Tom Morris became the first player to break 50 to win his first British Open, he made more history with the first hole-in-one on the 166-yard eighth hole at Prestwick. The 18-year-old Morris led by three shots after the opening round, and stretched the lead to four shots over Davie Strath after two rounds. On the final day with high wind, Morris closed with a 52 — by five shots the best score of the final round — for an 11-shot victory over Bob Kirk. He joined his father, Old Tom Morris, as the only players to win back to back.
100 YEARS AGO (1919)
The British Open was not held for the fifth straight year because of World War I.
The British Open was not held for the fourth straight year because of World War II. The only major held in 1944 was the PGA Championship, which resumed after a one-year hiatus.
50 YEARS AGO (1969)
Tony Jacklin ended 18 long years without a British player winning the claret jug. It looked as though the streak might continue when Bob Charles of New Zealand got off to a 66-69 start at Royal Lytham & St. Annes to take the lead at the halfway point, only for Jacklin to answer with a 70 in the third round as Charles stumbled to a 75 to fall two shots behind. Jacklin never trailed on the last day, and the home crowd mobbed the 25-year-old Englishman as he headed to the 18th green for a 72 and a two-shot victory over Charles. Americans would win eight of the next nine, but Jacklin’s victory renewed pride in British golf.
25 YEARS AGO (1994)
Nick Price closed with a 66 at Turnberry for a one-shot victory over Jesper Parnevik to win his second major championship, this one sending him on his way to be No. 1 in the world the following month. But there was much more to this victory. Parnevik had a three-shot lead going to the 18th hole, but he didn’t look at the scoreboard and thought he needed birdie to win. He played aggressively and made bogey for a 67. Behind him, Price birdied the 16th and then rolled in a 50-foot eagle putt on the 17th. A closing par gave him the claret jug. Price won the PGA Championship a month later at Southern Hills and held the No. 1 ranking until the U.S. Open the following year.
The most shocking collapse gave way to the greatest comeback in major championship history at Carnoustie. Jean Van de Velde of France, thanks to a brilliant week with the putter, opened a five-shot lead going into the final round and still led by three shots going to the final hole. What followed was inexplicable. A driver off the tee that narrowly avoided the Barry Burn. A 2-iron that struck the railing of the bleachers and caromed back some 80 yards in front of the burn into heavy rough. A wedge that fluttered into the burn. A penalty shot. A wedge to the bunker. He had to make an 8-foot putt for triple bogey just to join a playoff. Paul Lawrie teed off an hour earlier, 10 shots out of the lead, and his Sunday-best 67 figured to be worth no more than second place. Remarkably, he was in a playoff with Van de Velde and former Open champion Justin Leonard. Lawrie took the lead in the four-hole playoff with a 12-foot birdie putt on the 17th. And after Leonard hit into the Barry Burn for his second shot on the 18th, Lawrie hit 3-iron to 3 feet for birdie to secure his name on the claret jug and in the record book for the largest comeback ever in a major.
10 YEARS AGO (2009)
This British Open was too good to be true. Tom Watson, a five-time champion approaching his 60th birthday, stood in the 18th fairway at Turnberry with a one-shot lead and an 8-iron in his hand. It landed on the front of the green and rolled all the way over the back. He used putter to rap it up to 8 feet, setting up a par putt for the most amazing major championship victory. The putt never had a chance. An hour later, neither did Watson. Stewart Cink, who made a 12-foot putt on the final hole for a 69 that looked like it would only be good for second place, overwhelmed a weary Watson in the four-hole playoff. With two pars and two birdies, he won by a record six shots over four holes. “It would have been a hell of a story, wouldn’t it?” Watson said. “And it was almost. Almost. The dream almost came true.”