The Open

British Open 2018: Frequently Asked Questions

A view across the 18th green towards the clubhouse during The Open Championship Media Day at Carnoustie Golf Club. (Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)

By Christopher Powers

The Open Championship returns to Carnoustie Golf Links this year for its eighth hosting of the event. While all courses in the Open Championship rota present unique challenges, arguably none are tougher than Carnoustie, which has produced over par winning totals four of the seven times it’s hosted.

It will be the first time the Open Championship has been played at Carnoustie since 2007 when Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff. Prior to that, it hosted one of the most famous Opens in major championship history, when Jean van de Velde blew a three-stroke lead on the 72nd hole by making a disastrous triple bogey. There’s little doubt the iconic course will produce another epic championship again in 2018. Here are some frequently asked questions about the Open Championship.

When is the Open Championship played?
The Open Championship is the season’s third major, played in mid-July. This year, it will be held July 19-22.

Will the Open Championship always be the third major of the year?
No, beginning next season the Open Championship will become the final major of the season, as the PGA will be played in May going forward.

Who conducts the Open Championship?
The R&A conducts the Championship.

Is the British Open the same as the Open Championship?
Yes, it is. In the United States and other parts of the world, the tournament is referred to as the British Open to help distinguish the championship from Opens in other countries. However, the official name of the tournament is The Open Championship.

When and where was the first Open Championship? And who won?
The first Open Championship was played in 1860 at Prestwick in South Ayrshire, Scotland. It was a one-day, 36-hole competition. Willie Park, Sr., won by two strokes with a total score of 174.

What is the format of the Open Championship? How many players are in the field?
The Open Championship is a four-round, 72-hole stroke play competition, with a cut after 36 holes. There are 156 players in the field.

If players are tied after 72 holes, how is the winner determined?
The Open Championship employs a four-hole aggregate playoff if players are tied at the end of four rounds. If players are still tied after four holes they play sudden death until a winner is determined. It’s not the only major to use the aggregate format – the PGA Championship uses a three-hole aggregate playoff in the event of a tie, and the U.S. Open made the switch from an 18-hole playoff to a two-hole aggregate in 2018.

Where is the Open Championship being held in 2018?
The 147th Open Championship is being held at Carnoustie Golf Links in Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland. This will be the eighth time Carnoustie will host the event, the last coming in 2007 when Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff to win his first of two Open Championships, his second coming the following year at Royal Birkdale.

The most famous, or infamous, Open Championship at Carnoustie was in 1999, when France’s Jean van de Velde took a three-stroke lead to the 72nd hole, only to make a disastrous triple bogey that put him in a three-man playoff with Paul Lawrie and Justin Leonard. Lawrie went on to win, completing an incredible 10-stroke comeback in the final round.

Who won the 2017 Open Championship?
Jordan Spieth won the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England, with a 72-hole total of 12-under 268. Spieth’s remarkable final round began with a three-over 37 on the front nine, but he came roaring back on the final nine, starting with his epic bogey at the par-4 13th that sparked his birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie rally. He finished with a one-under 69, good enough for a three-shot victory over Matt Kuchar.

Who has won the most Open Championships?
Harry Vardon holds the record for most victories at the Open Championship with six.

How can you qualify for the Open Championship?
There are several ways players can qualify for the Open Championship, including through the Open Qualifying Series and Final Qualifying, which you can learn more about here.

Will Tiger Woods be playing in this year’s Open Championship?
Yes, Tiger Woods will be in the field for the 2018 Open Championship. It’s the first time he’ll play in the event since 2015 at St. Andrews, where he failed to make the cut.

How many Open Championships has Tiger Woods won?
Tiger Woods has won three Open Championships: 2000 at St. Andrews, 2005 at St. Andrews and 2006 at Royal Liverpool.

What other sites host the Open Championship?
The Open Championship is the only major that uses a rotation or “rota” of courses in the United Kingdom. There are currently nine courses in the rota, four in England, five in Scotland. They are as follows: Carnoustie, St. Andrews, Royal Troon, Turnberry, Muirfield, Royal Birkdale, Royal Liverpool, Royal St. George’s and Royal Lytham. Additionally, Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland is scheduled to host The Open in 2019, the first time it has been held there since 1951.

Which country has hosted the most Open Championships?
Scotland has hosted the most, with 62 Open Championships, not including this year’s at Carnoustie.

How many players make the 36-hole cut?
The top 70 players and ties make the cut at the Open Championship.

Who is the oldest winner of the Open Championship?
Old Tom Morris is the oldest, winning the Open Championship in 1867 at Prestwick at the age of 46.

The youngest?
Young Tom Morris is the youngest, winning the Open Championship the following year in 1868 at Prestwick at the age of 17. He also holds the record for most consecutive victories (4), winning the next three in a row after his first.

What is the lowest round shot in the Open Championship?
Ten players held the record of 63 up until last season at Royal Birkdale, when South Africa’s Branden Grace set a new record for all major championships, carding a third-round eight-under 62.

What is the lowest round in relation to par in Open Championship history?
Paul Broadhurst and Rory McIlroy hold the record for lowest rounds in relation to par, with Broadhurst carding a nine-under 63 in the third round of the 1990 Open Championship at St. Andrews. McIlroy’s nine-under 63 also came at St. Andrews in the first round of the 2010 Open Championship.

What is the 72-hole scoring record? In relation to par?
Henrik Stenson set both scoring records in 2016 at Royal Troon, with 264 strokes and 20 under par.

What is the largest margin of victory?
The largest margin of victory in an Open Championship came in 1862 at Prestwick, when Old Tom Morris won by 13 strokes while the event was still contested over 36 holes.

The largest margin since World War II is eight strokes by Tiger Woods over Thomas Bjorn and Ernie Els during the 2000 Open at St. Andrews.

What is the highest winning score in Open Championship history?
The highest winning total came in 1894 when England’s J.H. Taylor won with 326 strokes at Royal St. George’s.

Has there ever been a wire-to-wire winner of the Open Championship?
There have been seven wire-to-wire winners in Open Championship history. They are: Ted Ray (1912, Muirfield), Bobby Jones (1927, St. Andrews), Gene Sarazen (1932, Prince’s), Henry Cotton (1934, Royal St. George’s), Tom Weiskopf (1973, Royal Troon), Tiger Woods (2005, St. Andrews) and Rory McIlroy (2014, Royal Liverpool).

Has an amateur ever won the Open Championship?
An amateur has won the Open Championship six times in history. They are: John Ball (1890, Prestwick), Harold Hilton (1892, Muirfield and 1897, Royal Liverpool) and Bobby Jones (1926, Royal Lytham and St. Annes; 1927, St. Andrews; 1930, Royal Liverpool).

What is the Silver Medal at the Open Championship?
The Silver Medal is awarded to the leading amateur of the Open Championship, provided they complete all 72 holes. Last year, England’s Alfie Plant won the award by completing all four round and finishing in a tie for 62nd.

How many times has an American won the Open Championship?
Of the 145 Open Championships that have been contested, an American has won 45 of them, the most any country has produced.

Which country has produced the next most Open Champions?
Scotland has produced the next most with 41 winners, while England has produced 20.

What type of conditions is the Open Championship played in?
The Open Championship is played at classic links golf courses that feature deep bunkers, no trees, massive, undulating greens and high fescue. It’s typically played in high winds, colder temperatures and often, rain.

What does the winner of the Open Championship receive?
The winner receives the Claret Jug, widely recognized as the greatest trophy in golf. He also carries the label of “The Champion Golfer of the Year.”

What is the Open Championship’s purse?
The total purse is $10.25 million, with the winner receiving a payout of $1,845,000.

How many world ranking points does the Open Champion receive?
The winner of the Open Championship receives 100 world ranking points.

How many FedEx Cup points does the Open Champion receive?
The winner of the Open Championship receives 600 points.

What are the confirmed future sites in the Open rota?
Future sites have been confirmed through 2020. They are as follows:
-Royal Portrush Golf Club – Portrush, Northern Ireland (2019)
-Royal St. George’s Golf Club – Sandwich, England (2020)
-The Old Course at St. Andrews – St. Andrews, Scotland (2021)

Who broadcasts the U.S. Open?
NBC signed a 12-year deal to broadcast the Open Championship, and this year will be its third.

 

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Golf Digest Middle East

Launched in 2008, Golf Digest Middle East is the #1 golf magazine in the region, featuring local content and exclusive articles from the world's leading professionals

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