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The Open: Ten popular and emotional victories in the major

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Shane Lowry is cheered home on the 18th at Royal Portrush

Shane Lowry is cheered home on the 18th at Royal Portrush

Shane Lowry’s win at Royal Portrush is the latest in a long line of emotional victories in The Open. Here we take a look back at 10 popular successes…

2019

The Open was back at Royal Portrush following a 68-year absence with much of the focus on Rory McIlroy ahead of the tournament.

However, after McIlroy missed the cut, Shane Lowry emerged as the main home hope with a course-record 63 taking him four clear after the third round.

There were plenty of celebrations on Saturday evening, but these did not prove to be premature as Lowry rode a tidal wave of support in the final round to wrap up a six-shot victory over Tommy Fleetwood.

Lowry collected the Claret Jug amid emotional scenes in front of the packed grandstands around the 18th green with chants of ‘ole, ole, ole’ ringing out across the course.

Highlights from Shane Lowry’s four rounds at The Open which saw him claim a six-shot victory at Royal Portrush.

2014

Rory McIlroy won his third major title with a thrilling two-shot victory over Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler in The 143rd Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

McIlroy, then aged 25, was roared on by the vocal crowd at Hoylake and was embraced by his mother Rosie after holing the winning putt.

“This is the first major I have won when my mum has been here,” McIlroy said. “So mum; this one is for you. It was just great to see her on the back of the 18th there and how much it meant to her. I was trying not to cry at the time because she was bawling her eyes out.

“The Open is the one we all want and the one we strive for. To be holding the Claret Jug is an incredible feeling.”

Rory McIlroy kisses the Claret Jug in 2014 Rory McIlroy kisses the Claret Jug in 2014

2011

Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke claimed his maiden major title at the age of 42 when he triumphed by three shots in The 140th Open at Royal St George’s.

Clarke, playing in his 20th Open and seemingly past his days as a leading contender, finished three clear of Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson after holding his nerve with a level-par 70 in the final round.

He was the oldest debut major-winner and oldest Open champion since Roberto De Vicenzo in 1967 and was overcome with emotion afterwards after battling back to form following the death of his wife Heather in 2006.

“It’s for the kids,” he said. “It’s been a long and bumpy road, I have had some good things happen to me and some bad things, but I’ve had so much support from an awful lot of people.”

Darren Clarke is all smiles after his 2011 success Darren Clarke is all smiles after his 2011 success

2006

The 135th Open at Royal Liverpool was Tiger Woods’ first major since the death of his father Earl in May of that year.

Woods led by one after the second and third rounds and then held off Chris DiMarco, Ernie Els and Jim Furyk to triumph by two shots from the former and complete back-to-back Open victories.

After holing the winning putt, Woods buried his head in the shoulder of his caddie Steve Williams and sobbed uncontrollably.

“Stevie said to me as we were coming up the last, ‘this one is for dad’,” said the-then 30-year-old. “And then, after the putt, all these emotions just poured out of me. They have been locked in there.

“I just miss my dad so much. I wish he could have been here to witness this. He enjoyed watching me grind out major wins and this would have brought a smile to his face.”

Tiger Woods was overcome with emotion after winning The Open at Hoylake in 2006 Tiger Woods was overcome with emotion after winning The Open at Hoylake in 2006

1999

Paul Lawrie delighted the Scottish fans at Carnoustie in The 128th Open as he came from 10 shots back at the start of the fourth round to snatch victory.

Lawrie prevailed after a play-off with Justin Leonard and Jean van de Velde, the latter having thrown away a seemingly certain victory with his infamous triple-bogey at the 18th where he took his shoes and socks off as he pondered playing out of the burn.

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“Jean should have won,” Lawrie said. “No disrespect, I’m glad he did what he did. I can’t explain it but I had a feeling someone could come through who wasn’t supposed to.”

Paul Lawrie with the Claret Jug after his win in the 1999 Open Paul Lawrie with the Claret Jug after his win in the 1999 Open

1995

There was also a play-off at The 124th Open at St Andrews with American John Daly defeating Italy’s Costantino Rocca by four shots over four holes for his second major success.

Much of the emotion came at the 18th in regulation play when Rocca sunk to his knees and slammed the ground with his fists after he had clinched his place in the play-off by holing a 65-foot putt from the Valley of Sin after he had duffed his pitch.

There were also emotional scenes during the second round as Arnold Palmer received a rousing reception on the 18th as he signed off in his final Open.

John Daly was crowned the 1995 Open champion John Daly was crowned the 1995 Open champion

1988

Seve Ballesteros secured his third Open title at Royal Lytham & St Annes in the tournament’s first Monday finish.

The Spanish legend clinched the victory thanks to a six-under 65, which contained some superb shots, in a thrilling final round as he overhauled Zimbabwe’s Nick Price to win by two.

“So far, it is the best round of my life,” Ballesteros said. “Nick Price showed he was a champion, too. I was just a little bit luckier. It is a pity there can only be one champion.”

Nick Price, Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo before the final round of the Open Championship at the Royal Lytham in 1988 Nick Price, Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo before the final round of the Open Championship at the Royal Lytham in 1988

1984

Ballesteros had claimed his second Open victory four years earlier amid emotional scenes at St Andrews.

A 12-foot birdie putt at the 18th which just dropped in proved to be crucial for the Spaniard and he pumped his fist before embracing his caddie Nick de Paul.

“I was so excited,” he said. “It was the happiest single shot of my life.”

Tom Watson had made a bogey in behind at the 17th around the same time which enabled Ballesteros to win by two from the American and Germany’s Bernhard Langer.

Ballesteros punches the air at St Andrews in 1984 Ballesteros punches the air at St Andrews in 1984

1977

The 106th Open at Turnberry is known as the ‘Duel In The Sun’ following the famous battle between Watson and Jack Nicklaus.

The pair were tied for the lead after three rounds and went head to head in the final round with Nicklaus initially going three clear before Watson fought back to level at the 15th.

A birdie at the 17th proved crucial for Watson and the pair walked off the 18th green arm in arm after they both finished their epic battle with birdies.

Hubert Green was 10 shots back in third place as Watson lifted the Claret Jug for a second time.

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1969

Tony Jacklin ended Britain’s 18-year wait for a winner when he prevailed by two shots from New Zealand’s Bob Charles in The 98th Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

Jacklin, then 25, took a two-shot advantage into the final round and he retained that thanks to a one-over 72.

Like Lowry 50 years later, Jacklin was roared on by his home crowd and was mobbed by spectators on the 18th fairway after hitting his approach shot into the green.

Jacklin remains the most recent Englishman to win The Open at an English course.

Tony Jacklin celebrates his Open success Tony Jacklin celebrates his Open success
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