Capsules of previous Open Championships at St Andrews

By Doug FergusonJuly 9, 2010, 9:51 pm

135th Open Championship ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – A capsule look at the 27 previous British Opens played at St. Andrews:


1873: Tom Kidd won the first Open held on the Old Course with the highest 36-hole score ever, 179, for a one-shot victory over Jamie Anderson. He beat a 26-man field, most of them local, on a soggy St. Andrews. The Fifeshire Journal report said of Kidd, “As a player, he is likely to improve.” He died 11 years later at age 35.

1876: In one of the most bizarre endings, Bob Martin and David Strath finished at 169. On the 17th, Strath’s third shot hit a player in the group ahead that was putting out, keeping the ball from going on the road. The committee decided there would be a playoff in two days, enough time to review whether Strath should be disqualified for hitting to the hole while players were still on the green. Strath refused to take part in a playoff under such conditions, and Martin was declared the winner.

1879: Jamie Anderson had a 169 for a three-stroke victory over Andrew Kirkaldy and James Allan. He joined Young Tom Morris as the only men to win three consecutive Open championships.

1882: Bob Ferguson, a caddie by trade, threatened to become the first player to break 80 in an Open at St. Andrews. He had 83, and finished at 181 to defeat Willie Fernie by three strokes. It, too, was his third straight Open title. He later returned to work as a caddie and greenskeeper.

1885: What the local newspaper called a “stiff breeze,” the national Daily Mail called “equinoctial gales.” In such weather, Bob Martin became the first two-time Open winner at St. Andrews with a 171, one stroke better than Archie Simpson.

1888: Jack Burns won the Open by one stroke, but only after an erroneous score had been reported. Burns, Anderson and Ben Sayers each finished at 172, but it was discovered that Burns actually went out in 46 – not 47 – and he was declared the champion. Burns later moved back to St. Andrews to work on the railways. Davie Anderson Jr. became the first player to break 40 on the inward nine.

1891: Hugh Kirkaldy, with a full swing in the style of John Daly, had no worse than a 5 on his scorecard. He went out in 38 and came in with nine straight 5s on his card for another 83. He finished at 166 for a two-stroke victory over brother Andrew Kirkaldy and Willie Fernie.

1895: J.H. Taylor trailed Sandy Herd by three strokes going into the final round, but closed with a 78 – the best score of the day by four strokes – to finish four ahead of Herd at 322.

1900: J.H. Taylor led wire-to-wire to win his third Open at 309, eight strokes ahead of Harry Vardon. Taylor produced the lowest score in all four rounds, a feat never repeated in any major championship.

1905: This might sound familiar: To counteract the new Haskell rubber-core ball, tees were lengthened and more pot bunkers were added to the Old Course. Only a dozen scores under 80 were recorded, and James Braid had a 318, the highest Open score in 10 years, to win by five strokes over J.H. Taylor and Rowland Jones.

1910: James Braid won his fifth Open with a 299, topping the previous 72-hole record at St. Andrews by 10 shots and beating Sandy Herd by four. Braid was two shots behind going into the last round, but 54-hole leader George Duncan closed with an 83.

1921: Jock Hutchinson set an Open record with a 70 in the last round to tie amateur Roger Wethered at 296. He beat Wethered by nine strokes (150-159) in a 36-hole playoff for his second straight major.

1927: Bobby Jones became the first amateur to win back-to-back Opens, with a start-to-finish victory for a 285, the lowest score in either a U.S. or British Open. He won by six strokes over Aubrey Boomer and Fred Robson.

1933: Denny Shute, best known for back-to-back victories in the U.S. PGA Championship, won his first major with four straight rounds of 73 for a 292. He beat Craig Wood by five shots (149-154) in a 36-hole playoff. Over the next two years, Wood was runner-up in the Masters, U.S. Open and U.S. PGA Championship.

1939: Dick Burton overcame a 77 in the third round to close with a 71 and finish at 290 for a two-stroke victory over Johnny Bulla. Burton set one unfortunate record – the longest time holding the claret jug, because World War II canceled the Open until 1946.

1946: Sam Snead was one of the few Americans who journeyed across the Atlantic for the first postwar Open. As the train pulled into St. Andrews and he saw the Old Course for the first time, he wasn’t sure what it was. “What abandoned course is this?” he said to the man next to him. Snead learned to respect the course, and he closed with a 75 to finish at 290, four shots ahead of Johnny Bulla.

1955: Peter Thomson won his second straight Open. He was the only player at par or better in all four rounds and finished at 281 for a two-stroke victory over Johnny Fallon. Byron Nelson, retired for nearly 10 years, finished 33rd at 296.

1957: The finish of the British Open was on live television for the first time, and viewers saw Bobby Locke end Peter Thomson’s run of three straight Open championships. Locke won his fourth claret jug, closing with 68-70 to finish at 279 for a three-shot victory over Thomson.

1960: The modern concept of a Grand Slam started at St. Andrews when Arnold Palmer showed up having won the Masters and the U.S. Open. His hard-charging 68 in the final round came up one stroke short of Kel Nagle, who won at 278. More importantly, Palmer’s presence was the start of more Americans coming to the Open.

1964: “Champagne” Tony Lema won the Open in his first attempt with a stellar performance. He led Jack Nicklaus by seven shots going into the last day, closed with a 70 and at 279 finished five shots ahead of Nicklaus. Two years later, Lema was killed in a private plane crash.

1970: Jack Nicklaus needed some help to win his first Open at the home of golf. Doug Sanders had a chance to win in regulation, but missed a 3-foot par putt on the 18th hole to force an 18-hole playoff. Nicklaus drove through the 18th green in the playoff, chipped up to 8 feet and made birdie to win by one shot.

1978: Jack Nicklaus won his third and last Open, and became the first player since J.H. Taylor in 1900 to win consecutive Opens at St. Andrews. He closed with a 69 to finish at 281, two strokes ahead of Ben Crenshaw, Ray Floyd, Tom Kite and Simon Owen.

1984: Seve Ballesteros denied Tom Watson a record-tying sixth Open title with a par on the 17th and a birdie on the 18th for a 69. Watson was tied with Ballesteros until hitting over the 17th to within two feet of the wall on the Road Hole, dropping a costly shot. Ballesteros finished at 276, two shots ahead of Watson and Bernhard Langer.

1990: Nick Faldo set a record for the lowest score to par in a major, 18-under 270, which later was matched and then topped by Tiger Woods. He finished five strokes ahead of Mark McNulty and Payne Stewart, but the Open was won on Saturday. Tied with Greg Norman, Faldo had a 67 to Norman’s 76, a thrashing that would repeat itself six years later in the final round of the Masters.

1995: John Daly overpowered the Old Course for his second major championship, again at a time when no one expected it. He closed with a 71 for 6-under 282 and appeared to have the Open wrapped up when Costantino Rocca, needing birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff, duffed a chip. Rocca then rolled in a 60-foot putt across the Valley of Sin, but Daly won the four-hole playoff by four shots.

2000: Tiger Woods made history at the Old Course by becoming the youngest player, at age 24, to complete the career Grand Slam. He built a six-shot lead going into the final round, was challenged briefly by David Duval, and closed with a 69 to win by eight shots over Thomas Bjorn and Ernie Els. His 19-under 269 beat Faldo’s record for lowest score in relation to par at a major. Perhaps the most astounding feat was that Woods never hit into a bunker over 72 holes.

2005: Tiger Woods became the fifth player to win the Open twice at St. Andrews. He took the lead with a birdie on the ninth hole of the opening round and never gave it back over the final 63 holes. Colin Montgomerie shot 70 to Woods’ 71 in the last group on Saturday, raising Scottish hopes, but Woods closed with a 2-under 70 for a five-shot victory over Montgomerie. Jack Nicklaus birdied his final hole on Friday but still missed the cut in his 164th and final major championship.


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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.

Good time to hang up on viewer call-ins

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 7:40 pm

Golf announced the most massive layoff in the industry’s history on Monday morning.

Armchair referees around the world were given their pink slips.

It’s a glorious jettisoning of unsolicited help.

Goodbye and good riddance.

The USGA and R&A’s announcement of a new set of protocols Monday will end the practice of viewer call-ins and emails in the reporting of rules infractions.

“What we have heard from players and committees is ‘Let’s leave the rules and administration of the event to the players and those responsible for running the tournament,’” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of rules and amateur status.


The protocols, formed by a working group that included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and the PGA of America, also establish the use of rules officials to monitor the televised broadcasts of events.

Additionally, the protocols will eliminate the two-shot penalty when a player signs an incorrect scorecard because the player was unaware of a violation.

Yes, I can hear you folks saying armchair rules officials help make sure every meaningful infraction comes to light. I hear you saying they make the game better, more honest, by helping reduce the possibility somebody violates the rules to win.

But at what cost?

The chaos and mayhem armchair referees create can ruin the spirit of fair play every bit as much as an unreported violation. The chaos and mayhem armchair rules officials create can be as much a threat to fair play as the violations themselves.

The Rules of Golf are devised to protect the integrity of the game, but perfectly good rules can be undermined by the manner and timeliness of their enforcement.

We have seen the intervention of armchair referees go beyond the ruin of fair play in how a tournament should be conducted. We have seen it threaten the credibility of the game in the eyes of fans who can’t fathom the stupidity of a sport that cannot separate common-sense enforcement from absolute devotion to the letter of the law.

In other sports, video review’s timely use helps officials get it right. In golf, video review too often makes it feel like the sport is getting it wrong, because timeliness matters in the spirit of fair play, because the retroactive nature of some punishments are as egregious as the violations themselves.  

We saw that with Lexi Thompson at the ANA Inspiration this year.

Yes, she deserved a two-shot penalty for improperly marking her ball, but she didn’t deserve the two-shot penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. She had no idea she was signing an incorrect scorecard.

We nearly saw the ruin of the U.S. Open at Oakmont last year, with Dustin Johnson’s victory clouded by the timing of a video review that left us all uncertain if the tournament was playing out under an incorrect scoreboard.

“What these protocols are put in place for, really, is to make sure there are measures to identify the facts as soon as possible, in real time, so if there is an issue to be dealt with, that it can be handled quickly and decisively,” Pagel said.

Amen again.

We have pounded the USGA for making the game more complicated and less enjoyable than it ought to be, for creating controversy where common sense should prevail, so let’s applaud executive director Mike Davis, as well as the R&A, for putting common sense in play.

Yes, this isn’t a perfect answer to handling rules violations.

There are trap doors in the protocols that we are bound to see the game stumble into, because the game is so complex, but this is more than a good faith effort to make the game better.

This is good governance.

And compared to the glacial pace of major rules change of the past, this is swift.

This is the USGA and R&A leading a charge.

We’re seeing that with the radical modernization of the Rules of Golf scheduled to take effect in 2019. We saw it with the release of Decision 34/3-10 three weeks after Thompson’s loss at the ANA, with the decision limiting video review to “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standards. We’re hearing it with Davis’ recent comments about the “horrible” impact distance is having on the game, leading us to wonder if the USGA is in some way gearing up to take on the golf ball.

Yes, the new video review protocols aren’t a panacea. Rules officials will still miss violations that should have been caught. There will be questions about level playing fields, about the fairness of stars getting more video review scrutiny than the rank and file. There will be questions about whether viewer complaints were relayed to rules officials.

Golf, they say, isn’t a game of perfect, and neither is rules enforcement, though these protocols make too much sense to be pilloried. They should be applauded. They should solve a lot more problems than they create.

Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

“Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

“I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”