Skip to main content

Top 10 British Open Blunders


No. 10 ' Blind Eye

Jesper Parnevik led the 1994 Open Championship by two strokes entering the 18th hole at Turnberry but failed to check the scoreboard. Thinking he needed a birdie, he played the hole aggressively and ended up bogeying the final hole. Moments later at 17, Nick Price holed a 90-foot putt for eagle, taking a one stroke lead into the final hole. After a par at 18, Nick Price had his second major championship.


No. 9 ' Debated Driver

After 72 holes at the 1989 Open Championship, Wayne Grady, Greg Norman, and Mark Calcavecchia were deadlocked at 13-under. For the first time in Championship history a four-hole playoff would be used to determine the champion golfer of the year.
After Norman began the playoff with two birdies, most were betting The Shark was on his way to a second Claret Jug. On the par-3 17th, however, an aggressive chip ran past the hole and Norman made bogey, dropping him into a tie with Calcavecchia.
At 18, Normans drive bounded into one of Royal Troons treacherous pot bunkers. Hed hit his next shot out-of-bounds, handing the Claret Jug to Calcavecchia.


No. 8 ' Bad Bounce

The 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie is remembered as being a Sergio-Paddy affair, but the 26-year-old Argentine, Andres Romero, should have stolen it from them both. Despite making 10 birdies during his final round, including four in a row on his way to a two-shot lead, Romero came undone at No. 17.
Taking a surprisingly aggressive approach out of a hairy lie in the rough, Romeros 2-iron ricocheted off the burn and out-of-bounds. He did well to make double-bogey. After his par-saving putt at 18 hit the back of the cup and missed, Romeros rollercoaster round ended on a low. He finished one stroke behind Harrington and Garcia.


No. 7 ' No Soup For You

In the final round of the 1992 Open Championship at Muirfield, John Cook held a one-stroke lead over world No. 1, Nick Faldo heading into the par-5 17th. At the same hole where Trevino chipped in for birdie to clinch his first Open title in 1972, Cook missed a short birdie putt to lose his. He went on to bogey 18, which opened the door for Faldo.


No. 6 ' Sand-Bagged

Thomas Bjorn shot a 68 in Round 3 to take the lead heading into the final round of the 2003 Open Championship at Royal St. Georges. And despite making bogey at No. 15 on Sunday, he still had it with three holes to play.
But at the par-3 16th the Claret Jug slipped out of Bjorns grasp when his tee shot trundled into the greenside bunker after making a brief appearance on the slippery green. His bunker shot came out too high and too soft, and rolled back to his feet. After nervously rushing his third, it happened again (shown above).
Though he got his fourth shot up and in, the damage was done; all of the sudden his two-shot lead was gone. Bjorn went on to bogey the par-4 17th, allowing Ben Curtis to become the first player to leave his first-career major a victor since Francis Ouimet won the U.S. Open in 1913.


No. 5 ' Who Wants It?

When Padraig Harrington arrived at the final hole of the 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie, he had a one-shot lead. If he could manage to make par, the Claret Jug ' and the elusive first major ' was likely his.
Easier said than done.
At the treacherous 18th, Harrington hit his tee shot and his third shot into Barry Burn, before getting up and down for double-bogey. All of the sudden he trailed Sergio Garcia ' who was playing in the group behind him ' by one stroke.
Needing to do exactly what Harrington just failed to accomplish ' make par at the 72nd hole ' Garcia took a more conservative approach, hitting 2-iron off the tee. From 220 yards, Garcia hit his second shot in the left greenside bunker. After blasting to 10 feet, Garcia had what hed dreamed of all his life: A putt to win his first major championship.
The putt grazed the left edge but missed, and Garcia fell into a playoff with Harrington, which Paddy ultimately won.


No. 4 ' Scorecard Swap

After recovering from a first-round 77 with a 70 ' the second-best score of round 2 ' European Tour journeyman Mark Roe was in position for a big payday at the 2003 Open Championship. Only adding to the drama was that hed be paired with Tiger Woods in Round 3.
But Roes dream pairing turned into a nightmare before it even began when it was discovered that he and Swedish playing partner Jesper Parnevik failed to exchange cards at the start of their second round. They each had the others score on their card. As a result, they were both disqualified.
Roe hasnt played in a major championship since then.


No. 3 ' Double Trouble

The final round of the 2001 Open Championship started out great for Ian Woosnam. After nearly making a hole-in-one at the 206-yard par-3 first hole, he tapped in for birdie and solidified his position near the top of the leaderboard. But before he could strike his tee shot at No. 2, everything had gone terribly wrong.
'You're going to go ballistic.' Woosnams caddie, Miles Byrne, said to his boss.
'Why?' Woosnam asked.
'We have two drivers in the bag.'
The penalty was two strokes, and the mental toll was even greater. Woosnam went on to bogey two of the next three holes and despite an eagle at six and a three birdies on the back nine, he fell four shots short of David Duvals winning mark. Oh, what could have been


No. 2 ' Poor Doug

At the 1970 Open Championship at St. Andrews, Doug Sanders took a one shot lead over Jack Nicklaus into the final hole. After hitting his approach to 30 feet, Sanders lagged his birdie putt to within virtual tap-in range. Sanders short putt was awkward from the moment it left the putter face, and despite his body language it slipped off the right edge. Fittingly, Nicklaus went on to capture the Claret Jug in a playoff.


No. 1 ' Collapse at Carnoustie

Leading by three strokes through 71 holes at the 1999 Open Championship, Jean Van de Velde stepped to the final tee at Carnoustie looking to become the first Frenchman since 1907 to claim the Claret Jug. Instead, he became the answer to the $1,000 Jeopardy question in the category titled: Sports Tragedies.
Despite needing only a double-bogey to get the job done, Van de Velde hit driver off the tee and decided to go for the green in two. His 2-iron approach was right all the way, and crashed off the bleachers into the thick rough. The only good news was that it missed Barry Burn at least for the time being.
From the deep stuff, Van de Velde caught it heavy and kerplunked his third into the cross-cutting Barry Burn. After removing his shoes and socks, he famously pondered hitting his fourth shot from the hazard (shown above).
He decided against it, and took his drop. From a short distance, he chunked his fifth shot into the right greenside bunker. Amazingly, Van de Velde got it up and down for triple-bogey, salvaging a tie with Paul Lawrie. Van de Velde would go on to lose the playoff and assume his position among golfing immortality.