Jul 16, 2015

The Open Championship: Five of the Best

As the world famous St Andrews Links welcomes more than 200,000 avid golf fans for the 144th Open Championship, another chapter in golf history is being written.

For nearly a century-and-a-half, The Open has been delivering moments of brilliance, triumph, and despair that have left indelible memories with the global golfing community.

While the likes of Justin Rose, Tiger Woods, and Jordan Spieth do battle in Scotland for the claret jug in 2015, and golf betting sites like Bet365 hint at who the next champion might be, we take a look back at some of the Open Championship moments that had viewers around the world glued to their TV screens.

1977: The battle of Nicklaus and Watson

Arguably the greatest moment in Open Championship history, the tussle between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson in 1977 pitted two previous champions against each other in glorious sunshine at Turnberry.

It took the pair until the third day of the Championship to displace the likes of John Schroeder and move into the lead, both hitting 65s and setting up a dramatic shoot-out on the fourth and final day.

Golf fans around the world could not take their eyes off the action as Nicklaus and Watson traded birdies and the lead switched from one to the other, with no one in any position to choose between two players at the very top of their respective games.

The tables looked to have swung in Watson’s favour when Nicklaus missed a four-foot putt at the 71st hole, and Watson sunk his to take a one-shot lead.

But there was more drama to come, when Nicklaus somehow drove through a gorse bush at the final hole to sink a crucial birdie, but Watson held his nerve and sunk a two-foot winner to give him a round of 65 and the title – by just one solitary shot.

1996: Faldo punishes Norman

Few golfers in history have managed to turn a potential victory into a painful defeat in quite such a heartbreaking manner as Greg Norman did in 1996.

Somehow, a six-stroke lead going into the final round wasn’t enough to help Norman to the title. He bogeyed the ninth, the 10th, the 11th, and then double-bogeyed the 12th to drop to seven under par for the tournament.

Up stepped Nick Faldo to seal Norman’s fate with a round of 67. The Shark, meanwhile, hit successive fives from the eighth, before finding the water at the 16th.

The Australian’s capitulation was so saddening that Faldo could only offer sympathy to his opponent as he romped to his third green jacket.

2007: Garcia falls at the last hurdle

Sergio Garcia was on the brink of becoming the first player ever to win the British Amateur and the Open Championship when he faced a 7-foot par putt in the 2007 Open.

The Spaniard held a one-stroke lead over Padraig Harrington on the home hole at Carnoustie and needed only to sink the par putt to win the Open.

Dramatically, he missed, and in doing so allowed Harrington to recover from two in the stream and a double-bogey six and cruise to victory by one stroke over the extra holes.

Garcia was left crestfallen, and , saying: “I really didn’t miss a shot in the play-off. I hit unbelievable putts. They just didn’t go in.”

1 comment:

James Saylor said...

This season I want to see ever