BRITISH OPEN FIVE: The 5 best British Opens held at Muirfield

  • Article by: DOUG FERGUSON , AP Golf Writer
  • Updated: July 15, 2013 - 3:10 AM

GULLANE, Scotland — St. Andrews is incomparable because of its history, but when it comes to links courses in the British Open rotation, Muirfield is looked upon as the purest and fairest of them all. What gets even less of an argument is the roll call of champions at Muirfield.

Muirfield has hosted golf's oldest championship 15 times. All but two of the winners — Ted Ray and Alf Perry — are in the World Golf Hall of Fame, and Ray probably should be there. He was a central figure in the great 1913 U.S. Open win by Francis Ouimet over Ray and Harry Vardon, both looked upon as British heavyweights.

So choosing the best Open at Muirfield is similar to choosing the best hole at Augusta National. You can't go wrong. You'll never be right.

Here is one list of the best five Opens at Muirfield:

5. JACK'S GRAND SLAM

Jack Nicklaus was stopped short of a calendar Grand Slam at Muirfield in 1972. Not to be overlooked was his first British Open title in 1966 that gave him the career Grand Slam at age 26. At the time, Nicklaus was the youngest of four players to win all four professional majors, and he achieved it in just 19 majors as a pro. Those records later were broken by Tiger Woods, who was 24 when he completed the Grand Slam in his 15th major as a pro.

Nicklaus had only one close call at the Open, when he finished one shot behind in 1963 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. He took the 36-hole lead at Muirfield with a 70-67 start, only to follow with a 75 in the third round that left him two shots behind Phil Rodgers.

This was the first year the Open was held over four days. Rodgers faded to a 76. Dave Thomas of Wales closed with a 69, while Doug Sanders had a 70. Nicklaus regained the lead with a birdie on the par-5 17th, and then he two-putted for par from about 20 feet on the final hole for a 70 to win by one shot.

___

4. JAMES BRAID

James Braid, part of the "Great Triumvirate" along with Harry Vardon and J.H. Taylor, arrived at Muirfield in similar context to Ernie Els this year. He not only was the defending champion after winning the previous year at St. Andrews, he won the Open when it was last held at Muirfield.

When the 1906 British Open returned to Muirfield for the fourth time, the championship was held over three days for the first time to accommodate a record 181-man field. Braid got the bad end of the draw, going out late in the opening two rounds. He shot 77 the first round, and the next day decided to kill time in the morning by playing a friendly foursomes game at a nearby course. He followed with a 76.

Still four shots behind going into the 36-hole final day, Braid had a 74 to close to within three shots of Taylor, and then closed with a 73 as Taylor and Vardon fell apart. Vardon four-putted the first green and shot 78. Taylor had an 80. Braid's score was progressively better each round, and he wrapped up his third Open title.

It was the third and final time that Braid, Vardon and Taylor finished 1-2-3 (not always in that order) at the Open.

___

3. THE BLACK KNIGHT'S FIRST MAJOR

No other golfer has traveled the world more than Gary Player of South Africa, and it was at Muirfield in 1959 that he first emerged as one of the game's greatest players. The Black Knight went on to complete the Grand Slam in six years, and it started with a claret jug that he thought he had thrown away.

Player opened with rounds of 75-71, making the cut with three shots to spare and trailing Fred Bullock by eight shots going into the final day. He worked his way up the leaderboard in the morning round with a 70, through that still left him four shots behind Bullock and Sam King.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 7:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 7:30 PM
Houston
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Golden State
Florida 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Colorado 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Carolina
Washington 6:00 PM
Columbus
Anaheim 6:30 PM
Montreal
St. Louis 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Edmonton 9:30 PM
San Jose
St Thomas (TX) 11:30 AM
Rice
Stony Brook 6:00 PM
Canisius
Temple 6:00 PM
Delaware
FIU 6:00 PM
Long Island
Lehigh 6:00 PM
Quinnipiac
South Alabama 6:00 PM
Richmond
Seton Hall 6:00 PM
South Florida
Ga Southern 6:00 PM
Stetson
Yale 6:00 PM
Vermont
Cleveland State 6:00 PM
Virginia
Wright State 6:00 PM
Western Carolina
Nicholls 6:30 PM
Louisiana Tech
Morgan State 6:30 PM
Rider
Idaho State 6:30 PM
South Dakota St
Oakland City 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Eureka 7:00 PM
Bradley
Appalachian St 7:00 PM
Charlotte
Connecticut 7:00 PM
Duke
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Coastal Carolina 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Montana State 7:30 PM
South Dakota
LSU 8:00 PM
UAB
Ohio 8:05 PM
Evansville
CS-Dominguez 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Walla Walla 9:00 PM
Idaho
DePaul 9:00 PM
Oregon State
Nevada 9:00 PM
Pacific
Portland State 9:00 PM
San Francisco
CS-Bakersfield 9:05 PM
Utah State
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 16 1st Half 10:22
Cleveland State 11
High Point 9 1st Half 14:19
VA Commonwealth 9
Towson 10:30 AM
Wake Forest
Presbyterian 11:00 AM
Charlotte
Chicago State 11:00 AM
Bradley
Northwestern Coll 11:05 AM
Drake
Vanderbilt 12:00 PM
Marquette
Temple 4:00 PM
Howard
Southern Miss 4:00 PM
Ole Miss
UMBC 4:00 PM
Rider
Miami-Florida 5:00 PM
UCLA
St Mary-KS 5:00 PM
South Dakota
William & Mary 5:00 PM
Wofford
Troy 5:30 PM
Evansville
Loyola Marymount 6:00 PM
USC
St Francis-PA 6:00 PM
Duquesne
Indiana-Southeast 6:00 PM
IUPUI
Delaware State 6:00 PM
Detroit
Tenn Temple 6:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
West Virginia St 6:00 PM
Radford
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Seton Hall
Dartmouth 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Ball State 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
Trine 6:00 PM
Western Mich
Tenn Tech 6:30 PM
Lipscomb
Samford 7:00 PM
Tulane
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Ark-Little Rock 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
CS-Northridge 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Santa Clara 8:00 PM
Oregon
(19) Oklahoma St 8:00 PM
Weber State
Washington 8:00 PM
San Diego State
Cal Poly 8:00 PM
New Mexico
(10) Louisville 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close