The biggest Golf event in the World returns to Southport this year

2nd January 2017

The biggest Golf event in the World returns to Southport this year.

The 146th Open promises to be another enthralling Championship and defending champion Henrik Stenson, who finished third at Royal Birkdale in 2008, will return to the famous links to defend the Claret Jug he won in such emphatic fashion at Royal Troon.

Situated on a stretch of beautiful links land that runs almost uninterrupted for 20 miles north of Liverpool, Royal Birkdale last hosted The Open in 2008 when Padraig Harrington became the first European since 1906 to successfully defend the title of Champion Golfer of the Year following his victory at Carnoustie the previous year.

Regarded as one of the finest links courses in the UK, Royal Birkdale was first opened in 1889, but was extensively redesigned in 1922 by Fred Hawtree and JH Taylor to create the current layout, which winds its way through the sand dunes towering over each of the fairways.

Padraig Harrington won his second Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale in 2008.
Padraig Harrington won his second Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale in 2008.

Since first hosting The Open in 1954, when five-time Champion Golfer of the Year Peter Thomson won by one shot from Bobby Locke, Dai Rees and Syd Scott, it has been, alongside Royal Lytham, the most regular venue for the Championship other than St Andrews.

Legendary golfer Arnold Palmer won The 90th Open at the venue in 1961, before Thomson won again four years later, crowned Champion Golfer of the Year for the third time in his illustrious career.

Royal Birkdale was also the scene of The 100th Open in 1971, when American Lee Trevino lifted the Claret Jug for the first time, completing a unique treble after winning the US Open and Canadian Open only weeks earlier.

Five-time Champion Golfer of the year was the first to win at Royal Birkdale in 1954.
Five-time Champion Golfer of the year was the first to win at Royal Birkdale in 1954.

A 19 year-old Spaniard by the name of Seve Ballesteros enthralled crowds at The Open in 1976 but had to settle for joint second place alongside Jack Nicklaus as American Johnny Miller won by five shots.

In 1983 at Royal Birkdale, Tom Watson became only the fifth player in history to have won The Open five times alongside James Braid, JH Taylor,Thomson and Harry Vardon, who won the Championship on six occasions.

Lee Trevino won the 100th Open in 1971 at Royal Birkdale.
Lee Trevino won the 100th Open in 1971 at Royal Birkdale.

Watson birdied the 11th, the 13th and the 16th holes and needed to par the last for a famous victory. After he drove onto the fairway, he had 218 yards to the flag and produced the sweetest of swings with a 2-iron just when he needed it. “I busted that 2-iron as well as I could hit it,” he said. He two-putted from 20 feet and a historic fifth title was his.

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Australian Ian Baker-Finch won The Open by two strokes ahead of compatriot Mike Harwood in 1991, before Mark O’Meara became the oldest player ever to win two Major Championships in one year at the age of 41 He followed up his triumph at the Masters by winning a play-off against Brian Watts to become Champion Golfer of the Year at Royal Birkdale in 1998.

Tom Watson became only the fifth player in history to win The Open five times in 1983 at Royal Birkdale.
Tom Watson became only the fifth player in history to win The Open five times in 1983 at Royal Birkdale.

Tickets will be on sale on TheOpen.com from 22 September 2016 and are available at early season prices for a limited time only.  A limited number of Twilight Tickets will be available to experience The Open from 4pm.

Kids under 16 go free at The Open, and discounted Youth Tickets will be on sale for those under the age of 25 (16-24 years old). Limited free camping places will also be on offer for anyone that purchases a Youth Ticket.

 

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