Scotland Wales Northern Ireland
BBC Homepage feedback | low graphics version
BBC Sport Online
You are in: In Depth: The Open: Open history  
Front Page 
Rugby Union 
Rugby League 
Other Sports 
Sports Talk 
In Depth 
Photo Galleries 
TV & Radio 
BBC Pundits 
Question of Sport 
Funny Old Game 

Around The Uk

BBC News

BBC Weather

banner Thursday, 12 July, 2001, 20:35 GMT 21:35 UK
Lytham's proud Open past
Bobby Jones
Jones won the first Lytham Open in 1926
BBC Sport Online's Saj Chowdhury looks back at previous winners of The Open championship at Royal Lytham.

The Royal Lytham golf club was founded in 1886 and has been host to nine Opens.

But the Lancashire venue had to wait 40 years after opening, before it got the taste of a Major championship.

  Royal Lytham champions
Bobby Jones (1926)
Bobby Locke (1952)
Peter Thomson (1958)
Bob Charles (1963)
Tony Jacklin (1969)
Gary Player (1974)
Seve Ballesteros (1979/88)
Tom Lehman (1996)

Of course when the world's best players did arrive at the course, the crowd who were privileged enough to watch the spectacle, were not disappointed.

American Bobby Jones, who was partnered with Al Watrous, was in trouble in a bunker on the 72nd hole in the final round.

With 175 yards to the green, Jones struck a superb iron out of trouble and pushed his opponent's challenge aside.

Victory at Lytham ones made Jones the only amateur in history to win both the Open and US Open in the same year.

The next Open to played at the venue was 26 years later in 1952, as South African Bobby Locke shot a tournament score of 287 to pick up the 300 winner's cheque.

Locke won a total of four Opens in a glittering career.

Bob Charles
Charles, the only left-hander to win the Open, won a marathon play-off
Lytham did not have to wait so long for its next taste of Major fever, as Peter Thomson picked up another Open title in what was a golden era for the Australian.

Thomson, who won the Championship five times between 1954 and 1965, faced Dave Thomas in a 36-hole play-off.

Thomson showed nerves of steel to overcome the arduous extra holes.

The crowd were treated to another dramatic play-off in 1963, when Kiwi Bob Charles defeated Phil Rogers.

The year when man landed on the moon was not the only great achievement of 1969 - Tony Jacklin became the first Englishman to win the Open at Royal Lytham.

The 1969 Open was also the first to be shown in colour on television, the first to use a modern scoring system and the first to make compulsory the use of a large ball.

The 1970s was the era of Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and the diminutive man in black, Gary Player.

Gary Player
Player was the darling of South Africa
On the 18th hole during the last round of the 1974 Championship, Player struck his ball against the clubhouse wall.

Officials deemed the clubhouse to be part of the course, therefore Player was not allowed to take a free shot.

The South African opted to play instead of taking a drop shot.

Player adopted a left-hand grip and struck his effort with the back of his putter.

The ball travelled to within 10 feet of the hole.

Player had two putts to hole out and won the competition by four from Peter Oosterhuis and Nicklaus.

Seve Ballesteros won the next two Opens at Royal Lytham - taking the titles in 1979 and then in 1988 in an era very much dominated by the flamboyant Spanish star.

Of his final round, Seve said: "I knew I had reached some sort of pinnacle and it is a round I will remember for the rest of my life."

The leading PGA Tour player of 1996, Tom Lehman, stamped his authority in the Open of that year, the last until now to be held at Royal Lytham.

Tom Lehman
Lehman ended the American jinx
The American recorded a course-record 64 in the third round to lead Nick Faldo by six strokes and his closing round 73 was enough for a two-stroke victory over Ernie Els and Mark McCumber.

Lehman became the first American to win at that venue and the first since amateur Jones in 1926.

Afterwards, he admitted candidly: "It wasn't pretty but it was gritty."

Search BBC Sport Online
Advanced search options
Links to top Open history stories are at the foot of the page.

Links to other Open history stories

^^ Back to top