The Open Championship, sometimes referred to as "The British Open" is the oldest of the four majors in Golf and is organised by the R&A. Unlike The Masters, The US Open and The USPGA, The Open Championship is played outside of the USA, either in Scotland, England or Northern Ireland. The Open is only ever played on Links courses, demanding a different style of golf than most courses on the PGA tour rota, creating dramatic viewing for golf fans all around the world. Walk the same fairways as as the games greatest and re-live golfing history on a golf vacation to play the Open Championship courses of the UK, or watch the pro’s live at golfs greatest and original major championship. Browse our example golf vacation packages or speak to a golf travel expert today for a quick quote on a tailor-made itinerary.
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The Claret Jug Tour- 8 Open Championship courses this Ultimate golf tour of Britain.
Other golf vacations featuring courses on The Open Championship rota
*no longer on the rota
*no longer on the rota
History of The Open
The Early Years
The first ever Open was played at Prestwick Golf Club in 1860. Out of the 8 gentleman competing, Willie Park Snr came out on top after 36 holes (3 12 hole rounds). The prize back then was The Challenge Belt, made of red leather and silver. For the next 10 years the same belt was played for annually at Prestwick, until Young Tom Morris won the belt for the third consecutive year in 1870 and got to keep the belt forever. This spoilt the party for the rest of the golfers at the time as because there was no trophy to play for in 1871 the championship was postponed. The tournament came back in 1872 when The R&A, The Honourable Company Of Edinburgh Golfers and Prestwick came to an agreement to each chip in £10 for a new trophy and for the hosting of The Open to be rotated between their respective courses (St Andrews, Musselburgh and Prestwick). This plan didn’t come to fruition in time for a trophy to be made for the 1872 championship, so it was in 1873 that the famous Claret Jug was presented to Tom Kidd at St Andrews, the first time The Open was played outside of Prestwick.
The pre-war period of 1894-1914 saw Muirfield, Royal St Georges, Royal Liverpool and Royal Cinque Ports was dominated by 3 players; Harry Vardon, John Henry Taylor and James Braid. In that 20 year span these gentleman won The Claret Jug a staggering 16 times between them. This epic rivalry generated more public interest in golf, but the first world war meant that The Open wasn’t held again until 1920.
Modern Day Timeline
1930- Bobby Jones wins The Open Championship, as well as The Amateur, The US Open and The US Amateur to complete the “grand slam”.
1951- The Open is played in Northern Ireland at Royal Portrush, the tournament wouldn't return to Northern Ireland again until 2019.
1983- Tom Watson wins his 5th Open Championship. If it weren’t for a stroke of bad luck on the 72nd hole at Turnberry in 2009 he might have equalled Harry Vardon’s record of 6 Open Championships.
2020- The Open Championship postponed a full year due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. First time The Open hasn't gone ahead since 1945 due to WW2.