The 2017 Open Championship has a lot to live up to. But first…
A brief history of the Open…
The Open Championship, known simply as the Open and, to our American friends, the British Open, is the oldest major championship in professional golf.
Established as a tournament in 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland, the inaugural tournament was contested by just eight golfers who played three rounds over Prestwick’s 12-hole course in a single day. It was won by Willie Park Sr with a score of 174, beating Old Tom Morris by two strokes.
The Open, administered by the R&A, is now a 72-hole strokeplay competition played over four days in the middle of July and is the third major to be played in the season.
The winner is presented with the Claret Jug and a gold medal. The leading amateur is presented with a silver medal, while all other amateurs completing the 72 holes receive a bronze medal.
Harry Vardon has won the most Opens, with six victories between 1896 and 1914, while Australian Peter Thomson’s five wins is the most in the modern era.
Where is the 2017 Open Championship?
The Open is traditionally played on seaside links courses in the United Kingdom. The first 12 Open Championships were played at Prestwick but the venue is now rotated between various approved courses.
The Old Course at St Andrews currently plays host to the Open every five years.
The 2017 Open will be held at Royal Birkdale in Southport, near Liverpool.
Birkdale has previously held the Open on nine occasions.
When is the 2017 Open Championship?
The next edition will be held from Thursday, July 20 to Sunday, July 23.
How can I watch the 2017 Open Championship?
There are various tickets available, but as a guide a standard adult day ticket will cost you £60.
Alternatively, all four days will be live on Sky Sports, with extensive highlights on the BBC.
Who is the reigning Open champion?
The 2017 Open has a lot to live up to.
The intense battle between Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson on the final day of the 2016 tournament at Royal Troon will live long in the memory, in one of the greatest final-day duels in golf’s history and the Swede emerged with a record-breaking victory.
It will take something special for the 2017 edition to top that duel and I can’t wait to see what Royal Birkdale has in store for us.
His total score of 264 set a new major championship record, beating David Toms’ 265 in the 2001 PGA Championship.
He was also the first player to finish 20-under-par at the Open Championship, beating Tiger Woods’ record of 19-under-par in 2000.
What happened the last time Royal Birkdale staged the Open?
Padraig Harrington won his second Open title in a row after triumphing in the 2007 tournament at Carnoustie.
The Irishman recorded a three-over-par total of 283 to beat Englishman Ian Poulter by four strokes.