Dan Murphy headed to Carnoustie to recreate some of the most famous shots in Open history

Carnoustie has seen some truly memorable Open Championship moments. Dan Murphy made the trip to the coast to recreate some of the most famous shots that had been witnessed over the years.

1953: Hogan’s Alley at the 6th hole

Position: Back tee on 6th

The area between the bunker in the middle of the fairway and the out of bounds on the left is now known as Hogan’s Alley. But whether the usually conservative American actually used that route is the most controversial part of the whole legend.

Curt Sampson, in Hogan, backs up the romantic. Sampson wrote: “Most of the fairway was to the right, but Hogan noticed that the hole opened up from the left side. He could hit this green in two if he could thread a drive into a narrow haven of brown grass between the fence bordering the practice ground and a sod-faced bunker deep enough to hide a cow. He went for it and made it, in all four rounds.”

His daring drive was “not, if you please, a canny steered shot,” wrote S L McKinlay in the Glasgow Herald, “but a full-blooded bag.”

But some observers insist Hogan chose the safer line. The authoritative World Atlas of Golf states: “Morning and afternoon his drives screamed through the still, grey air, perfectly lined past the right hand of the fairway bunkers and finishing in almost exactly the same spot.”

This leads to another fanciful story, that he played the second shot in the afternoon from the divot left in the morning.

1999: Van de Velde’s pitch over the Barry Burn

Position: 18th hole, 50 yards short of Barry Burn in right-hand rough

The Frenchman could afford to make a double-bogey six and still win The Open. His drive, wisely in the circumstances, was played to the right, well away from the out of bounds fence on the left. His second was, also sensibly, whacked in the direction of the giant stand right of the green, from where he knew he would receive a free drop.

Unfortunately, it ricocheted off the stand and back across to the other side of the Barry Burn into deep rough. From there, his heavy wedge shot found the water. After taking off his shoes and socks and getting into the burn, Van de Velde eventually saw sense and took a penalty drop, only to hit his fifth shot into sand. To his great credit, Van de Velde got up and down form there for his seven to make the play-off that was eventually won by Paul Lawrie.

1999: Lawrie’s 4-iron into the 18th

Position: 18th hole, middle of fairway, 221 yards from hole

In the four-hole play-off with Van de Velde and Justin Leonard, Lawrie was one ahead as they came up the final fairway. From 221 yards (his normal 4-iron yardage was 205), Lawrie took dead aim and hit the long iron of his life, chasing up to just four feet. He rolled it in to seal the deal and win The Open.

2007: Harrington’s 5th to the 18th over the Barry Burn

Position: 18th hole, middle of fairway, just short of the Barry Burn

With a one-shot lead standing on the last tee, Harrington found water with his tee shot. Then, he caught his long iron heavy and bounced into the Barry Burn again, this time short of the green. With his Open dreams slipping away and the ghost of Van de Velde looming large, he managed to pitch and putt so save a double bogey that proved good enough to earn him a place in a play-off with Sergio Garcia.

2007: Garcia hitting the pin in the 2007 play-off

Position: 16th tee

Harrington birdied the first play-off hole to establish a two-shot advantage but missed the green at the 248-yard 16th. Sensing his chance, Garcia struck his 3-iron and wached it bounce twice before striking the pin and bouncing away to 18 feet. From where he missed, inevitably. He left Carnoustie muttering darkly about he was “playing against a lot of guys out there, more than the field”.


Dan Murphy

Dan loves links golf, which doesn't mean he is very good at it. He is a four-handicapper at Alwoodley. A qualified journalist and senior editor with 25 years’ experience, he was the long-time editor of NCG. His passion is golf courses and he is the founding editor of NCG Top 100s course rankings. He loves nothing more than discovering and highlighting courses that are worthy of greater recognition.

Handicap: 4

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