By the Numbers: Open Championship History

The Open Championship is golf’s oldest major, as it’ll be played for the 143rd time this year. It’s generated some staggering records and numbers over its lengthy history, and with the world’s top players in the field yet again this year, we could see a few more records set. After all, records were meant to be broken, right?

Here’s a look at some numbers from past Open Championships:

39 – Most rounds under 70 by one competitor. Ernie Els has recorded more rounds under 70 than any other competitor in the Open Championship, edging Nick Faldo (37) by two, and the great Jack Nicklaus (33) by six.

267 – Lowest total score by a champion. Greg Norman set the record for the lowest winning score in 1993, edging Tom Watson’s previous record of 268 set in 1977.


1904 – The first time a player broke 70 at the Open Championship. It took 44 years for a player to finally break 70 at The Open, and it was done three times in the same championship. J.H. Taylor posted a 68 in 1904 at Royal St. Georges, along with 69s by James Braid and Jack White the same year.

7,421 – Longest course in Open Championship history. Padraig Harrington tamed the 7,421-yard beast that was Carnoustie Golf Links in 2007, beating Sergio Garcia in a playoff to claim his first of three major championships.

618 – Longest hole at any Open Championship. The 618-yard 14th hole at St. Andrews in 2010 stands as the longest hole at The Open, and it’s appropriately named “Long.” Out of bounds lurks down the right side of this hole, while there are four bunkers on the left that force accurate shots off the tee. Once you reach the green, the famous “Hell Bunker” will be there to protect it.


14 – Age of the youngest competitor in Open Championship history (Tom Morris Jr. in 1864).

– Most runner-up finishes by a single competitor, Jack Nicklaus. To go along with his three Open Championship victories, Nicklaus finished runner-up a record seven times, one more than Taylor. Phil Mickelson’s six second-place finishes at the U.S. Open receive more attention, likely because he has yet to win one.

19 – Most strokes under par for a champion. Tiger Woods completed the career grand slam at the 2000 Open Championship, and he did it in commanding fashion. Woods (19-under) finished with all four of his rounds below 70, winning the championship by eight strokes over Thomas Bjorn and Ernie Els.


46 – Most appearances by a player in the Open Championship. Gary Player holds this record by a wide margin, making eight more appearances than the next closest, Jack Nicklaus (38).

28 – Number of times St. Andrews has hosted The Open, more than any other course. This year’s host, Royal Liverpool, has hosted the tournament 11 times, fifth-most.

74 – Age of the oldest competitor at The Open (Tom Morris Sr. in 1896)

Related Link: 2014 Open Championship Round 1 Tee Times and Pairings

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