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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

British Open: Arnie's army, Seve's genius and other memorable moments from Royal Birkdale

Royal Birkdale, hosting the British Open this week for the 10th time, has provided some memorable moments through the years. We pick five

Severiano Ballesteros in the sandhills of Royal Birkdale, Southport, during the 1977 British Open. John Leatherbarrow / Getty Images
Severiano Ballesteros in the sandhills of Royal Birkdale, Southport, during the 1977 British Open. John Leatherbarrow / Getty Images

Royal Birkdale, hosting the British Open this week for the 10th time, has provided some memorable moments through the years. We pick five.

Arnie leads an army (1961)

After missing out by a single shot on Open debut the year previously, Arnold Palmer returned a year later and brought with him an international audience. This time, he won by one stroke – his shot on the 16th has been immortalised with a plaque – to rejuvenate the tournament and convince leading American golfers to follow suit.

The concession (1969)

Considered one of the greatest shows of sportsmanship the game had witnessed. With scores tied at the Ryder Cup, Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin contested the decisive match. Nicklaus, though, conceded a three-foot putt on 18 to avoid their gripping duel ending in a defeat. The cup was halved. Nicklaus and Jacklin departed the green in warm embrace.

Swashbuckling Seve (1976)

A 19-year-old Spaniard announced his arrival in spectacular fashion. Dazzling with his shot-making, Seve Ballesteros entered the final round with a two-shot lead, but was ultimately outdone by Johnny Miller’s course-record 66. Nevertheless, Ballesteros, who finished runner-up, had given a glimpse of what was to come – his shot through the bunkers on 18 described as “genius”.

Also read:

John McAuley: Five golfers who would win a first major title

John McAuley: Five talking points ahead of the British Open

Tee times: Rounds 1 and 2 times and UAE TV schedule

Justin Rose at the 1998 British Open. Pierre Verdy /  AFP
Justin Rose at the 1998 British Open. Pierre Verdy / AFP

Rose bursts through (1998)

At age 17, debutant Justin Rose shared second at the halfway stage before holing a 50-yard chip on the 72nd hole to finish tied-fourth. It was the best display by a British amateur since Roger Wethered lost in a play-off in 1921. Rose’s memorable celebration seems even more so after this week: Lego recreated it.

Padraig Harrington kisses the Claret Jug after winning the Open in 2008. Adrian Dennis / AFP
Padraig Harrington kisses the Claret Jug after winning the Open in 2008. Adrian Dennis / AFP

Harrington’s heat-seeker (2008)

Having won his first major at the previous year’s tournament, Padraig Harrington looked poised for a repeat. With a two-shot lead on the 71st hole, the Irishman withstood the incredibly blustery conditions to fire a superb 5-wood to six feet, then sank the putt. Harrington was the first European to successfully defend the trophy in 102 years.