St. Andrews is internet hosting its thirtieth British Open beginning on Thursday, in celebration of the a hundred and fiftieth Open Championship. The Old Course there has hosted extra Open Championships than every other venue, which isn’t too shocking. It payments itself as the birthplace of golf and is scheduled by the R&A, which oversees the Open, to host the occasion each 5 years.
What is shocking is that the course in second place, Prestwick Golf Club, synonymous with the star participant Old Tom Morris and the creation of the championship itself, has hosted 24 championships, however hasn’t had one since 1925.
Prestwick shouldn’t be alone in having been dropped from the rota, or schedule. Three different programs which have hosted Opens appear to be completely eliminated: Musselburgh Links, Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club and Prince’s Golf Club. And there’s yet one more, Turnberry Golf Club, which has featured well-known duels for the trophy, the claret jug.
There is understandably a whole lot of deal with the programs in the rota. St. Andrews, Royal Liverpool, Troon, Royal Portrush, Carnoustie and Muirfield have all hosted memorable Opens. Still, what occurred to knock these different, historic programs off the Open rota?
Prestwick Golf Club
Prestwick, in Scotland, is the place the Open started. Old Tom Morris, the first worldwide golf star, designed Prestwick. He despatched the authentic invitation to the finest golfers in Britain to crown the champion golfer of the 12 months. And then he received 4 early Opens there (although not the first one, which Willie Park Sr. claimed).
The membership helped steer the early formation of the Open, and it greater than pulled its weight with 24 Opens from 1860 and 1925. It additionally performed a task in creating the claret jug, which the champion takes possession of for one 12 months. Limiting it to a 12 months was vital. Young Tom Morris, Old Tom’s son, after profitable three Opens in a row at Prestwick, was entitled to maintain the match’s prize: a purple leather-based belt. Beltless, the organizers got here up with the claret jug in 1872.
But in 1925, Prestwick’s run of Opens got here to an finish. It wasn’t dramatic; it was logistical. The storied membership couldn’t accommodate the rising variety of followers who wished to observe in individual.
While Jim Barnes, an Englishman who lived in the United States, received the claret jug, it was extra about who misplaced it — and the way.
“In 1925 it was horrible crowd control that cost Macdonald Smith a chance to win,” Stephen Proctor, a golf historian and creator of “The Long Golden Afternoon: Golf’s Age of Glory, 1864-1914,” mentioned of the Scottish participant who was in rivalry. “He was loved to death by the crowd. They really wanted a Scotsman to win. The whole crowd followed him for the final round. The theory was the crowd just agitated him.”
The drawback of area, crowds and rising curiosity in watching the Open was a problem at a decent, small course like Prestwick. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which organized the Open at the time, noticed that curiosity was rising. (In 2004, the golf membership created a separate group, the R&A, to supervise its championships, together with the Open.)
“The holes are tightly packed together, so movement of the crowds between holes would have been impossible in the 1940s and onwards,” mentioned Roger McStravick, a golf historian.
Despite its brief size for the fashionable recreation — slightly below about 6,500 yards — and its out-of-the-way location, Prestwick has its backers.
“It’s a mistake that it hasn’t hosted a major since then,” mentioned Ran Morrissett, co-founder of Golf Club Atlas, a golf structure discussion board. “It has some of the meatiest, biggest par 4s in that stretch from holes six to 10. But tastes in architecture change with time.”
Mike Woodcock, a spokesman for the R&A, mentioned in explaining the rota that the Open “requires a large footprint to be able to stage it as well as an outstanding links golf course, which will test the world’s best golfers and the necessary transport infrastructure to allow tens of thousands of fans in and out each day.”
“That’s a high bar to hit.”
Musselburgh, additionally a Scottish course, was dwelling to the Park household. Willie Park Sr., who received the first Open in 1860, hailed from there. He received the Open three extra occasions, together with his final in 1875. His brother Mungo Park received it in 1874. And his son Willie Park Jr. received the Open in 1887 and 1889.
Willie Jr.’s win proved important: It was at the final Open held at Musselburgh. The course had important limitations, even in the nineteenth century. It was solely 9 holes, and it was powerful to get to. As the format of the Open expanded to 72 holes, it was simply too small.
It was additionally St. Andrews and the R&A exerting itself as the new dwelling of golf that led to Musselburgh being faraway from the authentic rota, which additionally included Prestwick and St Andrews.
“In 1892 it was the turn of Musselbrugh to host the Open,” mentioned Mungo Park, an architect and descendant of the Parks. “But in 1891 the Honorable Company [of Edinburgh Golfers] had bought Muirfield. They had the right of running the Open wherever they wanted, and they took it to Muirfield.”
“My uncle, having won the 1889 Open, was a man of some influence in the golfing world,” Park added. “And he wasn’t afraid to challenge the gentlemen. He said this isn’t right. You can’t take it from Musselburgh. But they arguably had the rights to take it with them and they did.”
Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club and Prince’s Golf Club
Between them, they hosted three Opens. Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club nabbed two and Prince’s Golf Club one.
Royal Cinque Ports is in Deal, an English city with small, slim roads. The fashionable Open is a big manufacturing. And there are different, extra amenable venues in England. “It’s a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful golf course,” Morrissett of Golf Club Atlas mentioned. “The fact that it can’t host an Open in no way detracts from the merits of the golf course.”
In 1932, Prince’s Golf Club in England placed on a present with its one and solely Open: The nice American participant Gene Sarazen, who would win all 4 majors in his profession, received his solely Open there. He beat Smith, who had misplaced the final Open at Prestwick in 1925.
The case of Turnberry in Scotland is totally different. It’s a stern check of golf that has hosted 4 championships. In 1977, the “Duel in the Sun” at Turnberry pitted Tom Watson in opposition to Jack Nicklaus, with Watson finally prevailing. It final hosted an Open in 2009.
But in 2014, Donald J. Trump purchased Turnberry and renamed it Trump Turnberry. The course’s place on the rota was placed on maintain.
“Turnberry will be missed because of the super television optics and sea views,” mentioned David Hamilton, creator of “Golf — Scotland’s Game.”
While politics have usually performed an element in the place the Open goes, immediately it’s additionally about comfort and infrastructure. And that’s what induced lots of the different programs to be dropped.
“The Open has got bigger and bigger, which ruled out courses over time,” McStravik mentioned. “Some were too short. Some were inaccessible. Some clubs’ fortunes changed, so it went to a neighboring course.”
He added: “You like to see the heroes of the day play on the same links that the legends played on. The magic of the Open is that it directly connects Old Tom Morris to Bobby Jones to Ben Hogan to Jack Nicklaus to Seve [Ballesteros] to Rory McIlroy.”