The Open Championship, called the British Open in the United States, is one of four major championships on the PGA Tour. It is the last of the four played in 2022, held from July 14 to 17. The Old Course at St. Andrews will play host.
What is The British Open?
The oldest tournament in golf, the Open Championship has an unmatchable history. Winners include the likes of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Harry Vardon, and every other historical figure in modern golf.
Today, the world’s best go at it head-to-head on the biggest stage in the world. The only downside of the tournament is that it is played in Europe, and TV times are in the early morning in the United States. If there’s one stretch of four days for a golfer to wake up early (or never sleep), it’s the week of the British Open.
Let’s take a deeper dive into what makes this the greatest tournament in golf.
The total purse for the 2022 British Open is $10,750,000. The winner’s share is $1,935,000.
It has the smallest purse of all majors, with the biggest being $12.5 million for the US Open. The Masters Tournament purse is $11.5 million and PGA Championship is $11 million.
What Course is the Open Championship played on?
Golf as we know it began at St. Andrews in Scotland. Almost 500 years later, all eyes in the world of golf will be on the historic course as it hosts the Open Championship for the 30th time.
I’m not sure what’s more notable and historic, the course or buildings surrounding it. We go deeper into a bunch of the holes in the next section, so we’ll highlight just two of the nearby buildings here.
Old Course Hotel
In terms of actual golf, the Old Course Hotel isn’t all that notable. Well, except that as players tee off on 17 they’re aiming right at it. The hotel can be avoided, but to do well means taking it on. The hotel has gone so far as to install a rubber roof after years having players destroy shingles. It’s not only amateurs that hit the hotel. Phil Mickelson hit one right onto a balcony at 2015 Open Championship.
Tom Morris Golf Shop
Sitting beyond the 18th tee is The Open Store, formerly Tom Morris Golf Shop. Old Tom Morris opened this shop around the same time the Open Championship was first played, making it the oldest surviving golf shop. Morris also lived right above the shop.
You could write a book about every hole on the Old Course at St. Andrews. We aren’t going to do that. Instead, we’ll tell you our three favorites.
The first hole at St. Andrews is so wide that any golfer in the world can hit it. I mean seriously, the fairway is over 100 yards wide. If you can’t hit that, you might want to consider hanging the clubs up.
The fairway is so wide because it shares the area with the 18th hole. As you get closer to the green, the fairway becomes a peninsula. A stream goes up and down the last bit of the fairway on the left and right. The same stream crosses directly in front of the green, and staying out means a good chance of doing well on the opening hole.
Hole 17—The Road Hole
A terrifying tee shot aiming at the Old Course Hotel, no margin for error left or right. A second shot into a tiny green over the Road Hole bunker that’s equally as intimidating. This hole has everything a spectator wants—for a golfer, not as much.
Hole 18—Tom Morris
In theory, a 100-yard-wide fairway should set you up well for an easy par. On the 18th hole at St. Andrews, not so much. This is the hole where you cross the Swilcan Bridge after teeing off, you know, the one from nearly every picture of the course ever.
18 isn’t the most difficult hole on The Old Course and we picked it primarily for aesthetic reasons. But, coming up the fairway on Sunday adds an entirely different element of difficulty. The hole itself isn’t long, but the undulating Valley of Sin makes placement tricky. Also, missing the fairway right puts you square in the middle of town. Besides that, the green has so much break that three putts are about as common as an up and down; a great final hole.
Where to Watch for Spectators
Holes 1, 17, and 18 have grandstands. Given the excitement of every hole on the course, we recommend finding a spot in the middle. Either that, or following a group of interest.
Embracing modern technology at one of the birthplaces of golf was no easy feat. St. Andrews has done well though, installing large TV screens around the grounds. There is also a “spectators village” with food, games, general activities, and of course, screens to watch the action.
Open Championship History
First Open Championship
The tournament was first held in in 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club. Only eight golfers competed that year, with Willie Park Sr. defeating Old Tom Morris. At that time, the course was 12 holes and the tournament was three rounds.
Courses in rotation
The Open Championship uses a rotation of nine courses. There are an additional five courses that previously hosted the tournament.
Of the nine in rotation, The Old Course at St. Andrews has hosted the most times with 29. No other active course has hosted the tournament even 20 times, though Prestwick Golf Club did host 24 times between 1860 and 1925. Royal Portrush has hosted the fewest times with two, and is scheduled for a third in 2025.
Among the nine in rotation, four are in Scotland, four are in England, and one is in Northern Ireland.
Breaks in Play
There have only been four breaks in Open Championship play. The first was in 1871 as the Championship Trophy was not available. It was also canceled from 1915 to 1919 during World War I and 1940 to 1945 during World War II. Most recently, the 2020 tournament was not played as a result of the COVID pandemic.
Only one golfer was able to retain the title after a break in tournament play was Young Tom Morris in 1870 and 1872.
It’s no surprise a tournament that this year will be played for the 150th time has a lengthy list of players having won more than once. We won’t bore you with every golfer that took home the Claret Jug on more than one occasion, but we’ll give you the highlights. If you want to see a complete list, you can check it out here.
Harry Vardon leads the way as the golfer with six Open Championship titles. The five-time winner club includes James Braid, John Henry Taylor, Peter Thompson, and Tom Watson. With four titles comes another handful of guys, Old Tom Morris, Young Tom Morris, Willie Park Sr., Walter Hagen, and Bobby Locke. If you only know a couple of these guys, don’t feel bad given that most of them played before anyone reading this was born.
Other notable repeat winners include Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, and Tiger Woods. This crew has three Claret Jugs each. Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, and Greg Norman each won twice.
Padraig Harrington also has two, winning back-to-back in ‘07 and ’08. In ’07, Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff, in what seemed to be another chapter in Garcia’s career of missed opportunities at a major. Thankfully for Garcia, the ’99 PGA Championship, ’07 at Carnoutsie, and the ’08 PGA Championship were (somewhat) forgotten with his 2017 Masters win.
Harrington’s wins followed Tiger’s back-to-back wins in ‘05 and ‘06. Tiger’s win in ’06 was shortly after his father, Earl, passed away and one of the more heart wrenching wins in his career.
Lastly, Ernie Els was the most recent to join this club, winning his second Open Championship in 2012, ten years after his first.
The Open Championship has been won by an amateur six times.
- John Ball accomplished the feat first in 1890.
- Harold Hilton won twice, 1892 and 1897.
- Bobby Jones is the most recent amateur winner, only amateur to have won back-to-back, and only three-time amateur winner. His titles came in 1926, 1927, and 1930.
2021 British Open Winner
Collin Morikawa won the 2021 Open Championship, held at Royal St. George’s Golf Club. He went into Sunday trailing Louis Oosthuizen by one stroke, and fired a four under 66 to win the tournament by two strokes.
2021 was Collin Morikawa’s the first time he played the Open Championship. That made him the first to win their debut at the tournament since 2003 when Ben Curtis won.
Morikawa made only four bogeys on the weekend, with the last coming in the third round on hole 5. He played his final 31 holes at -8, making several key up and downs and putts longer than 20 feet.
Jordan Spieth came in second place at -13, two strokes behind Morikawa’s -15. Oosthuizen and Jon Rahm tied for third place at -11. Dylan Frittelli rounded out the top five at -9.
2021 Money List
1. Collin Morikawa—$2,070,000
2. Jordan Spieth—$1,198,000
T-3. Louis Oosthuizen—$682,500
T-3. Jon Rahm—$682,500
5. Dylan Frittelli—$480,000
How much does it cost to attend the Open Championship?
Face value tickets are affordable for the British Open, with the most expensive GA priced at £95 for adults. This cost translates to roughly $130 USD. If you are between the ages of 16-24, tickets are half that price and under 16 is free.
How to Get Tickets to the British Open
If you don’t have tickets already, you probably won’t end up with them. Tickets to the 2022 British Open were done via a lottery system called “The Ticket Ballot”. Tickets may be available through third party resellers, but the prices for these will be high.
How to Watch the British Open
TV coverage for the Open Championship is as follows. All times are set for Eastern Standard Time.
- 1:30 AM – 4:00 PM—Golf Channel
- 1:30 AM – 4:00 PM—Golf Channel
- 5:00 AM – 7:00 AM—Golf Channel
- 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM—NBC
- 2:30 AM – 6:00 AM—Golf Channel
- 6:00 AM – 2:00 PM—NBC