The Open Championship (known as the British Open outside of the United Kingdom) is the only major championship on the PGA Tour held outside of the United States, and is the oldest of all four majors. The tournament is governed by The R&A, and changes course locations every year.
Since the first Open Championship in 1860, the event has been played across a range of illustrious golf courses throughout the United Kingdom. While Northern Ireland was once the host nation for an Open Championship, only Scotland and England have conducted the tournament in recent years, with the Old Course at St Andrews a regular venue.
St Andrews has been one of The Open Championship locations since 1873. It was the second venue of the championship, after Prestwick Golf Club hosted the event exclusively from 1860-72. In 2010, St Andrews will once again be the location of the third calendar PGA Tour major, and will see Stewart Cink attempt to join the long list of back-to-back British Open winners.
For the first three decades of the tournaments history, only Scottish professionals lifted the trophy. However, after English amateur John Ball won the title in 1890, the nationality of The Open Championship victors quickly spread to all corners of the United Kingdom. After World War I, the first American won the championship, and in recent years players from the United States have dominated the event.
Unlike other tournaments, there are several professionals who have won the British Open on more than one occasion. In fact, 21 players in total have lifted The Open Championship trophy at least twice, with Australian Peter Thomson claiming an incredible five titles, and Harry Vardon holding the record with six.
The following is a list of The Open Championship winners from the past two decades:
- 2009 Stewart Cink (USA)
- 2008 Padraig Harrington (IRL)
- 2007 Padraig Harrington (IRL)
- 2006 Tiger Woods (USA)
- 2005 Tiger Woods (USA)
- 2004 Todd Hamilton (USA)
- 2003 Ben Curtis (USA)
- 2002 Ernie Els (RSA)
- 2001 David Duval (USA)
- 2000 St Andrews (USA)
- 1999 Paul Lawrie (SCO)
- 1998 Mark OMeara (USA)
- 1997 Justin Leonard (USA)
- 1996 Tom Lehman (USA)
- 1995 John Daly (USA)
- 1994 Nick Price (ZIM)
- 1993 Greg Norman (AUS)
- 1992 Nick Faldo (ENG)
- 1991 Ian Baker-Finch (AUS)
- 1990 Nick Faldo (ENG)
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