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Think you know your Claret Jug history? Test it with this quiz.
The Open Championship is the Oldest Championship, with the 150th playing this week at—where else?— the Old Course at St. Andrews. From Old Tom Morris to Young Tom Morris, Tom Watson to Tiger Woods, plus facts and figures galore, that’s a lot of rich history to absorb. How well do you know it all? That’s what our quiz aims to find out. So sharpen those No. 2 pencils, laddies and lasses, and away we go.
*Ed note: An answer key is included at the bottom of the story*
1. The world’s oldest golf tournament, the Open Championship, was first played in…
2. This original host course, Prestwick, had…
a. 9 holes
b. 12 holes
c. 15 holes
d. 18 holes
3. No championship took place in 1871. Why?
a. A sheep virus
b. The Boer War
c. An outbreak of lice
d. Lack of a trophy
4. St. Andrew, for whom St. Andrews is named, was the patron saint of Scotland as well as, among other things…
6. Who has recorded the most runner-up finishes at the Open?
a. Arnold Palmer
b. Jack Nicklaus
c. Gary Player
d. Greg Norman
Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player have six Open Championships between them, but how many runner-up finishes?
7. What did Roberto de Vicenzo neglect to do after his 1967 Open win?
a. Sign his scorecard
b. Get his name engraved on the replica winner’s trophy
c. Cash his winning check
d. Thank his sponsors
8. The first year when all Open competitors were required to use a standard 1.68-inch golf ball rather than the smaller 1.62-inch British ball was…
d. Wait, what?
9. The championship’s media-rights holders are contractually required to do what?
a. Use the Open’s approved font package
b. Employ British spellings such as “colour” instead of “color”
c. Refer to the tournament as “the Open Championship” rather than “the British Open”
d. Pray for at least one day of wind and rain
10. Players are eligible to enter local qualifying for the Open Championship with a World Amateur Golf Ranking of what or better?
11. Nick Faldo won the 1990 Open at St. Andrews missing only five greens in regulation all week. How many were missed on purpose?
d. Fake news—no one misses a green on purpose!
Nick Faldo celebrates with his 1990 Open Championship prize: the Claret Jug.
12. In 1999, Jean van de Velde’s historic 72nd hole triple-bogey collapse involved finding which body of water at Carnoustie?
a. The Barry Burn
b. The Surrey Streamlet
c. The Tyne Tributary
d. The Zut Rivulet
13. Tiger Woods’ 8-stroke victory at St. Andrews in 2000 made him what?
a. The youngest player to win the career Grand Slam
b. The first American to win the British Amateur and the Open Championship
c. The first to win at Augusta National, Pebble Beach and the Old Course
d. Sir Eldrick of Woods
14. The underdog duo of Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton won the Open in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Who was the lower-ranked player?
a. Curtis, at No. 396
b. Curtis, at No. 693
c. Hamilton, at No. 127
d. Hamilton, at No. 721
15. In 2009, Tom Watson led through 71 holes before making a bogey that dropped him into a playoff, which he would eventually lose to Stewart Cink. How old was Watson at the time?
Tom Watson’s near-miss at the 2009 Open Championship lives in golf lore.
16. In 2016, Henrik Stenson (final round 63) outdueled Phil Mickelson (final round 65) at Royal Troon to win by three strokes. How far behind Stenson was the third-place finisher?
a. 8 strokes
b. 10 strokes
c. 12 strokes
d. 14 strokes
17. The Old Course Hotel, bordering the Old Course at St. Andrews, is currently owned by which American businessman?
a. Mike Keiser
b. Elon Musk
c. Herb Kohler
d. Bill Gates
18. In 1983, GOLF published its first World Top 50 courses list. Where did the Old Course rank?
a. No. 1
b. No. 12
c. No. 37
d. It was unranked
1. B That it’s taken 162 years to play 150 championships owes mostly to hiatuses caused by the two World Wars.
2. B Old Tom Morris built the original Prestwick layout, which was redesigned and expanded to 18 holes in 1882.
3. D Per championship rules, for winning the three straight years prior, Young Tom Morris was entitled to keep the Challenge Belt, and no substitute was made available.
4. B Aka “the disease of kings.”
5. A The Wee Icemon’s victory at Carnoustie in 1953 completed “the Triple Crown,” as he’d already won that year’s Masters and U.S. Open. (He skipped the PGA Championship, which ended the day before the Open Championship began.) Hogan was feted with a ticker-tape parade in New York City upon his return.
6. B With 7, most famously coming up one shot short in the “Duel in the Sun” against Tom Watson at Turnberry in 1977, with the Golden Bear’s closing 65-66 weekend nipped by Watson’s 65-65.
7. B “Such a scatterbrain I am!” De Vicenzo’s failure to do so led to the engraving responsibility being shifted from the winner to the R&A.
8. C Though the R&A didn’t officially outlaw the smaller ball until January 1, 1990.
9. C At GOLF magazine, we try our best to comply, within reason, but are under no obligation to do so.
10. D Male pros, meanwhile, need a handicap of 0.4 or better, while female pros who finish in the top 5 of any of the latest editions of the five women’s majors can also enter local qualifying.
11. B Faldo thrice opted to lay up short of the 17th green and its treacherous Road Hole bunker.
12. A Why does no one ever mention that he could have instead played backward to the fairway with his third shot and still been in pole position to win?!
13. A At age 24; Woods never competed in the British Amateur, and Nicklaus pulled off C first, with his 1972 U.S. Open win.
14. A Hamilton, he of the chippingwith-a-hybrid fame, was in fact ranked a relatively posh No. 56.
16. D J.B. Holmes, at –6 to Stenson’s –20, a new Open scoring record for lowest final score in relation to par and lowest final score (264).
17. C Since 2004.
18. B Muirfield was No. 1, with Pebble Beach, Royal County Down, Pine Valley and Cypress Point rounding out the top 5.
A former executive editor of GOLF Magazine, Rothman is now a remote contract freelancer. His primary role centers around custom publishing, which entails writing, editing and procuring client approval on travel advertorial sections. Since 2016, he has also written, pseudonymously, the popular “Rules Guy” monthly column, and often pens the recurring “How It Works” page. Rothman’s freelance work for both GOLF and GOLF.com runs the gamut from equipment, instruction, travel and feature-writing, to editing major-championship previews and service packages.
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