In the US, it’s known as the British Open.
However, in its land of origin, it’s simply known as The Open.
The world’s original national championship of golf wraps up today, with Tiger Woods up by one stroke (at press time) and Jerry Kelly five back. My nephew, Eric Meller, caddies for Kelly (and gets me lots of cooled autographed stuff ;-).
The Open, naturally, has a aura of history unmatched by any other golf championship. It originated in 1860. The winner was originally awarded a Challenge Belt, more like boxing than golf. In 1872, the Claret Jug was awarded for the first time. Its recipient was Young Tom Morris, who had won the previous three championships. The stuffy Open authorities being what they were, they suspended the 1871 match because they were disturbed at how one golfer was dominating their tournament!
The tournament still captures the world’s attention each July. Memorable performances of recent years include John Daly driving OVER St. Andrews’ final green on his way to victory in 1995, Jean Van De Velde’s horrifying meltdown in 1999, and Ian Baker-Finch’s victory in 1991, followed by an inexplicable slump that ended his career.
Another intriguing factor of the tournament was the fact that the date it was held on sometimes clashed with the PGA Championship. That’s why Ben hogan, who had won two previous PGA’s, didn’t compete in 1953’s tournament. He was too busy winning the Open! We’ll never know if he could have achieved golf’s elusive Grand Slam that year.
So get up early on Sunday, tune in, and cheer for Jerry Kelly!