July 14, 2014

A look at key anniversaries in British Open history:

150 years ago (1866): Willie Park Sr. won his third British Open at Prestwick by posting the lowest scores of the opening two rounds (54-56) to build a five-shot lead. He closed with a 59 for a two-shot victory over his brother, David Park. Old Tom Morris finished fourth, while Young Tom Morris finished ninth in his second Open. Twelve players completed the championship. All of them were from Scotland. Park's first prize was 6 pounds.

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125 years ago (1891): In the final year that the British Open was contested over 36 holes in one day, Hugh Kirkaldy had rounds of 83-83 to beat his brother, Andrew Kirkaldy, and Willie Fernie by two shots at St. Andrews. Andrew Kirkaldy took a 6 at the Road Hole and had a putt to tie his brother. He wound up three-putting. Hugh Kirkaldy won 10 pounds for his only Open title. It was the third runner-up finish for Andrew Kirkaldy.

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100 years ago (1916): The British Open was canceled because of World War I.

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75 years ago (1941): The British Open was canceled because of World War II.

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50 years ago (1966): Jack Nicklaus became the fourth player to complete the career Grand Slam with his one-shot victory over Doug Sanders and Dave Thomas at Muirfield. This was the first time the Open was contested over four days (one year after the U.S. Open went to four days), though it still ended on Saturday. Nicklaus made birdie at the par-5 17th to break a three-way tie and his par on No. 18 gave him his sixth professional major.

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25 years ago (1991): Ian Baker-Finch won his only major with a 64-66 weekend at Royal Birkdale for a two-shot victory over Mike Harwood. Seven years earlier, Baker-Finch had a share of the 54-hole lead and shot 79. This time, he had a one-shot lead and made five birdies in the opening seven holes to seize control. Jodie Mudd tied for fifth by becoming the first player in British Open history to post a 63 in the final round. Payne Stewart matched the feat two years later.

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20 years ago (1996): Tom Lehman, who had endured close calls at the Masters (1994) and U.S Open (1995, 1996), finally broke through with a ball-striking exhibition at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. He was at 198 after three rounds, and even closing with a 73, no one could catch him. Ernie Els closed with a 67 and tied for second, two shots behind. He remembers being in the clubhouse hopeful of Lehman making two bogeys. Sitting next to him was Tiger Woods, the 20-year-old amateur consulting Els on whether he should go pro. ''Tom made par and Tiger turned pro. I was (doomed) either way,'' Els said. Woods tied for 22nd and turned pro a month later.

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10 years ago (2006): One month after missing the cut for the first time in a major, Tiger Woods won the British Open for the second straight year after holding off a strong challenge from Chris DiMarco. Woods closed with a 67 at Royal Liverpool for a two-shot victory and sobbed on the 18th green. It was his first victory since his father died two months earlier of cancer. Woods became the first player since Tom Watson (1982-83) to win back-to-back in the British Open. His 11th major tied him with Walter Hagen.

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