1989 Trial by Fire. After Mark Calcavecchia had prevailed in the
historic playoff by stacking a five-iron shot on the final hole,
some said that he had also won the first major played on
pavement--in the 2 1/2 months before the '89 British Open, it
had rained only three times at Royal Troon. The dry conditions
destroyed the rough, baked the fairways and sent scores
plummeting. Payne Stewart set the course record on Saturday with
a 65, and Greg Norman broke it on Sunday with a nine-birdie 64.
1982 Paying the Price. Had a 25-year-old Nick Price kept his
composure over the last six holes of the '82 Open, he might have
been more than just a blip on golf's radar screen for the rest
of the decade. Instead, Price had to wait another 10 years,
until he won the '92 PGA, to make his mark on the game. At
Troon, Price held a three-shot lead over Tom Watson when he
reached the 13th tee in the final round. Price drove into the
heather and bogeyed the hole, then doubled the 15th when he
skulled a sand shot. Tied with Watson, who waited in the
clubhouse, Price missed a five-footer for par at the 17th to
give Watson his fourth British Open title in eight years.
1973 Love-Hate Relationship. Taking advantage of the calm but
damp conditions, Tom Weiskopf tied Arnold Palmer's British Open
scoring record of 276 to win his only major--on a course he
admitted he hated. Heeding the advice Jack Nicklaus had given
him before the final round ("Whatever you do, don't play Johnny
Miller, play the course"), Weiskopf survived an early charge by
Miller and won by three shots.
1962 Royal Treatment. Palmer played what he called the best four
rounds of his career, trouncing Kel Nagle by six shots and the
rest of the field by 13 while successfully defending his title.
Palmer's third-round 67, which featured four birdies in five
holes on the back nine, was a British Open record. Nicklaus,
playing in his first Open, made a 10 at the Railway, the 11th
hole, in the first round and shot 80.
1950 Locke Step. Many consider Bobby Locke of South Africa to be
the greatest putter of all time, but he won this Open, his
second straight, because he missed only two fairways all week.
Not that he didn't overcome some adversity. On the par-3 5th
hole in the second round, Locke missed the green by 20 yards,
stubbed his pitch into a bunker, took two shots to get out and
two-putted for a triple-bogey 6. Locke made up those strokes,
though, and won by two over Roberto de Vicenzo.
1923 Haig Ultra. Walter Hagen had created a stir while winning
the Open the previous year when, disdainful of the locker room
at Royal St. Georges, he pulled his Rolls Royce up to the 1st
tee and changed his clothes inside. In '23 Arthur Havers, a club
pro whose only brush with fame had come 10 years earlier when he
qualified for the Open as a 16-year-old, kept Hagen from winning
three straight. (Hagen also won in '24, at Hoylake.) Havers shot
three 73s, then put up an early 76 and watched from the gallery
as Hagen tried to shoot the 74 that would tie. Needing a birdie
on the final hole, Hagen sliced his approach into a bunker.
Dramatically, he asked for the pin to be removed before he hit
his sand shot, and just missed.