The Open is the oldest of the four major championships in world golf, and celebrated its 144th tournament at St Andrews in 2015. The Open is a very competitive betting event being a 72-hole stroke play tournament with a cut after 36 holes and is limited to the top 70 players and ties. In its 155 year history, The Open has had 82 different champions with Zach Johnson the latest in 2015.
Second Major For Zach Johnson In 2015
With Rory McIlroy absent due to an off-course ankle injury, Jordan Spieth was the punters favourite to win his third consecutive major and take over as World number one. But after a blustery weekend with heavy rain and very strong winds forcing play to be suspended twice, it was Zach Johnson that emerged victorious in from the first Open Championship to finish on a Monday since 1988.
Dustin Johnson took a one shot lead on day one with a 7-under 65, while Zach Johnson was among six golfers in tied second and Jordan Spieth was two shots off the lead after carding a 67. Friday's action was hampered by the weather and caused the second round to be completed on Saturday, with Dustin Johnson shooting a 69 to maintain a one shot lead from Danny Willett ahead of Paul Lawrie on 8-under par, while Zach Johnson was tied with five others a further shot behind. Amateur player Paul Dunne was in a share of the lead after the third round along with Louis Oosthuizen and Jason Day, marking the first time an amateur had led the Open after three rounds since 1927. At this point Jordan Spieth looked to be ominously coming to the boil and had carded a 66 to move withing a shot of the lead, with Pádraig Harrington a further shot behind and 9 golfers tied for sixth on 9-under, including Zach Johnson. The American would play a fantastic final round of 66 to force a play-off which he won against Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman to claim his second major championship victory after also winning the 2007 Masters.
With a second major under his belt, Zach Johnson may be considered for outright betting in 2016, but it's worth noting that only Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington have won back to back Open’s since 1983, so Zach may find that the going is tougher the second time around.
Back At St. Andrews
The Open is returned to St. Andrews in 2015, after last hosting the competition in 2010. It was the 29th time that The Open has been held at the Old Course, with Louis Oosthuizen becoming the first South African to get his hands on the Claret Jug at St. Andrews.
The past 29 Open’s to be held at St. Andrews have had a habit of crowning winners who are the best of their generation. It seems that every great of the game has hit the peak of their powers at this famous course. Tiger Woods, for example, produced performances in 2000 and 2005 that put him in a different league to the rest of the golfing world. Woods’ -19 total in 2000 surpassed the tournament par record set by Nick Faldo in 1990 when the Englishman was at the top of his game. Jack Nicklaus also won twice at St. Andrews in 1970 and 1978, and produced one of the golfs great moments when he bid farewell to the game in 2005.
The list of big name winners goes on and on with the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Peter Thomson and Bobby Locke going in to the history books by winning the Open at the Home of Golf.
Harry Vardon remains the most successful player in Open history after winning six Championships between 1896-1914. Vardon won £30 for his 1896 win, a far cry from the riches McIlroy earned for his 2014 triumph. Tom Watson is the most successful player in the modern era, winning five titles between 1975-1983.
Most Successful Open Players
- Harry Vardon – 6 Titles
- Tom Watson, Peter Thompson and two others – 5 Titles
- Tom Morris Sr, Tom Morris Jr and three others – 4 Titles
- Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Gary Player and four others – 3 Titles
- Arnold Palmer, Padraig Harrington, Greg Norman, Ernie Els and four others – 2 Titles
The USA are the most successful nation in Open history, with 28 different players taking the Claret Jug home across the pond with them. Scotland have has 22 different winners, England have had 13, while Rory McIlroy became the third Northern Irishman to win in 2014. Tiger Woods holds the record for the lowest final par score of -19 while Greg Norman holds the aggregate record after completing his four rounds in 267 strokes in 1993.
The history books will be rewritten again in 2016, but which name will join the legends before them as an Open winner?