Counting Down the 8 Royal Troon Open Winners
The Open has been played at Royal Troon eight times since 1923. These are the eight men who triumphed at the historic venue and took home the Claret Jug. Whose name will be added to the list in 2016?
1923: Arthur Havers
Englishman Arthur Havers won amid controversy and powerful winds in 1923 at the first Open to be held at Troon. Some of the American players in the tournament brought clubs that had been altered to create backspin, which was considered illegal. The clubs had to be filed down overnight so they would conform with standards. The wind was so bad that one player’s ball gusted backward out of the sand and into his jacket pocket.
1950: Bobby Locke
Bobby Locke defended his 1949 title in Troon’s second hosting of the Open, the first champion to do so. A South African with a flair for putting, the greens in 1950 were well-suited to his skill-set. Locke mailed a Christmas card to Troon every year after this win with the same words: “Best wishes for this year and the future. Still the best greens in the world.”
1962: Arnold Palmer
More popular than ever, Arnold Palmer defended his 1961 Open title at Troon in 1962. Fans descended on Troon to see the icon in action. In 1962, Palmer had won both the Open and the Masters. He also set the Open record score of 276 at Troon, which lasted until 1977.
1973: Tom Weiskopf
Tom Weiskopf’s wire-to-wire victory at Troon marked his only major title. Weiskopf arrived early in Scotland and played eight practice rounds before the tournament to prepare. His score of 276 was the same as Palmer’s record from 1962.
1982: Tom Watson
The legendary Tom Watson nabbed his fourth Open win in 1982 after the tournament’s early leaders fell apart in the last two rounds. Watson said that the win had been “handed” to him. (Watson also won the U.S. Open that year.) Watson said a final goodbye to the British Open in 2015.
1989: Mark Calcavecchia
Mark Calcavecchia won the 1989 Open in a three-way playoff with Greg Norman and Wayne Grady. Calcavecchia birdied the 18th hole twice in one day to win the title.
1997: Justin Leonard
Justin Leonard entered the final round at Troon in 1997 five shots back. But he played so well on Sunday that he ended up winning by three strokes, ahead of Darren Clarke and Jesper Parnevik. This tournament also marked a young Tiger Woods’ first Open appearance as a professional.
2004: Todd Hamilton
Todd Hamilton came from nowhere to win in 2004 in Royal Troon at the age of 38. Hamilton later said that he maintained “an eerie calmness” that week, that he just felt as he played that things were going to work out. They did—he beat out Ernie Els in a playoff to claim the title. GOLF senior writer Cameron Morfit caught up with Hamilton this month to talk about his unlikely win.