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Nicolas Colsaerts named as vice captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup

Luke Donald has named Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts as his third Vice Captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup which will be played at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, Italy from September 26 – October 1, 2023.
 
Colsaerts was part of the most famous European victory in the annals of the Ryder Cup in the 2012 contest at Medinah; producing one of the most memorable debuts in the history of the event when he carded eight birdies and an eagle in partnership with Lee Westwood to help defeat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker on the final green in the Friday fourball session.
 
Outside of the Ryder Cup arena, Colsaerts has won three times on the DP World Tour, previously known as the European Tour. His most recent was a dramatic triumph in the 2019 Open de France, where he entered the week battling to keep his Tour card and ended it style with a one shot victory. To date, he has played in 436 Tour events to lie 84th in the list of all-time appearances.
 
Colsaerts is a well-liked figure on Tour and will undoubtedly be a popular addition to Team Europe. The Belgian joins Dane Thomas Bjørn, the successful 2018 European Captain, and Italian Edoardo Molinari as Vice Captains for the 2023 contest; his appointment being the perfect belated birthday gift for him as he turned 40 only last week.
 
Colsaerts said: “My first reaction when Luke asked me was sheer joy. Every time I hear the words ‘Ryder Cup’, it takes me back to the edition I played in, how proud I was to wear the European colours and be part of such an unbelievable event. Of course, Luke was in that team too and when we spoke he mentioned how much he has always loved what the Ryder Cup means to me.
 
“Being a Vice Captain is a different role to being a player but, nevertheless, my mission in 2023 will be exactly the same as it was in 2012, namely, to make a contribution to the team in any way I can. Rest assured, whatever I am asked to do, I will do it.
 
“We already have two fantastic Vice Captains in Thomas Bjørn and Edoardo Molinari and we already have a special bond between us. We are all different personalities but that is interesting because when you put us all in a room together you will have different angles, and Luke will be able to take what is best from each of us.
 
“When you play team sport as a youngster you are told that the most important thing is to participate and while that is true then, when you are a professional golfer in the Ryder Cup, when you wear the colours and you step onto that first tee, the only thing you want to do is to win; not only for the other guys on the team, but also for the Continent you are representing. That is what we want to do in Rome.”
 
Captain Donald said: “Nico has been on my mind for a couple of months now to be honest. I played in the team with him in 2012 and you could just see how much it meant to him. He understands what it means to represent the European crest and what it means to be part of the Ryder Cup set-up. When I asked him, he literally had goosebumps – so I am very happy to have him as my third Vice Captain.
 
“Nico gets along extremely well with all the guys out here on the DP World Tour and he will be a great person to help keep an eye on things here in Europe in periods when I might be in the US. There is already great communication between us – myself, Thomas, Edoardo and Nico – and I couldn’t be happier with the way my backroom team is shaping up.”

Text: Team Europe/ DP World Tour

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Countdown to the 2023 Solheim Cup begins

An extraordinary celebration event, called “One Year To Go”, made up of various events, marked the start of the countdown to the 2023 Solheim Cup coming to Spain for the first time. There is only one year left until the most important women’s golf competition in the world comes to Finca Cortesín, Málaga, from 22 to 24 September 2023.

To highlight those 365 days that will be crossed off the calendar for the European and US teams to meet on the Costa del Sol, the dyke of the emblematic Puerto Banús in Marbella (Málaga), brought together 365 children from different golf schools in Andalusia in which, in unison, they did the “Longest Swing”.

The little golfers took their places and, forming a huge multicoloured wave, hit an approach shot into the sea with totally biodegradable balls.
Afterwards, the captain of the European Solheim Cup team, Suzann Pettersen, arrived by helicopter and, with the magnificent tournament trophy in her hands, greeted each and every one of the children.

Exhibition match at Finca Cortesín

A few hours earlier, the protagonist was the new hole 1 at Finca Cortesín, where an exhibition match took place in which Suzann Pettersen challenged the model and actor Andrés Velencoso and the guitarist of the group D’Vicio Alberto González, “Missis”, while the ambassadors of the tournament recreated the great atmosphere of the Solheim Cup.
The European captain highlighted the design of hole 1, perfect for an event like the Solheim Cup and wished it to be “a very noisy hole, with all the Spanish passion cheering on the European team”.

Vicente Rubio, general manager of Finca Cortesín, recalled how the LET “honoured us naming us as the venue for the 2023 Solheim Cup and since then, our team has been working to make it a success. And over the next 12 months we will continue in this line of improvements to guarantee both players and fans a unique and unforgettable experience”.

This moment concluded with a tribute to Raquel Carriedo, the first Spaniard to play in a Solheim Cup and who shared with all those present her memories of that historic experience in the 2000 edition.

Triple countdown

The celebrations of this “One Year To Go” had as an extraordinary culmination the launch of three countdowns, one in each of the municipalities involved in the organisation of the Solheim Cup 2023 (Benahavís, Casares and Marbella), to remember the time left for the celebration of this great event.

The Mayor of Benahavís, José Antonio Mena, was in attendance, accompanied by Pablo Mansilla, President of the Royal Andalusian Golf Federation.

“We have been fighting for a long time for the arrival of this tournament in Spain and Andalusia, and now there is only one year to go. Once again, Andalusia will once again be the world epicentre of golf and women’s sport thanks to the Solheim Cup,” said Mansilla.

“The golf industry is perhaps the most important industry in Benahavis and therefore, from the first moment we have wanted to be part of the Solheim Cup, and this commitment will bring numerous benefits, both to our municipality and to the entire Costa del Sol,” said Mena.

José Carrasco, Mayor of Casares, said he was “very proud to be able to offer our innumerable tourist resources and I am convinced that the Solheim Cup will mark a before and after for our municipality and for Andalusia”.

And Manuel Cardeña, Deputy Mayor of Marbella and CEO of Acosol, stressed that “the arrival of the Solheim Cup for the first time in Spain, and more specifically on the Costa del Sol, offers us a great opportunity to strengthen our position as a tourist destination and to be the epicentre of world golf in 365 days, something we have to take advantage of”.

Cardeña was accompanied by Arturo Bernal, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport of the Junta de Andalucía; Francisco Salado, President of the Diputación de Málaga; and Margarita del Cid, Vice President of the Diputación de Málaga, among other personalities such as Alan Solheim, representative of the firm that gives its name to the tournament, and people from the Ladies European Tour (LET), the Royal Spanish Golf Federation and Deporte & Bussines, the organising company.

Arturo Bernal was in charge of bringing to a close a marathon programme of events that has focused on the arrival of the Solheim Cup in Spain in just twelve months.

“The celebration of the Solheim Cup next year will allow Andalusia to demonstrate once again that we are the best destination in Europe for the organisation and development of major sporting events in general and golf in particular,” concluded.

The Solheim Cup 2023, an event of exceptional public interest whose official venue is Finca Cortesin, is sponsored by PING, Costa del Sol and Rolex as global partners; and by the Consejería de Turismo, Cultura y Deporte de la Junta de Andalucía, with co-financing from the European Union, Acosol, the Marbella Town Hall and the Benahavís Town Hall as official partners, and Reale Seguros as official sponsor. Solán de Cabras, Eversheds Sutherland, Casares Town Hall, Toro, Vithas, E-Z-GO and Jet Set Sports are official suppliers. Marca and Radio Marca are official media. Promoted and organised by Deporte & Business. LET, LPGA, RFEG, CSD and RFGA collaborate in its organisation.

(Text: Solheim Cup)

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Luke Donald named 2023 Ryder Cup Captain

Luke Donald has been named as the European Captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, Italy from September 25 – October 1, 2023.

Donald represented Europe in the Ryder Cup four times as a player, being part of a winning team on all four occasions, including in 2012 when he led Team Europe out in the Singles, securing the first blue point on the board in the ‘Miracle at Medinah’. 

He also has served as a Vice Captain in the last two editions of the biennial contest, under Thomas Bjørn in 2018 and Pádraig Harrington last year.

The 44 year old Englishman’s impressive individual playing career includes holding the position of Number One on the Official World Golf Rankings for a total of 56 weeks, and in 2011 he became the first player in history to top the money lists on the European Tour (now the DP World Tour) and the PGA TOUR in the same year. 

Donald said: “I am incredibly proud to be named European Ryder Cup Captain for 2023. It is truly one of the greatest honours that can be bestowed upon a golfer, to lead a team of your peers and be an ambassador for an entire continent. 

“I feel extremely privileged to have been given that responsibility and it is a responsibility I do not take lightly. 

“Some of my best experiences in golf have been in the Ryder Cup and I would not swap those for anything. It is an event like no other and I cannot wait to create more special memories in Italy next year. 

“I love everything the Ryder Cup embodies, from the camaraderie and companionship of being part of a team, to the history of the contest, but most of all playing for something bigger than yourself. 

“Rome will be a fantastic host city, and I have always enjoyed spending time there. It is a city rich in history and hopefully we can create some of our own in 14 months’ time.”

Guy Kinnings, the European Ryder Cup Director, said: “Luke is a former World Number One who possesses a superb Ryder Cup record, so he undoubtedly has the credentials required to be a successful European Captain. 

“He is hugely respected by the players and by the wider support team at Ryder Cup Europe who have already done an immense amount of work behind the scenes to give him a strong platform for the remaining 14 months before the match gets underway.

“We have continued the tradition of moving forward with players in the role of Captain who have excelled in the Ryder Cup arena; and in terms of Luke, we are combining that experience with strong leadership and a meticulous approach. On behalf of everyone at Ryder Cup Europe, we look forward to fully supporting him in the quest to reclaim the Ryder Cup next year.”

Donald has wasted little time in ensuring continuity in the key backroom area of Team Europe, confirming that both existing Vice Captains – Thomas Bjørn and Edoardo Molinari – will continue in their respective positions.

“In my opinion, it was essential that Thomas and Edoardo remained part of the team. They were the first two calls I made once I got the nod to be Captain and I’m delighted that they are fully on-board.

“Nobody needs any explanation of how important Thomas is to the Ryder Cup – one glance at the history books will show you that. He has lived and breathed European golf for the past 30 years and having his know-how behind me, not least as a winning Captain, will be vital.

“Furthermore, Edoardo has blazed an impressive trail for himself in the world of stats and his knowledge in this area with the players who will be on the team, in addition to extra-special Italian element he will bring to the entire occasion, is an extra bonus for Team Europe.”

Donald boasts a formidable playing record in the Ryder Cup, contributing 10½ points from his 15 matches. 

He made his debut as part of Bernhard Langer’s record-breaking team at Oakland Hills Country Club in 2004, halving his opening match with Paul McGinley against Chris Riley and Stewart Cink, before teaming up with Sergio Garcia in the foursomes to defeat Cink and Kenny Perry 2&1 on the Friday, followed by a 1 up Foursomes victory with Garcia against Jim Furyk and Fred Funk on the Saturday.  

Donald claimed a maximum three points from his three matches at The K Club, in Ireland, in 2006 under the captaincy of Ian Woosnam as Europe retained the Ryder Cup with a second consecutive 18½-9½ victory. He once again teamed up with Garcia in the Foursomes, defeating Tiger Woods and Furyk 2 up on the Friday, then Phil Mickelson and David Toms 2&1 on the Saturday, before exacting revenge on Chad Campbell for his loss in the Singles two years earlier with a 2&1 victory. 

His next appearance came at The Celtic Manor Resort in 2010 when he contributed a further three points from his four matches, partnering Ian Poulter to defeat Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton 2&1 in Foursomes, before teaming up with Lee Westwood to beat Steve Stricker and Woods 6&5 in the same format. Donald then defeated Furyk on the final hole of their Singles match as Europe claimed a memorable 14½-13½ win in Wales. 

Donald was also an integral part of another dramatic European victory two years later in Illinois, the State where he studied at Northwestern University. Partnering Garcia in the Saturday afternoon Fourballs against Woods and Stricker, his stunning tee shot inside Woods’ on the elevated par three 17th hole was a pivotal moment in the Miracle at Medinah, as the pair went on to win their match on the final hole, shortly before Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy reduced the deficit to four points with their victory against Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner. 

Captain José María Olazábal then handed Donald the responsibility of leading Europe out in the Sunday Singles against Bubba Watson, and Donald duly set the tone for one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the Ryder Cup, winning his match 2&1. 

Donald had entered the record books of his own accord a year previously when in 2011 he became the first player to top the season-long money lists on both sides of the Atlantic, winning the Player of the Year award on the PGA TOUR and Golfer of the Year in Europe in the process. 

His four victories that season included the WGC-Accenture Match Play, defeating Ryder Cup teammate Martin Kaymer in the final to reach World Number One for the first time. 

He also won the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart and the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, a title he successfully defended in 2012 to take his total of victories on the DP World Tour to seven. 

Donald returned to the Ryder Cup arena in 2018 when he was selected as a Vice Captain by Thomas Bjørn at Le Golf National in Paris, a role he also performed last year at Whistling Straits under Pádraig Harrington. 

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Cameron Smith: “This type of golf suits a lot of Aussies”

Cameron Smith talks about his historic win at the 150th Open Championship, being the fourth Australian to win the Open and the state of his game, especially his putting, which he excelled in.

Cameron Smith after. his British Open win

MIKE WOODCOCK: I’m delighted to welcome the Champion Golfer of the Year, Cam Smith, to the interview room with a 20-under par total of 268.

Cam, fantastic round. To shoot 64 in the final round of a major and to win in the style you did is some achievement. Can you sum up how you feel right now?

CAMERON SMITH: I feel like I can breathe. These last four or five holes aren’t easy around here, especially with the wind up off the left. Yeah, just stuck to what I was doing. Yeah, just really proud of how I kind of knuckled down today and managed to get it done.

Q. Cameron, congratulations. Kel Nagle won the 100th Open. You’ve won The 150th. How does that make you feel?

CAMERON SMITH: That’s pretty cool. I didn’t know that. I think, to win an Open Championship in itself is probably going to be a golfer’s highlight in their career. To do it around St Andrews, I think is just unbelievable.

This place is so cool. I love the golf course. I love the town. Yeah, hopefully we can keep that trend going with the every 50 years. That would be nice, wouldn’t it? (Laughter).

Q. Cam, you’ve had some heartbreaks at the majors the last couple of years, putting your hand up in a lot of them. Does this make it all worthwhile winning The Open at the home of golf?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I think so. I’ve definitely kicked myself a couple of times over the past few years. To do it the way I did today was pretty cool to be back and really apply pressure, keep holing putts. Yeah, it was awesome.

Q. Cameron, just a couple of parts of the question. The first is can you just talk us through that second shot on the 17th hole and how crucial was that? Including the putt that you made, the first putt. Secondly, I was talking to Anirban Lahiri yesterday, and he said he wouldn’t be surprised at all if Cameron wins it from here just on the basis of his putting. That is the kind of belief, I mean, that’s the kind of like what other players think about you. Can you just talk a bit about that?

CAMERON SMITH: That second shot on 17, it’s just really an awkward shot, especially where I was. I kind of had to draw a 9-iron in there. You’re only trying to get it to 40 or 50 feet anyway. Just didn’t quite commit to the shape I wanted to hit and got it a little bit toey and turned over a touch more than I would have liked.

Then the putt next to the green, I mean, I was just trying to get it inside 15 feet, and the putter felt really good all day. I knew, if I could get it somewhere in there, that I’d be able to give it a pretty good run. Yeah, managed to get away with a 4 there.

Q. Cam, you said yesterday that it was actually the best you hit it all week. Did that sort of spur you on to go after it today?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I don’t think I hit the ball any differently all four days, to be honest. I felt like I kept hitting quality golf shots and kept giving myself looks at birdie, even from a distance, which is sometimes what you have to do around here.

The only difference today, was the putts were dropping. I spent a little bit of time on the green yesterday night, last night, and just really wanted to see a few putts go in. Yeah, it turned out it was a pretty good thing to do.

Q. In a weird way, did yesterday’s round that put you behind help to bring out the mongrel and the fight in the dog, if you will, and get you to chase him down?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I think I was really frustrated yesterday with how the round went. I just really put it down to links golf. I think you really have those days on these courses where you get a bit of a weird bounce here and there and puts you in a bad spot.

So I shrugged it off pretty good, I think, last night. I really didn’t dwell on it too much. Yeah, but to go out there and really stick my head down and keep making birdies and keep making putts, yeah, it was really cool. I think that definitely helped yesterday.

Q. Kenneth said that definitely saw that Queensland spirit, seeing the Maroons win as underdogs, he saw that come out of you on the back nine — you tell me if that’s wrong. He said, look, this guy’s not losing, and you went for it. Fair?

CAMERON SMITH: I mean, you’ve got to try and win (laughter). That’s what we’re all here to do.

Yeah, I’m not sure anything changed, to be honest. I really wanted to stay patient on that back nine. I think I was maybe three back at the turn. I knew I just had to be patient. I felt good all day, and those putts just started going in on that back nine and just got a lot of momentum going. I mean, from there it was just really solid stuff.

Q. Congratulations, Cameron. A few hours ago you were a chaser in the tournament, and then later you were the leader at the clubhouse. Explain your feelings to have the Claret Jug now and if there was a shot that you can remember that says this is going to be the shot of the tournament.

CAMERON SMITH: It’s obviously nice that it’s all done now. I sometimes think that being behind on certain golf courses and in certain situations is maybe a good thing. I think it’s very easy to get defensive out there and keep hitting it to 60, 70 feet, and you can make pars all day, but you’re not going to make birdies.

Yeah, I think it was a good thing that I was definitely behind. I think my mindset would have been a touch different coming in, especially on that back nine, if I was ahead.

I think my shot into — my second shot into 13 was really when I thought that we can win this thing. I think I had three birdies in a row before that, and then to hit that shot in there, or the two shots, the drive and the second shot, were two of the best all week. For that to go in, I think, that was it for me.

Q. Cameron, congratulations. Brilliant today. Just wondered if you could talk us through the loved ones you got here today. Also, is the lucky mullet here to stay?

CAMERON SMITH: Actually, I don’t have any family here. I’ve got all my team here. My dad was actually meant to come over, and he pulled out in the last minute basically. I had a quick chat with him before. He’s kicking himself now (laughter).

Q. Why didn’t he come? Sorry, your dad. Why wasn’t he able to?

CAMERON SMITH: Just kind of the thought of doing all that travel for one week basically.

(Laughter).

Yeah, he’s definitely kicking himself now. I really wish he was here too. It would have been such a cool week, even without this, to be at the home of golf. Dad loves his golf as well. It would have been awesome.

Q. Have you had a message from him yet at all?

CAMERON SMITH: I haven’t looked at my phone yet. When you win golf tournaments, you have friends that you didn’t even know were friends. So I’m sure it’s going to be busy.

(Laughter).

Q. And the mullet?

CAMERON SMITH: I think it’s going to stay, mate.

Q. Golf’s such a mental game. Talk a bit about maybe the mental progress you’ve had to make to get to this stage where you’ve been able to win a major. You’ve been so close.

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, I think — I don’t think I’ve changed a lot mentally. I think sometimes you get away from what you’re doing, and I think it’s just a thing of just getting back to what you know and what you know works.

I’ve definitely been on that track a few times in my career. But I think it’s just honestly belief. THE PLAYERS at the start of the year, with the best field in golf, to go away with the win was a really big confidence booster. I knew it wasn’t going to be too long before I got one of these. I’ve knocked on the door, I think, maybe one too many times now. So it’s nice to get it done.

Q. A few Aussies here, mate. Congratulations to you. You said outside a few beers tonight and fill the cup. Have you estimated how many beers it’s going to take in there to drink it up?

CAMERON SMITH: I’m going to guess two, two cans of beer.

Q. And how many more will you have after that?

CAMERON SMITH: I’ll probably have about 20 Claret Jugs.

(Laughter).

I’m not sure, mate. To be honest, I’m really tired. It’s been a long week, so I’d be surprised if I make it past 10:00 or 11:00 tonight.

Q. If you need me to drive you, I can do that.

Q. Cam, can you take us through what you told yourself last night and this morning just to get yourself ready for the final round?

CAMERON SMITH: Again, not much, to be honest. I knew my game was there. I felt really comfortable. At the end of last week, I started playing some really good golf. Yeah, I just really needed to keep doing what I was doing. I didn’t do anything wrong yesterday. It was just really one of those days.

So I shrugged it off pretty good, hit a few putts. I just wanted to see a few putts go in. I didn’t think there was really anything wrong technically. I just wanted to see a few putts go in before I went to sleep, and that kind of put me at ease to know that it really wasn’t me, it was just kind of one of those days.

Yeah, I think that was the best thing I did all week was just to go out there and spend five minutes on the green. Yeah, that was it basically.

Q. Cam, apologies for having to bring this up in these circumstances, but your name continues to be mentioned, has been mentioned to me this week about LIV golf. What’s your position? Are you interested? Is there any truth to suggestions that you might be signing?

CAMERON SMITH: I just won the British Open, and you’re asking about that. I think that’s pretty not that good.

Q. I appreciate that, but the question is still there. Are you interested at all? Is there any truth in that?

CAMERON SMITH: I don’t know, mate. My team around me worries about all that stuff. I’m here to win golf tournaments.

Q. Did you have spaghetti bolognese last night? How did you sleep? And how was the process?

CAMERON SMITH: What was that?

Q. Did you have spaghetti bolognese? Because I know that’s what you like.

CAMERON SMITH: That’s what I like to make at home. I just had a quick meal here in the clubhouse. I think I had some chicken and veggies or something and went straight back to sleep. I was pretty tired after yesterday’s round. We teed off so late yesterday as well. So I was just keen to get back and get the eyes shut.

Q. You talked a little bit already about your day yesterday. Missing another chance on 9 and then you run off five in a row. I’m just curious if there was ever anything that clicked, if the hole, at what point started looking a little bit bigger than it was. And was there one kind of key moment for you there?

CAMERON SMITH: I felt as though I hit really good putts all day. I really didn’t have a lot of close opportunities, I think, on the front nine. I just kind of stuck in there, kept hitting really good lag putts.

For me, the putt on 11 was a pretty good distance, probably 20 feet. When that one dropped, yeah, I could see the hole getting a lot bigger on that back nine for sure.

Q. What club did you hit on 11?

CAMERON SMITH: 9-iron.

Q. I wonder, could you give us a word, please, on Rory McIlroy? He was leading today. He was the British guy, would have been extra special for him to win here at St Andrews. He had the Tiger Woods thing, that you just basically ruined his weekend for him. Just want you to give us a word on Rory.

CAMERON SMITH: He’s obviously a great player. He’s one of those guys that you can’t help but stop when he’s hitting balls on the range, and he just keeps knocking on doors every week, it seems like. He’s probably the most consistent player out here.

Yeah, he’s going to get a major, I’m sure, very soon. He’s just really solid. For me, I’ve played with Rory a few times, and there’s really nothing that you can fault.

Q. Did he speak to you afterwards? Have you had a chance?

CAMERON SMITH: No, I haven’t had a chance to speak to him, no.

Q. Obviously 150 years, there have only been four Australians that have won that trophy. Do you pinch yourself to think you’re joining the likes of Peter Thomson, Greg Norman, Kel Nagle and Ian Baker-Finch?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, that’s pretty cool. I think just in general, all the names on there, every player that’s been at the top of their game has won this championship. Yeah, it’s pretty cool to be on there. It really hasn’t sunk in yet. I don’t think it will for a few weeks. Yeah, it’s just unreal.

Q. Cam, on Wednesday you said you didn’t want to jinx yourself but you’re feeling really good. So you didn’t jinx yourself. Just how good were you feeling pre-tournament?

CAMERON SMITH: I started to feel really good with where my game was at last weekend at the Scottish Open. I had a really, really solid weekend. I just felt really good about my game. I’d played this golf course before, but it had been a while. It was almost like relearning the place.

I love this type of golf. I think this type of golf suits a lot of Aussies, the firm and fast fairways. Having to hit away from pins, I think, is another one, where Aussies are brought up doing that. Yeah, I just felt really good with where my game was at and how the course was set up.

Q. When you feel good like that, do you actually think you can win it or just envision yourself contending?

CAMERON SMITH: I think what you’re trying to do at the start of the week is just get yourself in contention, just kind of let the tournament, let the golf course come to you. And I did a really good job of staying patient this week.

The first couple of days were really nice to hole a lot of putts, but yeah, got a little bit impatient, I guess, yesterday and a little bit frustrated. Just did a really good job of that again today.

Q. Cam, in hindsight now, how crucial was that holing it to get it up to 14 through 18 yesterday afternoon?

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, it was a bit of a struggle yesterday afternoon, I think. To come in there — I think I probably played those last few holes maybe even-par or 1-under. So to do that and really keep myself in the tournament, I think, was good, especially when things aren’t really going your way. It’s easy to just kind of throw the towel in and really let it get away with you. Yeah, just stuck in there, and it was worth it today.

Q. For people who don’t follow golf closely, can you describe the differences and similarities between TPC Sawgrass and The Old Course?

CAMERON SMITH: No, I can’t, to be honest. There’s not a lot of similarities, to be honest. I think they’re two really different golf courses.

I think when Sawgrass plays firm and fast, it can be similar in some aspects. But two really different golf courses. I think you have to be two completely different golfers to contend at both of those golf courses.

Q. So what does that say about your golf game, the fact that you won on two very different golf courses?

CAMERON SMITH: I think that’s just where I’m at at the moment. My game feels really good. I felt like, towards the end of last year, I had a lot of chances and really didn’t get over the line. I think that made me more eager, I guess, at the start of the year to really knuckle down and try and get over the line.

For it to happen three times this year is pretty unreal. I really wasn’t expecting that. I would have been happy with one. So, yeah, just lots of hard work and keeping at it.

Q. Cam, just given the astonishment that everyone has about your putting, can you just give us an idea as to how much you have to work hard and what kind of process goes into your putting practise and doing things?

CAMERON SMITH: I definitely keep on top of it. I think, for me luckily, putting comes quite naturally. For me it’s just about getting back to the same setup position, basically.

I practise with a mirror for probably 20 minutes a day, and to be honest, that’s about it. I don’t really hit a lot of long putts at home. I try and focus probably 10 to 15 foot and in and just seeing those putts drop. When I get out here at the start of the week, I start hitting some more lag putts and just getting the speed right.

Q. Watching that back nine, it felt incredibly tense. Can you just try and explain how you felt at various points? Because obviously you made it look quite easy out there.

CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, it was pretty tense. I think maybe after my second or third birdie there on the back nine, I was starting to think that I could really win this thing. I think I was three back with nine holes to go, and I really needed to make something happen.

But, yeah, I would say those first three holes on that back nine really came to me, and then from there I was starting to get different emotions and really had to keep an eye on what I was thinking and just different shots into greens.

MIKE WOODCOCK: Cam, thank you very much. Congratulations again. It’s a wonderful performance.

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Farewell from St. Andrews? Crying Woods gets standing ovation

The sporting outcome was to be expected after the first round of the British Open 2022. Tiger Woods fails to make the cut. But he had probably not expected the elemental force with which he was met by the love of the fans as he walked down the final fairway. Riotous cheers from the tee to the green. Standing ovations on the grandstand at the last hole. Even the 46-year-old, who won the British Open here in 2000 and 2005, had to shed a few tears.

“And I don’t know if I’ll be physically able to play another British Open here at St Andrews”. The next Open on the Old Course at St. Andrews is not scheduled for another eight years, in 2030, due to the chaos caused by the Corona pandemic. It’s actually the “Home of Golf’s” turn to host golf’s oldest major tournament every five years.

Tiger Woods: “You could feel the warmth”

That might be too long for Woods, who remains very limited in his walking. And so the walk down the final fairway amounted to a farewell tour. Everyone present seemed aware of the significance of the moment. And even though Woods still talks about wanting to continue working hard to play tournaments, it’s quite possible that this could never again be the case on his self-declared favorite course.

The closer he got to the 18 green, Woods explained, the more emotional it became. He said he saw Rory McIlroy, who had just started on one, coming toward him. “As I walked further along the fairway, I saw Rory right there. He gave me the tip of the cap. It was a pretty cool — the nods I was getting from guys as they were going out and I was coming in, just the respect, that was pretty neat. And from a players’ fraternity level, it’s neat to see that and feel that. And then as I got into the shot — or closer to the green, more into the hole, the ovation got louder and got — you could feel the warmth and you could feel the people from both sides. Felt like the whole tournament was right there.”

And it felt like a very special moment for the spectators, too. Something big was in the air, a big goodbye. At the very least, a big uncertainty. Tiger was probably not the only one who had “a few tears” in his eyes. But Woods made one thing clear right away during the subsequent media talk: “I’m not retiring from the game. I will continue to play British Opens in the future.”

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British Open 2022 – Tiger Woods: “Have to shoot a 66 tomorrow”.

Q. Overall thoughts?

TIGER WOODS: Well, probably highest score as I could have shot. Didn’t get off to a great start. Hit a good tee shot down 1, ended up right in the middle of a fresh divot. And I hit a good shot. Wind gusts hit it and ended up in the burn, and start off with a W.

So I think I had maybe four or five 3-putts today. Just wasn’t very good on the greens. And every putt I left short. I struggled with hitting the putts hard enough. They looked faster than what they were putting, and I struggled with it.

Q. Obviously you can’t dismiss the physical issues you faced, but was today less about that than at any time in the golf you’ve played?

TIGER WOODS: My other two events I played this year? Yeah, it was a lot easier today, physically, than it has been the other two events, for sure.

Q. How fast — have you ever seen anything quite like this, this firm?

TIGER WOODS: We played Liverpool like that. But it was just different. Liverpool doesn’t have the amount of slopes that St Andrews has. The fairways are flatter. So the ball obviously, you have more control on the ground. Here you really don’t have as much control. They were quick.

The greens were very firm but slow. And it’s an interesting combo. And we weren’t exactly speed demons out there either. The whole round took a long time, and we were getting waved up. And it was a long, slow day.

Q. So unlucky to have that first shot going into a divot. Do you feel good luck and bad luck balance over time?

TIGER WOODS: Over the course of a career or a round? (Laughter). Yes. Yeah, over the course of a career, yes. But in a round sometimes it just goes that way. It just goes one way and it never seems to come back. No matter how hard you fight. And then I compounded problems, as I said, with my bad speed on the greens. I hit the ball in the correct spots a couple times, leave myself some good lag putts, the correct angles and I messed those up.

And so when I had opportunities to make a few putts, I missed them, and as I said I compounded with some bad lag putts. And just never got anything going.

Q. What was the most disappointing aspect of today?

TIGER WOODS: I think just the total score. It feels like I didn’t really hit it that bad. Yes, I did have bad speed on the greens, yes. But I didn’t really feel like I hit it that bad but I ended up in bad spots. Or just had some weird things happen. And just the way it goes. Links is like that. And this golf course is like that. And as I said, I had my chances to turn it around and get it rolling the right way and I didn’t do it.

Q. Despite the way you played, were you heartened by the crowd, the way they reacted?

TIGER WOODS: They were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. So supportive. Obviously they’re not going to be quite as loud because you don’t hear them in the middle of the golf course. They’re only on the perimeter. But just the support coming off each tee and each green, when they were in proximity. Most of the tees they were, yes; but some of the greens they weren’t. But when the greens that they were, they were very respectful and very appreciative of all of us out there today, which was great.

Q. How meaningful was it to have your return here at St Andrews and play here again?

TIGER WOODS: Very, very meaningful. All things considered, where I’ve been, I was hoping I could play this event this year. Looking at it at the beginning of the year, end of last year when I was rehabbing, trying to see if I could do it, but somehow I was able to play two of the major championships in between then and now, which was great. But this was always on the calendar to hopefully be well enough to play it. And I am. And just didn’t do a very good job of it.

Q. When you were on the first hole, this moment came, you were here, you were able to overcome. Was there a moment that you took a step back and said to yourself, I did this, I’ve accomplished this?

TIGER WOODS: No. No, I looked at that bush down there. I said hit that 3-iron right at that bush, hit a flat draw. And I did. I hit a perfect shot. I get down there I’m right in the middle of a fresh divot. Well, either just, one, don’t hit it flat and don’t blade it. I didn’t do either. But I still hit it in the burn.

Q. Tomorrow, are you going to bounce back?

TIGER WOODS: Looks like I’m going to have to shoot 66 tomorrow to have a chance. So obviously it has been done. Guys did it today. And that’s my responsibility tomorrow is to go ahead and do it. Need to do it.

Q. Did you have the same putting issues in practise, or did the greens maybe change?

TIGER WOODS: I still have the same thing. I still struggle with hitting the putts hard enough. Just because they look faster, and especially when you consider actually the fairways are faster than the greens, it’s just a different dynamic than we were accustomed to.

Pitch shots around the greens, you allow for more speed and then for them to slow up on the greens, which is the exact opposite of what we would normally play.

But I’ve played British Opens where they’ve been like that. And it’s up to me to make those adjustments and I didn’t do it.

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British Open 2022: Rory McIlroy hits a piece of history

Rory McIlroy is playing big in the first round of the British Open, but a shot from the Northern Irishman caused puzzled looks from the spectators. On the fifth hole of the St. Andrews Old Course, McIlroy teed off with the driver and managed a picture-perfect trajectory. After a scant 260 meters, his ball tithed up twice and ultimately hit a green plastic bucket in the middle of the fairway. This bucket, however, is not what is unusual, but what is hidden underneath.

What are the odds on that?🫣#The150thOpen pic.twitter.com/b61kS8Iq2M

— The Open (@TheOpen) July 14, 2022

What Tom Morris has to do with the green buckets.

The covers are scattered throughout the Old Course and cover the old boundary stones of the original golf course at St. Andrews. The covers are intended to protect these contemporary witnesses from the harsh Scottish weather. But the covers also provide protection when it comes to golf’s long hitters.

If you take a closer look at the stones, some of which are heavily weathered, you will find a “G” on one side and a “C” on the other. The letters indicate the former boundary of the course, with “G” standing for Golf Club and the “C” for Common Ground. True, the stones have been obsolete since Old Tom Morris expanded the course to 18 holes in the 1800s. However, the historical significance of the small hazards means that they are still valued in the overall appearance of the course today.

And Rory McIlroy is not the only player who has already been bothered by the unusual obstacles in the middle of the fairways. A boundary stone also awaits golfers on the 7th hole, as well as scattered throughout the golf club’s grounds. A legendary story about the stones occurred in 2010 during the British Open. There Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson all played unerringly on the stone of the 5th hole. And even as an immovable obstacle, the stones come into play more often when a player plays just off or in front of it. As happened to Victor Hovland just one flight ahead of McIlroy.

In the end, McIlroy still managed a great score despite the hit and the resulting much shorter tee shot. He placed the second shot safely and left the 5th hole with a birdie.

The stone that Rory just bounced off is one of the March Stones on the Old Course. They mark the original boundary of the course. There’s a “G” on one side of each of them. If you saw the G, you’re standing on the golf course side of the boundary. pic.twitter.com/dW9GP6Q3qU — Sean Zak (@Sean_Zak) July 14, 2022

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British Open Golf – Decisions in play-off

In the 100-year history of the British Open, only 21 tournaments have been decided in a playoff. While the winner was decided over 36 holes at the beginning, the organizers shortened the playoff to 18 holes in 1970. The last rule change was in 1989, and since then a playoff has been played over four holes.

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Decisions in playoffs – the 2000s

The last playoff took place in 2015, when Zach Johnson defeated his two competitors, South African Louis Oosthuizen and Australian Marc Leishman. Indeed, while Johnson needed a total of 15 strokes (3-3-5-4), Oosthuizen needed 16 (3-4-5-4) and Leishman 18 (5-4-5-4). The deciding factor was Johnson’s birdie on the second extra hole, while Leishman put himself out of the game on the first hole.

Before that, Stewart Cink beat Tom Watson in 2009 by 14 strokes (4-3-4-3), while Watson needed a total of 20 strokes (5-3-7-5) for the four extra holes. In the process, Watson, who was competing in the Open for the first time in 34 years, nearly won the tournament. With a victory, he would have become the oldest winner at the British Open at the age of 59. But his nerves must have let him down. He played a bogey on the 72nd hole, which earned him a playoff against Cink.

Two years earlier, in 2007, Padraig Harrington won with some luck against Sergio Garcia. Harrington had been trailing Garcia by six strokes at the start of the final round. He then took the lead, but played a double bogey on the last hole. Garcia, however, also muffed his putt for the win. In the playoff, Harrington narrowly edged Garcia (16 — 5-3-4-4) by 15 strokes (3-3-4-5).

In 2004, Ernie Els (16 — 4-4-4-4-) lost to Todd Hamilton (15 — 4-4-3-4) in a playoff. Both had previously missed their winning putt on the last hole.

Already two years before, in 2002, Ernie Els had gone into the playoff. Here, however, he prevailed against three other competitors. With 16 strokes (4-3-5-4), he was initially tied with Thomas Levet (4-3-5-4). While Stuart Appleby and Steve Elkington lost out, the two played another extra hole in sudden-death mode. Els edged Levet by four strokes.

The nineties

In 1999, three players went into a playoff for the title. Jean van de Velde actually held a comfortable lead of three strokes at the last hole. But a triple bogey forced him into a playoff against Paul Lawrie and Justin Leonard. After three extra holes Lawrie led by one stroke, another bogey on the fourth hole then made his victory perfect (5-4-3-3). It was the biggest comeback in PGA Tour history. At the start of the final day, Lawrie was still ten shots off the lead.

Marc O’Meara clearly beat Brian Watts (5-4-5-5) by two strokes the year before (4-4-5-4).

Costantino Rocca forced a play-off against John Daly with a spectacular putt in 1995. After he missed a chip on the last hole, he putted through the “Valley of Sin” on the Old Course. The ball rolled over the undulating green, conquered the slope up to the hole and actually fell into the hole. However, Rocca then played a seven (5-4-7-3) on the third playoff hole. This cleared the way for John Daly to win his second major (3-4-4-4).

The Eighties

In 1989, for the first time, only four holes were played in a playoff. Greg Norman erased his seven-stroke deficit with a 64 in the final round. Then he had to wait to see if anyone caught up with him. Mark Calcavecchia and Wayne Grady managed to do so. It was off to the playoff. Greg Norman missed the win on the last extra hole. He played his drive into a bunker, from there into another bunker. After putting his third shot out of bounds behind the green, he picked up the ball (3-3-4-x). Calcavecchia then eventually edged Grady (4-4-4-4 — 16) by three strokes (4-3-3 — 13).

The sixties and seventies

In the final 18-hole playoff, Tom Watson won over Jack Newton in 1975. Watson earned his first of five British Open victories with a 71.

In 1970, Doug Sanders was supposed to win the tournament. But on the last hole, his calf-biting putt missed the target. Jack Nicklaus led by one stroke on the last extra hole and claimed victory.

In 1963, the first left-hander won the British Open. Bob Charles won the final playoff, which was played over 36 holes (69/71) against Phil Rodgers (72/76).

The fifties and forties

Peter Thomson won the British Open for the fourth time in 1958. With a round of 68 and a 71, he edged out Dave Thomas (69/74). It was the fourth of his five British Open successes.

Bobby Locke won the play-off for himself with an emphatic victory in 1949 (67/68). Harry Bradshaw played a 74 and 73.

The thirties, twenties and tens

In 1933, Craig Wood (78/76) lost the first of four playoffs at his majors. Denny Shute defeated him with 75 and 74.

The amateur Roger Wethered didn’t really feel like playing the playoff in 1921. Actually, he was supposed to play in one of his team’s cricket matches. He was persuaded to play, but lost to Jock Hutchison (74/76). Wethered got a penalty, among other things, for stepping on his ball (77/82).

In 1911, the playoff ended after just 34 holes. Arnaud Massy gave up and so Harry Vardon could also break the playoff and won.

The 19th century

Harry Vardon prevented the third consecutive victory of J.H. Taylor (161) with his first win in 1896. He shot 157 to win the first of his six British Open titles.

In 1889, the tournament was held on the nine-hole Musselburgh Links. The play-off therefore went over 36 holes. Willie Park Jr. won by 158 strokes over Andrew Kirkaldy (163).

Bob Ferguson lost his fourth Open title to Willie Fernie in 1883 with a bogey on the par-3 hole.

The first playoff at the British Open took place in 1876. Although it could hardly be called a playoff. David Strath refused to play the playoff. Therefore, Bob Martin only had to walk once from the first hole to the last to be declared the winner.

David Strath refused to play because he disagreed with a decision made by the R&A on the 17th hole in the final round. In fact, the decided to postpone the final decision until after the playoff. If a decision was made against Strath, he would have had to be disqualified. Strath found that nonsensical and simply did not compete.

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Historic British Open – The most important events

1860 — Prestwick

Twelve holes are played to determine Allan Robertson’s successor as Scotland’s best golfer. Willie Park wins the championship belt, local hero and course architect Old Tom Morris comes a mere second. The Open Championship is born.

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1870 — Prestwick

Young Tom Morris wins for the third time in a row and gets to keep the belt. On his fourth success in 1872, he goes home without a trophy because the Claret Jug is not yet ready. The year before, the Open was even cancelled altogether for lack of a trophy.

1873 — St. Andrews

Tom Kidd wins the first Open at St. Andrews, held for the first time on an 18-hole course. The Scot is the first to hold the new trophy, but the first name on the base of the Claret Jug is that of the 1872 winner Tom Morris Jr.

1892 — Muirfield

The Open is played over 72 holes (four rounds) for the first time.

1902 — Royal Liverpool

Sandy Herd has the new Haskell ball wrapped around a core sent from the U.S. and beats the established “gutty” guard.

1904 — Royal St. Georges

The Open is held over three days for the next 62 years, with a 36-hole final at the end. J. H. Taylor plays the first round of 68 in golf history on 18 holes.

1909 — Royal Cinque Ports

Business arrives in the form of an exhibition area, with manufacturers and dealers advertising their golf products in tents.

1914 — Prestwick

The great Harry Vardon wins the Open for the sixth time at age 44, making him a record winner.

1922 — Royal St. Georges

Reporters race to nearby Sandwich to radio a sensation to the U.S.: at last, Walter Hagen, the first native-born American, has triumphed.

1924 — Royal Liverpool

Said Hagen, always up for a show, notices a public address by the Lord Mayor as he leaves his hotel in Liverpool. Uninvited, he climbs to the dignitary’s podium to wave to the crowd and be celebrated.

1926 — Royal Lytham & St Annes

For the first time, spectators must pay admission. Ticket-holders watch Bobby Jones’ success, which he sets up with a sensational mashie niblick (8-9 iron) from the fairway bunker over 155 yards of gorse and rough to the green in the final round at 17.

1927 — St. Andrews

Because there was money left over from the previous year, admission is free! Bobby Jones is carried on shoulders from the 18th green by the enthusiastic crowd after his second of three Open triumphs (1930, Grand Slam).

1935 — Muirfield

Coincidences abound: While tennis ace Fred Perry wins Wimbledon, Alf Perry (no relation, nor in-law) wins his only major golf tournament against Hagen and Co.

1950 — Royal Troon

The first German makes a name for himself: Hermann Tissies needs 15 strokes at the 115-yard famous “Postage Stamp” eight. In 1973, 71-year-old Gene Sarazen plays an ace on the par-3, and the next day the inventor of the sand wedge holes out of the bunker for birdie.

1951 — Royal Portrush

The only Open outside England and Scotland is broadcast by the BBC on the radio. Winner Max Faulkner with his penchant for colorful clothing may be considered a predecessor of Fowler, Daly and Co.

1953 — Carnoustie

America’s “Ice Man” Ben Hogan travels across the pond for his only Open Championship and promptly wins the third major title of the season in Carnoustie, thus achieving the “Triple Crown of Golf,” which is still unrivaled today. Only Tiger Woods has ever won three majors in a row, when he won the US Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship in 2000.

1955 — St. Andrews

In the second of his five victories, Australian Peter Thomson is shown live on television.

1966 — Muirfield

The Open is now held Wednesday through Saturday. Jack Nicklaus makes it a career Grand Slam with his first victory, something only Gene Sarazen (1935), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1965) and Tiger Woods (2000) have achieved besides him.

1969 — Royal Lytham & St Annes

After 17 victories by overseas golfers, Englishman Tony Jacklin restores British Open honors as “Champion Golfer of the Year.”
restores British Open honor.

1975 — Carnoustie

Tom Watson wins the first of his five British Opens in a playoff. In 1977, he engages in the legendary “Duel in the Sun” with Nicklaus at Turnberry. Watson plays the weekend in 65-65, Nicklaus in 65-66.

1978 — St. Andrews

Jack Nicklaus wins his third Open Championship and at the same time completes the career Grand Slam, winning all four majors, for the third time.

1980 — Muirfield

The British Open will now be held from Thursday through Sunday. Seven years after that, at the same location, Nick Faldo is immortalized for 18 pars in the final round on the Claret Jug. Sir Nick also keeps the engraver busy in 1990 and ’92.

1995 — St. Andrews

While John Daly drives the ball onto the green with a terrific shot from the Road Hole bunker on the final round, laying the foundation for his victory, the dreaded sand pit on the 17th green finally brings playoff defeat to his opponent in the playoff, Costantino Rocca. The Italian needs three strokes to break free, but has already written golf history with his 18-meter putt on the 18th green and the subsequent “jubilant ecstasy”.

1999 — Carnoustie

Jean van de Velde makes THE black-out in Open history: Around the Barry Burn on the 18th hole, the Frenchman “gambles away” a three-stroke lead and loses in a play-off against Paul Lawrie. The R&A engraver had already stamped Van de Velde’s name on the Claret Jug.

2000 — St. Andrews

With consistent iron play and without once lying in one of the 112 bunkers, Tiger Woods sets a new scoring record at the Millennium Open (-19) and at the same time makes his career Grand Slam perfect.

2009 — Turnberry

At the scene of the “Duel in the Sun” of 1977, 59-year-old Tom Watson could once again equal Harry Vardon and loses the sixth Open only in a play-off against Stewart Cink.

2010 — St. Andrews

At the 150th anniversary of the Open Championship, the winner is Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa). Rory McIlroy shoots an opening 63 in ideal conditions, prompting the R&A grandees to frantically consider structural changes to make the Old Course more difficult for 2015.

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British Open – “Claret Jug” Victory Award

The trophy that rewards the winner of the British Open Championship is officially known as the “Championship Trophy”, but it is commonly referred to as the “Claret Jug”; it is a Bordeaux decanter. “Claret” is the English name for a dry red wine produced in the famous French wine-growing region of Bordeaux. The British Open trophy is modeled after a silver wine jug in which claret was served in the 19th century.

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Before the Claret Jug there was the Championship belt

But the winner of the British Open did not get the Claret Jug from time immemorial. The first winners were awarded with a championship belt. The first British Open was held in 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club. The first belt was also awarded in that year.

The belt was made of wide, red morocco leather and was trimmed with silver buckles and decorations. This trophy would possibly still be today’s British Open award had it not been for the special achievement of Young Tom Morris: Prestwick Golf Club hosted the first eleven British Opens. Each year the championship belt changed hands as a challenge cup. But Prestwick’s rules stated that the belt would become the property of the golfer who won the British Open three times in a row. Young Tom Morris achieved this feat in 1872, winning in 1868, 1869 and 1870. So he could take home the Championship belt after his third win in 1870.

The British Open briefly had no victory award

Suddenly the British Open had no trophy and Prestwick did not have the funds to commission its own. So club members came up with the idea of sharing a trophy with the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews and the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. Prestwick suggested that the three clubs could take turns hosting the British Open and all contribute something to the new trophy.

While the clubs deliberated, no British Open was held in 1871. Eventually they pooled money for a new trophy.

Tom Kidd 1873 first winner of the Claret Jug

When Young Tom Morris won the British Open again, the trophy had not yet been completed. So in 1873, Tom Kidd was the first British Open winner to win the Claret Jug.

This original trophy has been on display in the clubhouse of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews since 1927, along with the Championship belt (donated by the Morris family in 1908). The trophy currently in circulation is a copy of the original and was first presented to the 1928 winner, Walter Hagen. Each winner is allowed to keep this trophy for one year after his victory, must return it to the next British Open and then receives a replica of the traveling trophy for his own use.