Jordan Spieth is the reigning 2017 British Open Championship winner, and he's within striking distance of 36-hole leader at Carnoustie Golf Club in Scotland.
While Spieth may be in a great position to successfully defend his title and win back-to-back British Open Claret Jug trophies, the Texas product is battling history in a quest to win consecutive US Open titles.
The last player to win back-to-back British Open titles is Padraig Harrington. The Irishman became just the second Irish winner of the Claret Jug in 2007, when he defeated Sergio Garcia in a four-hole, aggregate-score playoff at Carnoustie. A year later at Royal Birkdale, Harrington survived tremendously windy conditions in the final round to hold off Ian Poulter for his second major title.
Before Harrington won consecutive British Opens, the last player to do it was Tiger Woods, who curiously enough won the British Open Championship in 2005 at St. Andrews and again a year later in 2006 at Royal Liverpool, when it was welcomed back to the Open Rota after a 40-year absence.
There are only four players in the history of the British Open Championship to have won it at least three times in a row, with the only one in the 20th century and beyond being Peter Thomson, who won the Claret Jug in 1954, 1955 and 1956. In the 19th century, three players won at least three times in a row, with Young Tom Morris winning four consecutive Opens (a record), as well Jamie Anderson and Bob Ferguson winning three in a row right next to each other from 1877-1882.
Other back-to-back British Open Championship winners:
- 2007 and 2008 -- Padraig Harrington
- 2005 and 2006 -- Tiger Woods
- 1982 and 1983 -- Tom Watson
- 1971 and 1972 -- Lee Trevino
- 1961 and 1962 -- Arnold Palmer
- 1954, 1955 and 1956 -- Peter Thomson
- 1949 and 1950 -- Bobby Locke
- 1928 and 1929 -- Walter Hagan
- 1926 and 1927 -- Bobby Jones (a)
- 1905 and 1906 -- James Braid
- 1898 and 1899 -- Harry Vardon
- 1894 and 1895 -- John Henry Taylor
- 1880, 1881 and 1882 -- Bob Ferguson
- 1877, 1878 and 1879 -- Jamie Anderson
- 1868, 1869, 1870 and 1872 (no event in 1871) -- Young Tom Morris
- 1861 and 1862 -- Old Tom Morris