British Open Championship history, results and past winners
Open Championship PGA Tour PGA Tour History

British Open Championship history, results and past winners

Credit: Getty Images
FOLLOW: iHEART | TUNEIN


The British Open Championship is the PGA Tour's fourth major championship on the schedule, with the event having been conducted by the R&A since it was founded in 1860.

The event, which is the oldest and most storied in the history of golf, is considered one of the biggest tournaments in golf. Since it began, the event has been considered a major on the PGA Tour schedule, and all champions are considered major winners in PGA Tour history.

Hardon Vardon has the tournament record for wins with six. Tom Watson and Peter Thomson won five in the modern era, while James Braid and John Henry Taylor did as well. Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo won three each.

The British Open Championship has seen an increase in prestige in recent years, with the R&A moving the event to a battery of venues that form a rotation.

British Open Championship format

The British Open Championship is played over four days, and there is a cut for the qualifying field.

The field, which is 156 players, is reduced to the top 70 players and ties for the final two rounds of the event. At the end of the 72-hole event, the lowest score wins. In the event of a 72-hole tie, a three-hole, aggregate-score playoff is conducted to determine a winner.

From 1860-1891, the event was 36 holes, keeping in tradition of playing on the 12-hole course at Prestick. It has since been a 72-hole affair. Players were not measured against course par until 1937.

Most frequent British Open Championship hosts

  1. St Andrews: 30
  2. Prestwick: 24
  3. Muirfield: 16
  4. Royal St George's: 15
  5. Royal Liverpool: 12
  6. Royal Lytham & St Annes: 11
  7. Royal Birkdale: 10
  8. Royal Troon: 9
  9. Carnoustie: 8
  10. Musselburgh: 6
  11. Turnberry: 4
  12. Royal Cinque Ports: 2
  13. Royal Portrush: 2
  14. Prince's: 1

The championship was not played from 1915-19 during World War I and 1940-45 during World War II. It wasn't played in 1871 because no trophy was available after Young Tom Morris has been awarded the championship belt for winning three in a row. The tournament was played in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

British Open Championship past sponsors

British Open Championship has had a singular name over the years:

  • 1860-present: British Open Championship

British Open Championship history & results

YEAR WINNER TOT TO PAR BY MONEY HOST
2022 Cameron Smith 268 −20 1 $2,500,000 St Andrews
2021 Collin Morikawa 265 −15 2 $2,070,000 Royal St George's
2020 Not Played N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2019 Shane Lowry 269 −15 6 $1,935,000 Royal Portrush
2018 Francesco Molinari 276 −8 2 $1,890,000 Carnoustie
2017 Jordan Spieth 268 −12 3 $1,845,000 Royal Birkdale
2016 Henrik Stenson 264 −20 3 $1,175,000 Royal Troon
2015 Zach Johnson 273 −15 PO $1,150,000 St Andrews
2014 Rory McIlroy 271 −17 2 $975,000 Royal Liverpool
2013 Phil Mickelson 281 −3 3 $945,000 Muirfield
2012 Ernie Els (2) 273 −7 1 $900,000 Royal Lytham & St Annes
2011 Darren Clarke 275 −5 3 $900,000 Royal St George's
2010 Louis Oosthuizen 272 −16 7 $850,000 St Andrews
2009 Stewart Cink 278 −2 PO $750,000 Turnberry
2008 Pádraig Harrington (2) 283 3 4 $750,000 Royal Birkdale
2007 Pádraig Harrington 277 −7 PO $750,000 Carnoustie
2006 Tiger Woods (3) 270 −18 2 $720,000 Royal Liverpool
2005 Tiger Woods (2) 274 −14 5 $720,000 St Andrews
2004 Todd Hamilton 274 −10 PO $720,000 Royal Troon
2003 Ben Curtis 283 −1 1 $700,000 Royal St George's
2002 Ernie Els 278 −6 PO $700,000 Muirfield
2001 David Duval 274 −10 3 $600,000 Royal Lytham & St Annes
2000 Tiger Woods 269 −19 8 $500,000 St Andrews
1999 Paul Lawrie 290 6 PO $350,000 Carnoustie
1998 Mark O'Meara 280 E PO $300,000 Royal Birkdale
1997 Justin Leonard 272 −12 3 $250,000 Royal Troon
1996 Tom Lehman 271 −13 2 $200,000 Royal Lytham & St Annes
1995 John Daly 282 −6 PO $125,000 St Andrews
1994 Nick Price 268 −12 1 $110,000 Turnberry
1993 Greg Norman (2) 267 −13 2 $100,000 Royal St George's
1992 Nick Faldo (3) 272 −12 1 $95,000 Muirfield
1991 Ian Baker-Finch 272 −8 2 $90,000 Royal Birkdale
1990 Nick Faldo (2) 270 −18 5 $85,000 St Andrews
1989 Mark Calcavecchia 275 −13 PO $80,000 Royal Troon
1988 Seve Ballesteros (3) 273 −11 2 $80,000 Royal Lytham & St Annes
1987 Nick Faldo 279 −5 1 $75,000 Muirfield
1986 Greg Norman 280 E 5 $70,000 Turnberry
1985 Sandy Lyle 282 2 1 $65,000 Royal St George's
1984 Seve Ballesteros (2) 276 −12 2 $55,000 St Andrews
1983 Tom Watson (5) 275 −9 1 $40,000 Royal Birkdale
1982 Tom Watson (4) 284 −4 1 $32,000 Royal Troon
1981 Bill Rogers 276 −4 4 $25,000 Royal St George's
1980 Tom Watson (3) 271 −13 4 $25,000 Muirfield
1979 Seve Ballesteros 283 −1 3 $15,000 Royal Lytham & St Annes
1978 Jack Nicklaus (3) 281 −7 2 $12,500 St Andrews
1977 Tom Watson (2) 268 −12 1 $10,000 Turnberry
1976 Johnny Miller 279 −9 6 $7,500 Royal Birkdale
1975 Tom Watson 279 −9 PO $7,500 Carnoustie
1974 Gary Player (3) 282 −2 4 $5,500 Royal Lytham & St Annes
1973 Tom Weiskopf 276 −12 3 $5,500 Troon
1972 Lee Trevino (2) 278 −6 1 $5,500 Muirfield
1971 Lee Trevino 278 −14 1 $5,500 Royal Birkdale
1970 Jack Nicklaus (2) 283 −5 PO $5,250 St Andrews
1969 Tony Jacklin 280 −4 2 $4,250 Royal Lytham & St Annes
1968 Gary Player (2) 289 1 2 $3,000 Carnoustie
1967 Roberto De Vicenzo 278 −10 2 $2,100 Royal Liverpool
1966 Jack Nicklaus 282 −2 1 $2,100 Muirfield
1965 Peter Thomson (5) 285 −7 2 $1,750 Royal Birkdale
1964 Tony Lema 279 −9 5 $1,500 St Andrews
1963 Bob Charles 277 −3 PO $1,500 Royal Lytham & St Annes
1962 Arnold Palmer (2) 276 −12 6 $1,400 Troon
1961 Arnold Palmer 284 −4 1 $1,400 Royal Birkdale
1960 Kel Nagle 278 −10 1 $1,250 St Andrews
1959 Gary Player 284 −4 2 $1,000 Muirfield
1958 Peter Thomson (4) 278 −6 PO $1,000 Royal Lytham & St Annes
1957 Bobby Locke (4) 279 −9 3 $1,000 St Andrews
1956 Peter Thomson (3) 286 2 3 $1,000 Royal Liverpool
1955 Peter Thomson (2) 281 −7 2 $1,000 St Andrews
1954 Peter Thomson 283 −9 1 $750 Royal Birkdale
1953 Ben Hogan 282 −6 4 $500 Carnoustie
1952 Bobby Locke (3) 287 −1 1 $300 Royal Lytham & St Annes
1951 Max Faulkner 285 −3 2 $300 Royal Portrush
1950 Bobby Locke (2) 279 −1 2 $300 Troon
1949 Bobby Locke 283 −5 PO $300 Royal St George's
1948 Henry Cotton (3) 284 E 5 $150 Muirfield
1947 Fred Daly 293 21 1 $150 Royal Liverpool
1946 Sam Snead 290 −2 4 $150 St Andrews
1939 Dick Burton 290 −2 2 $100 St Andrews
1938 Reg Whitcombe 295 15 2 $100 Royal St George's
1937 Henry Cotton (2) 290 2 2 $100 Carnoustie
1936 Alf Padgham 287 N/A 1 $100 Royal Liverpool
1935 Alf Perry 283 N/A 4 $100 Muirfield
1934 Henry Cotton 283 N/A 5 $100 Royal St George's
1933 Denny Shute 292 N/A PO $100 St Andrews
1932 Gene Sarazen 283 N/A 5 $100 Prince's
1931 Tommy Armour[d] 296 N/A 1 $100 Carnoustie
1930 Bobby Jones (a) (3) 291 N/A 2 100[e] Royal Liverpool
1929 Walter Hagen (4) 292 N/A 6 $75 Muirfield
1928 Walter Hagen (3) 292 N/A 2 $75 Royal St George's
1927 Bobby Jones (a) (2) 285 N/A 6 75[e] St Andrews
1926 Bobby Jones (a) 291 N/A 2 75[e] Royal Lytham & St Annes
1925 Jim Barnes[g] 300 N/A 1 $75 Prestwick
1924 Walter Hagen (2) 301 N/A 1 $75 Royal Liverpool
1923 Arthur Havers 295 N/A 1 $75 Troon
1922 Walter Hagen 300 N/A 1 $75 Royal St George's
1921 Jock Hutchison[i] 296 N/A PO $75 St Andrews
1920 George Duncan 303 N/A 2 $75 Royal Cinque Ports
1914 Harry Vardon (6)[j] 306 N/A 3 $50 Prestwick
1913 John Henry Taylor (5) 304 N/A 8 $50 Royal Liverpool
1912 Ted Ray[h] 295 N/A 4 $50 Muirfield
1911 Harry Vardon (5)[j] 303 N/A PO $50 Royal St George's
1910 James Braid (5) 299 N/A 4 $50 St Andrews
1909 John Henry Taylor (4) 291 N/A 6 $50 Royal Cinque Ports
1908 James Braid (4) 291 N/A 8 $50 Prestwick
1907 Arnaud Massy 312 N/A 2 $50 Royal Liverpool
1906 James Braid (3) 300 N/A 4 $50 Muirfield
1905 James Braid (2) 318 N/A 5 $50 St Andrews
1904 Jack White 296 N/A 1 $50 Royal St George's
1903 Harry Vardon (4)[j] 300 N/A 6 $50 Prestwick
1902 Sandy Herd 307 N/A 1 $50 Royal Liverpool
1901 James Braid 309 N/A 3 $50 Muirfield
1900 John Henry Taylor (3) 309 N/A 8 $50 St Andrews
1899 Harry Vardon (3)[j] 310 N/A 5 $30 St George's
1898 Harry Vardon (2)[j] 307 N/A 1 $30 Prestwick
1897 Harold Hilton (a) (2) 314 N/A 1 30[e] Royal Liverpool
1896 Harry Vardon[j] 316 N/A PO $30 Muirfield
1895 John Henry Taylor (2) 322 N/A 4 $30 St Andrews
1894 John Henry Taylor 326 N/A 5 $30 St George's
1893 William Auchterlonie 322 N/A 2 $30 Prestwick
1892 Harold Hilton (a) 305 N/A 3 35[e] Muirfield
1891 Hugh Kirkaldy 166 N/A 2 $10 St Andrews
1890 John Ball (a) 164 N/A 3 13[e] Prestwick
1889 Willie Park Jr. (2) 155 N/A PO $8 Musselburgh
1888 Jack Burns 171 N/A 1 $8 St Andrews
1887 Willie Park Jr. 161 N/A 1 $8 Prestwick
1886 David Brown 157 N/A 2 $8 Musselburgh
1885 Bob Martin (2) 171 N/A 1 $10 St Andrews
1884 Jack Simpson 160 N/A 4 $8 Prestwick
1883 Willie Fernie 159 N/A PO $8 Musselburgh
1882 Bob Ferguson (3) 171 N/A 3 $12 St Andrews
1881 Bob Ferguson (2) 170 N/A 3 $8 Prestwick
1880 Bob Ferguson 162 N/A 5 $8 Musselburgh
1879 Jamie Anderson (3) 169 N/A 3 $10 St Andrews
1878 Jamie Anderson (2) 157 N/A 2 $8 Prestwick
1877 Jamie Anderson 160 N/A 2 $8 Musselburgh
1876 Bob Martin 176 N/A PO $10 St Andrews
1875 Willie Park Sr. (4) 166 N/A 2 $8 Prestwick
1874 Mungo Park 159 N/A 2 $8 Musselburgh
1873 Tom Kidd 179 N/A 1 $11 St Andrews
1872 Young Tom Morris (4) 166 N/A 3 $8 Prestwick
1870 Young Tom Morris (3) 149 N/A 12 $6 Prestwick
1869 Young Tom Morris (2) 157 N/A 11 $6 Prestwick
1868 Young Tom Morris 154 N/A 3 $6 Prestwick
1867 Old Tom Morris (4) 170 N/A 2 $7 Prestwick
1866 Willie Park Sr. (3) 169 N/A 2 $6 Prestwick
1865 Andrew Strath 162 N/A 2 $8 Prestwick
1864 Old Tom Morris (3) 167 N/A 2 $6 Prestwick
1863 Willie Park Sr. (2) 168 N/A 2 N/A Prestwick
1862 Old Tom Morris (2) 163 N/A 13 N/A Prestwick
1861 Old Tom Morris 163 N/A 4 N/A Prestwick
1860 Willie Park Sr. 174 N/A 2 N/A Prestwick

About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

Ryan talks about golf on various social platforms:

X or Twitter: https://twitter.com/ryanballengee
Facebook: https://facebook.com/ryanballengeegolf
Instagram: https://instagram.com/ryanballengee
YouTube: https://youtube.com/@ryanballengeegolf

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

Ryan occasionally links to merchants of his choosing, and GNN may earn a commission from sales generated by those links. See more in GNN's affiliate disclosure.