The Open 2016
Jul 17th, 2017
The Open's Weirdest Ever Moments
From broken legs to breaking and entry...
Photography: Getty Images
The Open Championship is the finest tournament in golf. But it hasn't half thrown up some odd moments over the years. From broken legs, to breaking and entry, here are the top 20 weirdest Open moments...
1. When Ben Curtis won the Open at Royal St.George’s he won £700,000 for his efforts. When Willie Park won the inaugural Open Championship at Prestwick’s 12 hole course in 1860, all he got was a red leather Moroccan belt for his troubles. The famous Claret Jug would not come into being until 1873.
2. Alf Padgham arrived at the course for the final day’s 36 holes of the 1936 Open only to discover his caddy missing and his clubs locked in a local clubmaker’s shop. Taking matters into his own hands, Alf smashed the shop window, retrieved his clubs, hired a new caddy and then won as well. Staunch.
3. At the 1968 Open at Carnoustie, John Morgan was attacked by a rat as he made his way down the 10th fairway. The angry beast had leapt out of some bushes and sank its teeth into Morgan’s left leg. The injury was not serious, though, and Morgan soldiered on to the end of his round. The rat has never been heard of since.
4. In 1971, popular Taiwanese golfer Liang-Huan Lu was horrified to see his second shot to the 72nd hole hit a woman spectator on the head with such force that she was taken to hospital suffering from concussion. Lu would later visit her, whereupon he presented the woman with a box of golf balls and said: “Now you throw at me.” She didn’t.
5. Confidence is a massively important part in any golfer’s game and there were few more confident than Max Faulkner. In 1951, he went into the final round of the Open as tournament leader and made his way to the first tee signing several autographs as ‘The 1951 Open Champion’. Needless to say, that’s what he became.
6. In 1914, JJ McDermott sailed all the way from the USA to play in the Open Qualifiers at Prestwick. Unfortunately, because of a mix up over the dates, he arrived a week late on the same day that the qualifying rounds were being completed.
7. In 1991, Richard Boxall became the first player in Open history to break his leg while playing a tee shot. Boxy was trying to launch a drive from the ninth tee when his left leg gave way beneath him. He was carted off to hospital where doctors discovered a stress fracture.
8. Poor Harry Bradshaw lost the 1949 Open at Sandwich when a shot he hit on the fifth landed in a broken beer bottle. As the ball lay in the glass, Bradshaw opted to play it but he could only shift the ball a few yards and finished the hole with a double-bogey. That hole would proved costly, as Harry went on to lose in a playoff to Bobby Locke.
9. Bobby Jones went into the final round of the 1926 Open at Lytham in second place but, on arrival at the club, the American legend was refused entry as he had left his player’s pass at his hotel. The only way he could he get in was to buy a ticket like the rest of the paying public. Remarkably, Jones still went on to win.
10. German amateur Herman Tissies holds the record for the worst score on Troon’s famous eighth hole, the Postage Stamp. In the 1950 Open, he hit a total of nine shots from the three bunkers surrounding the hole, and then three-putted for an ugly 15.
11. Widely regarded as the greatest putter in the history of the game, South African Bobby Locke (left) won the Open in 1949, 1950, 1952 and1957 and is Bobby said to have slept with his beloved putter during each of his Open victories.
12. In 1965, Milwaukee postman Walter Danecki flew to Manchester in a bid to qualify for that week’s Open Championship at nearby Birkdale, even though he was a novice golfer with no club handicap. He shot 108 in his first round and 113 in his second and narrowly missed the cut – by 75 strokes.
13. Craig Wood holds the record for hitting the longest drive in Open history during the 1933 competition at St. Andrews. At the fifth hole he smashed a wind-assisted tee shot 430 yards, helping him to take second place behind Densmore ‘Denny’ Shute.
14. Bill Rogers was busy minding his own business on the practice green before the first round of the 1981 Open when a passing journalist mentioned that he had just one minute before he was due to tee off. He sprinted to the first just in time to avoid disqualification and then went on to win his one and only major title.
15. While Jean Van de Velde’s exploits at Carnoustie last hole in 1999 are well known, there is one player who can lay claim to an even bigger collapse. In 1885, David Ayton, a native of St. Andrews, arrived at the 17th Road Hole in the final round with a massive five-stroke lead over the field. He then took 11 and lost by two, the dolt.
16. During the third round of the 1983 Open at Birkdale, Hale Irwin fluffed a two inch tap-in when his putter bumped off the green and bounced over his ball. The mistake would cost him dear as Irwin finished one shot behind eventual winner Tom Watson.
17. During a practice round with his idol Jack Nicklaus at the 1994 Open at Royal St. George’s, John Daly left the living legend speechless when he drove the green at the par four fifth hole. It measures a mere 421 yards.