The Open 2022: Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros and the Championship's 10 greatest moments

From the brilliance of Tom Watson and Lee Trevino to the calamities of Jean van de Velde and Tommy Nakajima

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1. Heat of Battle

Tom Watson v Jack Nicklaus, Turnberry, 1977. With 26 majors between them, Nicklaus (18 titles) and Watson (eight) are two of golf’s all-time greats. Both were at the top of their game during their “Duel in the Sun” on a blisteringly hot final day at Turnberry. The pair traded blows all the way round the course, with Watson at one stage trailing “Golden Bear” by three shots before he battled back to card a 65 to edge his great rival by a single stroke.

2. The Car Park Champion

Seve Ballesteros, Royal Lytham & St Anne’s, 1979. Five-time major winner Ballesteros was famous for his fearless and often wayward golf. The 22-year-old Spaniard only found the fairway nine times during his four rounds on the Lancashire coast. But his recovery shot after a wild drive at the 16th led to one of the most famous saves in Open history. Given a free drop after landing in a temporary car park, he pitched to within 20 feet of the pin, then drained the putt for a birdie to seize the Claret Jug.

The Open's last 20 winners

3. Roaring Tiger

Tiger Woods, St Andrews, 2000. The 24-year-old Woods was at his most dominant when he headed to the Fife coast seeking to become only the fifth player in history to complete a career Grand Slam. His mastery over the Old Course, with rounds of 67, 66, 67, and 69, would seal victory by eight shots and secure his place in that exclusive club. Different class.

4. Watery grave

Jean van de Velde, Carnoustie, 1999. The Frenchman went into the last hole of the final round with a three-shot lead. He hit the stands with his second shot and his third from deep rough flopped into the Barry Burn. Van de Velde took his shoes and socks off, rolled up his trousers and waded into the water before deciding to take a one-shot penalty. He stuck his next shot into a bunker and ended up taking a triple-bogie. Heartbreaking to watch. He lost to Paul Lawrie in the subsequent playoff.

5. Trevino's miracle

Lee Trevino, Muirfield, 1972. Six-time major winner Lee Trevino was the defending champion but was closely challenged by Jack Nicklaus, seeking the first modern Grand Slam, and Britain’s two-time major winner Tony Jacklin. In the final round, Nicklaus clawed back six shots to card a 66 for five-under par. At the par five 17th, Trevino hacked his way to the edge of the green in four shots before holing a miracle chip to stay at six under - Jacklin then two putted to drop a shot back and hand the title to the American.

6. Comeback king

Ben Hogan, Carnoustie, 1953. Four years after a near-fatal car crash, nine-time major winner Ben Hogan travelled to the west coast of Scotland to play in his only Open Championship. The win was never in doubt. The reigning Masters and US Open champion hit a birdie on the last for a course record round of 68 to lift the title. It was his final victory in a major.

7. Rocca’s heroics in vain

Costantino Rocca v John Daly, St Andrews, 1995. When Italian Rocca fluffed his chip into the Valley of Sin on the 72nd hole of the 1995 Championship, it looked as though his chances of victory had vanished. But he somehow made a 60-foot putt up the slope to birdie the hole and force a playoff. His emotional celebration, punching the air with both fists before collapsing face-down on the green and sobbing are the stuff of Open legend. Daly went on to win the playoff to land his second and final major.

8. Tiger’s tears

Tiger Woods, Royal Liverpool, 2006. The world No 1 arrived at Hoylake as defending Open champion and he produced another golfing masterclass, shooting a second-round 65 to move into the lead, before clinching a two-shot victory over Chris DiMarco on the final day. The American had lost his father Earl two months earlier and he broke down in tears as he was overcome by emotion after sinking the final putt.

9. Seve’s jig

Seve Ballesteros, St Andrews, 1984. The Home of Golf has witness countless memorable moments but Seve’s fist pump and joyful jig on the 18th green after curling in a birdie putt to win a thrilling battle with Tom Watson and clinch the second of his three Open titles was one for the ages.

10. The Sands of Nakajima

Tommy Nakajima, St Andrews, 1978. Earlier in the year, 23-year-old Japanese golfer Tommy Nakajima had shot a 13 at the Masters after landing in the creek at the 13th “Azalea” hole. At the Open at St Andrews, he was in contention nearing the end of his third round. He stood on the 17th tee - often dubbed “The Hardest Hole in Golf” - at three under par, just one shot off the lead. He made the green in two but then rolled his putt into the infamous Road Hole Bunker. It took him four attempts to escape it before he two-putted to card a notorious nine.

Updated: July 14, 2022, 10:48 AM
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