It seems as old as time – the annual tradition of crowning the Champion Golfer of the Year at the oldest continuously played tournament in golf, the British Open. It has been the scene of some of the game’s greatest triumphs and saddest tragedies alike, and your 2017 British Open tickets give you the opportunity to experience the tradition first hand.
When the winds howl off the nearby Irish Sea, Royal Birkdale, site of the 2017 Open Championship, is a links-golf test as wicked as any in the game. The towering sand dunes that frame the course and line its fairways serve as natural stadium seating for the lucky patrons in attendance. Winning a British Open requires a rare combination of skill, fortitude and timing. Watch for yourself as the elements and the competition conspire to make a dogfight out of the tournament, and see who survives to raise the Claret Jug.
Since its inception in 1860, the British Open, or the Open Championship as it’s known across the pond, has been the ultimate test of pure golfing ability. The third leg of the four modern majors, the British Open has been the feather in the cap of so many stellar careers, it is hard to place a golfer within the pantheon of the game’s greats until he has taken possession of the Golf Champion Trophy, otherwise known as the Claret Jug.
The Open Championship is steeped in golf history, and Royal Birkdale, the 2017 British Open site, has seen much of it. Many of the game’s greats have kissed the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale, but she is a fickle mistress. A changing par score notwithstanding, winning scores at Open Championships on Royal Birkdale’s links have ranged from 14-under par to 3-over par. Much depends on the mood of the weather.
Come rain or shine, though, it takes precision to go low at Royal Birkdale, the quintessential British Open golf course. Situated on the Irish Sea near the resort town of Southport, England, Royal Birkdale is subject to the vagaries of coastal winds and storms. The course’s fairways lie in naturally flat valleys produced between windswept, seaside sand dunes. Classic, Open-style rough and pot bunkers await ill-struck golf balls, but the hard-pan fairways reward well-played tee shots.
The 2017 British Open will be the 10th Open contested at Royal Birkdale. Australian Peter Thomson won the first in 1954, and again in 1965, with a win by Arnold Palmer sandwiched between in 1961. Other winners at this beloved course include Lee Trevino (1971), Johnny Miller (1976) and Tom Watson (1983).
The last time Royal Birkdale’s spot came up in the Rota was 2008, when Irishman Padraig Harrington won his second-straight British Open, which he would follow up that summer with a PGA Championship victory. Harrington trailed Greg Norman by two shots to start the final round of the Open that year, but played gallant golf to come back and become only the second player to ever retain the Claret Jug. Will Henrik Stenson, the Jug’s current holder, be the third player to retain it? Or, is it someone else’s turn? Find out in July at the 2017 British Open.