Thousands of golf fans will be heading to Royal Portrush for this year’s Open Championship, the first time the event has been held at the famous old venue for nearly 70 years.
The Open was last staged at Royal Portrush in 1951, when Max Faulkner became Champion Golfer of the Year, but that is just one of many memorable moments that this tournament has thrown up in its long and illustrious history.
So, to whet the appetite for one of the most iconic sporting events on the calendar here are five more great memories from the world’s greatest golf tournament.
1. Seve’s Celebration, St Andrews, 1984
The 1984 open Championship was memorable for one man and one image in particular as Seve Ballesteros’s sealed his Open Championship win at St Andrews; a victory which he would later claim to be his personal favourite.
Trailing Tom Watson on the final day, the Spaniard came back to win by two shots at the home of golf, denying his rival a third successive Open title. His final putt on the 18th green from 12 yards made its way towards the hole and appeared to hang on the edge of the cup before dropping in; leading to that famous fist pump celebration.
2. Tiger’s Slam, St Andrews, 2000
Having just won the U.S. Open by an amazing 15 shots, the 24-year-old descended on St Andrews looking to go one better and leading by six shots after 54 holes he stormed to an eight-shot victory, thanks to not finding one of the 112 bunkers around the Old Course during all four rounds.
It was Tiger’s first Open title, allowing him to complete a career Grand Slam and join Gene Sarazen, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as the only players to win all four major championships.
3. Van de Velde Implodes, Carnoustie, 1999
Carnoustie’s 18th is one of the most difficult holes in golf, so to have a three-shot cushion going down the final fairway should be enough for anyone, except Jean Van de Velde that is, who decided against taking the conservative approach when a double-bogey would have seen him lift the Claret Jug.
His drive landed right of the Barry Burn while his second flew straight into the grandstand before bouncing into the knee-high rough. His next effort flew straight into the burn providing that famous image of him standing in the water contemplating what to do next.
He’d eventually make a 10-footer for triple-bogey 7 to get into a playoff with 1997 champ Justin Leonard and eventual winner Paul Lawrie. Though the 1999 Open would always be remembered for this calamitous fail by the Frenchman.
4. Scott’s Surrender, Royal Lytham, 2012
Another Open remembered for a dramatic collapse was the 2012 Championship at Royal Lytham where Adam Scott held a four-shot lead with four holes to go as he sought his first major title at the time.
While Scott was suffering through three consecutive bogeys, ahead at No. 18 Ernie Els sank the most important putt of his career since his win at Muirfield 10 years earlier. Scott just required a closing par to force a playoff, but instead he missed a 7-foot effort – handing Els his fourth major championship.
5. Rose Blossoms, Royal Birkdale, 1998
A fresh-faced Justin Rose announced himself to the world at The Open Championship at Birkdale back in 1998 and a second-round 66 left him just one shot off the lead, and although he struggled throughout the third round, he kept in contention going into the final day.
Holing his approach shot from an unpromising position for a birdie at the 18th Rose finished fourth, the best performance by an amateur in the Open since Frank Stranahan was second behind Ben Hogan in 1953.