It’s just over 2 weeks until the eyes of the world descend on Royal Birkdale for the 2017 British Open. Set on a course of huge history, majesty and prestige, in an area of lively nightlife and pleasant surroundings, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to get excited.
Check out these 10 fun facts about Royal Birkdale and be the expert when the time comes around.
Got one that we’ve missed out? Which is your favourite Birkdale moment? Let us know on Twitter by getting in touch @findagolfbreak
1. Royal Birkdale, located in Southport, England, has hosted the British Open nine times, starting in 1954. Past winners include Arnold Palmer in 1961, Lee Trevino in 1971, Johnny Miller in 1976 and Tom Watson in 1983. Padraig Harrington was the most recent winner at the course as he romped to victory by four shots over Ian Poulter in 2008.
2. It is one of four courses in the Open Rota in northern England.
3. Birkdale was opened in 1889 and instantly became an early pioneer in women’s golf when club members voted to allow women to play the course for three days each week. In 1890, the first women were elected as members. In fact, one of the first tournaments hosted at Birkdale was a ladies’ championship.
4. In the 1969 Ryder Cup, Birkdale was the site of the famous “Concession.” Jack Nicklaus conceded the 18th hole to Tony Jacklin in what the club’s history calls “a gesture of supreme sportsmanship which has never been forgotten.” The match ended in a 16-16 tie, and many credit this move with the continued majesty of the competition to date.
5. Justin Rose burst onto the scene at the 1998 Open at Birkdale. Playing as a 17-year-old amateur, Rose shot 66 in the second round and was tied for second place through 36 holes. He turned professional when the tournament was over.
6. On 11 November 1951 an important notice was posted on the club notice board by the then Captain H F Simpson, “I have the honour to announce that His Majesty The King has been graciously pleased to Command that the Club shall henceforth be known as The Royal Birkdale Golf Club.” This reflected the growing stature of the Club and enabled it to become one of the finest clubs not only in the British Isles, but also in the world.
7. At three over, Harrington’s 2008 score was the highest to par of the nine Open winners to conquer Birkdale. That week the course was blasted by 20-mph winds and driving rain. In the final round, only three players managed to break par. Harrington is the only Irish winner at Birkdale; no Brit has ever won the Open there.
8. Peter Thomson became synonymous with Royal Birkdale. He won the first and last of his five titles there, and at the age of 41 tied for 9th behind Lee Trevino in 1971 in one of his last bids to match Harry Vardon’s indomitable record of six Open wins.
9. The first Ladies’ Open to be held at Birkdale, in 1982, was won by an amateur, Marta Figueras-Dotti, who was not eligible to receive the £6,000 prize. On the opening day a 14-year-old girl from Yorkshire, Carole Swallow, with her father acting as caddie, scored 71, to end the first round in second place. She continued to perform most creditably, finishing with a total of 311.
10. You can play where the pros do. Check out our website for all the latest offers and Southport golf tour news, or get in touch with us direct by emailing Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to Alex Miller for putting this post together for us!
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