2018 Open Championship: Spectator's Guide and Tournament History

By Ryan Watson

The 147th Open Championship, often referred to simply as The Open or in America as the British Open, returns to Scotland’s infamous Carnoustie July 19-22 as the oldest tournament in golf seeks to crown a new champion. The field this year is especially strong, as 78 of the world’s top 80 ranked golfers compete for what is often considered the most prestigious major in golf. The Open Championship carries the huge weight of history and returns golf to its ancestral home: barren and difficult links courses with harsh winds blowing up from the British coast. 


Tournament History

The Open Championship was first contested in 1860 by a field of 8 professional golfers with legendary golfer Willie Parks, Sr. At the time, the game of golf was centered in Scotland and the tournament remained there until the 1894 Open held at England’s Royal St. George’s Golf Club. Today, courses in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland share hosting duties on a rotational basis. Though the tournament winner was originally awarded a red leather belt with a silver buckle known as the Challenge Belt, since 1872 all winners have been awarded the Claret Jug. This much sought after trophy resembles a slender pitcher that is inscribed with the names of all Open Championship winners since 1872. 

The greatest players in the history of golf are among the winners of the Open Championship, including the legendary Harry Vardon who’s 6 titles over 18 years is still the most Open wins by a golfer. The record for youngest and oldest winners is held by pioneering father-son duo “Old” Tom Morris (age 46) and “Young” Tom Morris (age 17). Legendary amateur Bobby Jones counts 3 Open Championships to his name. Other winners include Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and 2017 champion Jordan Spieth. 


Carnoustie Golf Links

Carnoustie, located in Angus, Scotland, is hosting the Open Championship for the 8th time in its history. The course has roots back to the 16th century and has earned a reputation as one of golf’s most difficult courses. It also holds the record as the longest course to host the tournament at 7,400 yards and challenges golfers with near constant wind and intense strategic bunkering. The course was the site of legendary golfer Ben Hogan’s only Open Championship win and one of Tom Watson’s record 5 wins. It was also the site of one of golf’s infamous meltdowns when Van de Velde’s triple-bogey on the 18th hole at the 1999 Open Championship ultimately cost him the title. 


Spectator Information

A limited amount of tickets are still available to the 2018 Open Championship. Daily Tickets are available for £75 and offer access to the ground of Carnoustie. Weekly Tickets are also still available for £305 for adults and £145 for youth (16-24 year olds). The tournament will also be covered heavily on television by the Golf Channel and NBC. The Golf Channel will handle coverage Thursday and Friday 1:30am-4pm ET and Saturday and Sunday 4:30-7am ET. NBC will handle coverage 7am-3pm ET Saturday and 7am-2:30pm ET Sunday. Radio coverage will be provided by PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM and PGATour.com.





About The Author

Ryan Watson is a freelance sportswriter and history professor. He has been an avid fan of golf since his father signed him up for golf camp as a young child. Ryan enjoys following the professional game and learning about new equipment and gadgets.


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