The Biggest Winning Margins Ever in the British Open

J.H. Taylor shares the modern British Open record for largest margin of victory
What is the largest margin of victory ever in the British Open? The answer to that, considering the entire tournament history, is 13 strokes. But since the history of this major dates to the mid-19th century, perhaps it is better to talk about its margin-of-victory record in terms of pre-1900 and 1900-to-present. So let's do that.

Largest Pre-20th Century Winning Margin in the British Open

In the 1800s, the record for margin of victory in the Open Championship is 13 strokes, set by Old Tom Morris in 1862. And that is the all-time record, as well, making it perhaps the oldest record in golf history still standing.

The runner-up to Old Tom in 1862 was Willie Park Sr. The 1862 Open was just the third time the Open was played. It took place at Prestwick, which at the time was a 12-hole links. The golfers played three rounds, so 36 holes total. Old Tom shot 52-55-56, a 163 total.

Here's an important point, though, and one that makes the margin-of-victory records from the post-1900 era more impressive, even though they don't match Old Tom's 13 strokes: In the 1862 British Open, only six golfers completed the tournament.

Largest British Open Margins of Victory, 1900 to Present

From 1900 forward, the record for biggest winning margin in the British Open is eight strokes. It was first achieved in the year 1900 and most recently achieved in the year 2000.

These are the golfers who won the Open Championship by eight strokes since 1900:

The 2000 British Open was played on The Old Course at St. Andrews. Woods carded scores of 67-66-67-69, a total of 269. It was a historic tournament for Woods, too: His first British Open win gave him victories in all four of golf's professional majors. By winning, he completed the career grand slam at age 24. It was also the second major in a row in which Woods set a new margin-of-victory record: A month earlier, in the 2000 U.S. Open, Woods won by 15 strokes.

Aside from Taylor, Braid and Woods, only one other golfer since 1900 has won the Open by as many as seven strokes. That is Louis Ousthuizen, who won the 2010 British Open by seven over Lee Westwood.

Photo credit: George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library. J. H. Taylor. Finish of the swing.

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