1860 British Open: The First Major

The 1860 British Open is one of the most significant golf tournaments ever played, because it was the very first of what we now call the major championships. In fact, it was the first time any of the professional golf tournaments that exist today was played.

Winner: Willie Park Sr., 174

Where it was played: Prestwick Golf Club, Ayrshire, Scotland

Tournament dates: Oct. 17, 1860

Leader after first round: Willie Park Sr., 55

Leader after second round: Willie Park Sr., 114

Notable Notes: Only eight golfers entered, all of them professionals. Willie Park Sr. finished first, two strokes in front of Old Tom Morris. The 1860 Open was played at Prestwick, a 12-hole golf course. The golfers played three rounds, 36 holes total, in one day.

The Claret Jug did not yet exist; the winner received the Challenge Belt. There was no prize money at this first Open.

Final Scores

Willie Park Sr. 55-59-60—174
Tom Morris Sr. 58-59-59—176
Andrew Strath 180
Robert Andrew 191
George Brown 192
Charlie Hunter 195
Alexander Smith 196
William Steel 232

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