1981 British Open Results

The 1981 British Open was the 110th time the tournament was played. The story goes that Bill Rogers only played this tournament because his friend Ben Crenshaw talked him into making the trip. So when Rogers took a 1-stroke lead after a second-round 66, it's somehow appropriate that it was Crenshaw in second place. Crenshaw fell away over the final two rounds, but Rogers didn't — he led by five after Round 3 and won by four.

Winner: Bill Rogers, 276

Where it was played: Royal St. George's Golf Club in Sandwich, England

Tournament dates: July 16-19, 1981

Leader after first round: Nick Job and Vicente Fernandez, 70

Leader after second round: Bill Rogers, 138

Leader after third round: Bill Rogers, 205

What Happened at the 1981 British Open

The year 1981 was a pretty good one for Bill Rogers. He won four PGA Tour titles, won once on the Japan Tour, and won twice in Australia. He played for the American side in the 1981 Ryder Cup. He was named PGA Player of the Year. And one of his victories was the 1981 British Open.

Rogers tied for second a month earlier at the 1981 U.S. Open. At the Open Championship, he left no doubt. Rogers opened with a 72, but middle rounds of 66 and 67 sent him to a 5-stroke lead. In the final round, nobody could catch him. Rogers carded a 71 and won by four over Bernhard Langer. Langer was the only golfer to finish closer than seven strokes to Rogers.

Langer, a 2-time Masters champ, never won the British Open; this was one of two runner-up finishes he had. This was Rogers' only win in a major, and he soon experienced a dramatic fall-off in the level of his play.

Jack Nicklaus opened the tournament with a round of 83, the second-highest score Nicklaus ever posted in a major championship. But Nicklaus then shot a second-round 66 — an improvement of 17 strokes — and made the cut.

A fun coincidence: Four Open champions — Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Tony Jacklin — finished tied for 23rd. For both Palmer and Jacklin, it was their last time finishing inside the Top 25 at any major.

This was the first Open Championship played at Royal St. George's since 1949. Hal Sutton finished as low amateur, tied for 47th.

1981 British Open Final Scores

Bill Rogers 72-66-67-71—276
Bernhard Langer 73-67-70-70—280
Mark James 72-70-68-73—283
Raymond Floyd 74-70-69-70—283
Sam Torrance 72-69-73-70—284
Manuel Pinero 73-74-68-70—285
Bruce Lietzke 76-69-71-69—285
Ben Crenshaw 72-67-76-71—286
Howard Clark 72-76-70-68—286
Brian Jones 73-76-66-71—286
Isao Aoki 71-73-69-74—287
Lee Trevino 77-67-70-73—287
Nick Faldo 77-68-69-73—287
Sandy Lyle 73-73-71-71—288
David Graham 71-71-74-72—288
Nick Job 70-69-75-74—288
Brian Barnes 76-70-70-72—288
Eamonn Darcy 79-69-70-70—288
Peter Townsend 73-70-73-73—289
Jerry Pate 73-73-69-74—289
Graham Marsh 75-71-72-71—289
Gordon J. Brand 78-65-74-72—289
Arnold Palmer 72-74-73-71—290
Mark McNulty 74-74-74-68—290
Tony Jacklin 71-71-73-75—290
Simon Owen 71-74-70-75—290
Tom Watson 73-69-75-73—290
Hubert Green 75-72-74-69—290
Nick Price 77-68-76-69—290
Jack Nicklaus 83-66-71-70—290
Greg Norman 72-75-72-72—291
Trevor Powell 75-68-73-75—291
Des Smyth 77-67-73-74—291
John Morgan 77-72-73-69—291
Jumbo Ozaki 75-72-71-74—292
Tommy Horton 75-73-73-71—292
Billy Dunk 76-67-77-72—292
Bob Charles 77-71-71-73—292
Rodger Davis 74-71-74-74—293
Neil Coles 74-73-73-73—293
Seve Ballesteros 75-72-74-72—293
Johnny Miller 71-73-73-76—293
Florentino Molina 78-68-74-73—293
Ken Brown 74-72-74-74—294
Terry Gale 73-73-71-77—294
Ron Streck 78-70-72-74—294
Mark O'Meara 74-73-73-75—295
Jaime Gonzalez 76-70-76-73—295
a-Hal Sutton 71-77-73-74—295
David Thorp 76-69-74-77—296
David Jones 77-71-74-74—296
Brian Waites 75-69-74-78—296
Eddie Polland 75-75-72-75—297
Garry Cullen 78-70-73-76—297
Mike Ferguson 75-72-71-79—297
Noel Hunt 74-73-75-76—298
Warren Humphreys 76-71-74-77—298
John O'Leary 73-74-75-77—299
Payne Stewart 73-75-74-77—299
a-Geoffrey Godwin 75-71-72-81—299
Dick McLean 75-73-72-83—303

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