1876 British Open Winner and Scores

The 1876 British Open was the 16th time this major was played. The champion won it when his playoff opponent failed to show up.

Winner: Bob Martin, 176

Where it was played: The Old Course at St. Andrews

Tournament dates: Sept. 30 and Oct. 2, 1876

Leader after first round: Davie Strath and Bob Martin, 86

Bob Martin's Unusual Method of Winning the 1876 Open Championship

Bob Martin and Davie Strath finished the scheduled 36 holes tied at 176. A playoff was scheduled, but Strath refused to play in it. So Martin showed up several days later and walked the course, claiming the playoff win — a literal walk-over — and the Open victory.

Strath's objection? In the final round — which was played while other golfers were also playing the golf course — Strath played to the 17th green before it was clear. His ball hit one of those golfers and ricocheted, coming to rest on the green. Strath wound up two-putting for a five, then made a six on the final hole, tying Martin's score.

Responding to a complaint about the incident — some felt Strath's ball would have wound up on the road behind the green (it is the Road Hole) — the R&A said it would issue a ruling, but only after the playoff. That made no sense to Strath since, obviously, if the ruling went against him there would be no need for a playoff. So he protested by refusing to participate in the playoff. Had the playoff actually happened, it would have been the first in tournament history.

Martin had finished runner-up the year before in the 1875 Open, and he won a second time in the 1885 British Open.

Final Scores of the 1876 British Open

Bob Martin 86-90—176
Davie Strath 86-90—176
Willie Park Sr. 94-89—183
Old Tom Morris 90-95—185
Mungo Park 95-90—185
W. Thompson 90-95—185
a-Henry Lamb 94-92—186
Walter Gourlay 98-89—187
Bob Kirk 95-92—187
George Paxton 95-92—187
Robert Kinsman 88-100—188
Jamie Anderson 96-93—189
a-David Lamb 95-94—189
David Anderson Sr. 93-97—190
John Thompson 89-101—190
James Fenton 91-100—191

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