Back-to-Back Winners in the British Open

How many golfers have won the Open Championship in successive years? Since the tournament began in 1860, there are 16 golfers who have won this oldest of the major championships back-to-back. Actually, three of those won it back-to-back-to-back. And one of them won it four years in a row.

Most Successive Wins in Open Championship

4 Consecutive Years Winning

  • Tom Morris Jr., 1868-1872
Young Tom Morris is the only back-to-back-to-back-to-back winner in the British Open. (Walter Hagen is the only other major champion to do it, winning the PGA Championship four years consecutively.)

You might have noticed that the span given for Morris' victories — 1868 through 1872 — actually represents five years. What gives? At the time The Open's "trophy" was a red leather belt with a large fancy buckle, known as the Challenge Belt. The rule at the time was that any golfer winning it three successive years got to permanently keep it. When Tommy Morris won the Opens of 1868, 1869 and 1870, he retired the Challenge Belt.

With no trophy to award, the Open Championship wasn't played in 1870. The tournament returned in 1872, and Morris won it again, his fourth consecutive victory.

3 Consecutive Years Winning

Did you catch that Anderson's three-year run and Ferguson's three-year run came one after the other? In the six years from 1877 through 1882, Anderson won three times and then Ferguson won the next three.

Anderson didn't bother going for four in a row at the 1880 Open. But he returned for the 1881 British Open and finished runner-up to Ferguson. When Ferguson went for four in a row at the 1883 Open, he lost in a playoff to Willie Fernie.

Note that Thomson's back-to-back-to-back showing in 1954-56 is the last time any golfer won any of the majors three years running.

Back-to-Back Wins

  • Tom Morris Sr., 1861-62
  • J.H. Taylor, 1894-95
  • Harry Vardon, 1898-99
  • James Braid, 1905-06
  • Bobby Jones, 1926-27
  • Walter Hagen, 1928-29
  • Bobby Locke, 1949-50
  • Arnold Palmer, 1961-62
  • Lee Trevino, 1971-72
  • Tom Watson, 1982-83
  • Tiger Woods, 2005-06
  • Padraig Harrington, 2007-08
Before Young Tom Morris won four consecutive Opens, his father, Old Tom Morris, had already won back-to-back. All three members of the Great Triumvirate (Vardon, Taylor, Braid) also make the list. There's also an amateur on the list, Bobby Jones.

Popular posts from this blog