Golfers Who Won Both the British Open and Senior British Open

How many golfers, over the course of a career, have won both the British Open and the Senior British Open? Not many! The current count stands at four.

The British Open (formally named The Open Championship) and the Senior British Open (the Senior Open Championship) are both tournaments run by the R&A. The British Open is one of the four major championships of men's professional golf. The Senior Open is one of the five major championships of men's senior (50-and-over) professional golf. Winning both tournaments is a sign that a pro golfer is not only very, very good, but was very, very good over a long span of time.

These are all the golfers so far who've won both these majors:

Gary Player

  • Open: 1959, 1968, 1974
  • Senior Open: 1988, 1990, 1997
The British Open dates to 1860, but the Senior British Open was first played more than 125 years later, in 1987. So only since 1987 has it even been possible to record wins in both. And Gary Player became the first to do so in 1988, just the second year of the Senior Open's existence.

At that time, the Senior Open was not counted as a major by the Champions Tour, the world's top senior tour. It was not recognized as a senior major until 2003. Winners prior to 2003 were not recognized as senior major winners until 2018, when the Champions Tour retroactively credited winners prior to 2003 as major champions. That change was almost entirely due to Player's relentless lobbying for it. All three of Player's Senior Open wins happened before 2003, so when that changed was made, Player's total of wins in senior majors jumped from six to nine.

Player, by the way, was also the only golfer in the 20th century to win the British Open in three different decades.

Bob Charles

  • Open: 1963
  • Senior Open: 1989, 1993
In 1963, Charles became the first left-handed winner of the British Open (or any other major). And in 1989, he became the first left-handed winner of any senior major. He was also the first golfer from New Zealand to win these majors.

Tom Watson

  • Open: 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1982
  • Senior Open: 2003, 2005, 2007
Of the golfers on this (short) list, Watson won the most combined titles between The Open Championship and Senior Open Championship — eight. That tops Player's combined six wins in the two tournaments.

Amazingly, after Watson has won his three Senior Open titles, he very nearly won another British Open trophy. Watson led the entire final round until making bogey on the 72nd hole at the 2009 British Open, then lost a playoff and finished in second place.

Darren Clarke

  • Open: 2011
  • Senior Open: 2022
At age 42, Clarke became the oldest first-time major winner in his victory at the 2011 British Open. He is the only golfer on the list to win both tournaments "just" once each.

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