Golfers Who Won British Open in 3 Different Decades

Winning the same tournament — any tournament — in three different decades is a sign not just of a great golfer, but of a golfer who maintained that greatness over a long period of time. In the history of The Open Championship, dating to 1860, only three golfers have won the Claret Jug in three separate decades.

And it's not a surprise that the golfers who pulled off this feat are three of the all-time legends.

Harry Vardon

When Harry Vardon won the 1911 Open, he became the first golfer to win the British Open in three different decades. Vardon won The Open six times overall (the record), and the 1911 win was the fifth of those six titles.

Vardon won The Open in the 1890s, the 19-aughts and the 1910s. His six wins were in 1896, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1911 and 1914.

J.H. Taylor

Like Vardon, Taylor was a member of Britain's "Great Triumvirate" of golfers. And also like Vardon, he won Open titles in the 1890s, the 19-aughts and the 1910s.

Taylor's five wins in The Open were in 1894, 1895, 1900, 1909 and 1913. Taylor was runner-up in The Open another six times, including twice (1896 and 1914) to Vardon.

Gary Player

The later-20th century equivalent of the "Great Triumvirate" was "the Big 3," which was comprised by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. It wasn't Nicklaus who made this list, but Player.

Player won The Open in the decades of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Had three victories total, but each was in a separate decade. He won in 1959, 1968 and 1974.

Some readers may be surprised that it is Player and not Nicklaus who makes this list from among "the Big 3." The Open is the major Nicklaus won least-often — "only" three times — and his wins were one in the 1960s and two in the 1970s. Nicklaus does hold the British Open record for second-place finishes, though, with seven (and one of those was runner-up to Player in 1968).

Related articles:

R&A. The 151st Open Media Guide, The Open Records, 2023.

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