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WINNER: Seve Ballesteros

SCORE: 283

RUNNER-UP: Ben Crenshaw, Jack Nicklaus

MARGIN: 3 shots

EARNINGS: 15,000 pounds

RECAP: Seve Ballesteros captured his first major championship and launched the legend of his charismatic game over four thrill-seeking days. He was eight shots behind after the first round before the Spaniard clawed his way back until he was only two adrift of Hale Irwin going into the final round. Ballesteros hit driver nine times in the fourth round and only once found the fairway. No matter. He recovered time after time, no shot more memorable than the 16th when he drove into an overflow car park. Given relief, his second shot finished on the edge of the green, and he holed a 30-footer for birdie. Some referred to him as the “Car Park Champion,” though most knew better. This was a gifted player who went on to capture the claret jug twice more, along with two green jackets from the Masters.

NOTEWORTHY: Ballesteros became the first continental European to win the claret jug since Arnaud Massy of France in 1907.


YEAR: 1974

WINNER: Gary Player

SCORE: 282

RUNNER-UP: Peter Oosterhuis

MARGIN: 4 shots

EARNINGS: 5,500 pounds

RECAP: This British Open is best known for the golf ball. It was the first time the American ball at 1.68 inches in diameter was required at golf’s oldest championship, replacing the “small ball” of 1.62 inches. Gary Player won his second major of the year (he won the Masters in April) by going wire-to-wire in a command performance. There were only four rounds in the 60s all week, and the South African had two of them in the opening rounds. That gave him a five-shot lead over Peter Oosterhuis. Player bounced back from a 75 in the third round by making two birdies and an eagle on the opening six holes of the final round to restore his cushion. He was the only player to finish under par for the week.

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