The 5 best British Open golf championships

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Hogan didn’t disappoint. He opened with a 73 to trail amateur Frank Stranahan by three shots, and then added a 71 to get within two shots of the lead. In the morning third round, he took the lead with a 70, and then closed with a tournament-best 68 for a four-shot win over Antonio Cerda, Dai Rees, Peter Thomson and Stranahan. Hogan couldn’t play the PGA Championship that year, and thus win all four major titles, because it was held in Michigan the same week as British Open qualifying.

For the “Wee Ice Mon,” as the Scots called Hogan, this turned out be his ninth and final major.

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2. TIGER MAKES HISTORY AT THE HOME OF GOLF

Fresh off his 15-shot victory in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, Tiger Woods came to the home of golf for a chance at age 24 to become the youngest winner of the career Grand Slam. Seizing on the historic moment, as he often did, Woods had such control of his game that he didn’t hit into a single bunker on the Old Course the entire week. He took control with a 66 in the second round, and after making his first bogey in 64 holes at a major on the second hole of the third round, Woods still had a 67 and stretched his lead to six shots.

David Duval challenged him briefly in the final round, but he fell apart in the Road Hole bunker. Woods closed with a 69 to break Nick Faldo’s record to par in the British Open with a 19-under 269. He won by eight shots over Ernie Els and Thomas Bjorn and became only the fifth player to win all four majors.

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1. THE DUEL IN THE SUN

The “Duel in the Sun” in 1977 featured the best two champions of their era, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, in a battle that stretched over four days at Turnberry.

Amazingly, they had the same scores for three rounds _ 68-70-65 _ and left everyone else far behind. They remained tied after 16 holes of the final round until the championship turned on the par-5 17th. Nicklaus chipped to 5 feet, but missed the short birdie putt. Watson reached the green with his second shot and two-putted for birdie. On the closing hole, Nicklaus was in the right rough and did well to get the ball on the green, although it was 40 feet away. Watson hit 7-iron that settled about 2 feet from the cup and seemingly clinched the win. But not so. Nicklaus rolled in his long birdie putt, forcing Watson to make his. Watson calmly rapped it in for 65 and a one-shot win over his rival.

Such was their duel that Nicklaus, the runner-up, was 10 shots ahead of third place.

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