The Open 2013: Five of the Best

The 142nd British Open tournament is only a day away – and just in case you’re not quite salivating at the prospect already – we’ve drawn up a list of our top five Opens to get your blood pumping. And as always, we’d love to hear what your views on the best ever British Open is so get in touch and be heard via our official Onlinegolf Facebook page.

Greg Norman, Royal St George's – 1993

It was a four-way race for British Open success in 1993 when Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Corey Pavin and Bernhard Langer each threw down some incredible scoring in a scintillating affair. Norman’s 66 opener was decimated by Faldo’s superb 63 a day later, and then the final day opened with the quartet separated by a solitary shot. Normal soared through the pack, however, scoring a brilliant 64 to win by two. Faldo and Langer could be satisfied with their 67’s, and had Norman not missed from 14 inches on the 17th, his victory could have been even more emphatic.

Seve Ballesteros, St Andrews – 1984

It still stands as one of golf’s iconic moments – a fist pump at the 72nd hole by Seve Ballesteros. The Spaniard had been hovering around the top five for three days and went into the final round two shots behind Ian Baker-Finch and Tom Watson. Ballesteros was in the penultimate group and holed a 15-foot birdie at the last as Watson was bogeying the 17th and he celebrated a two-shot victory in what has now become a defining image in the minds of every golf fan on the planet.

Paul Lawrie, Carnoustie – 1999

It was the Open in which Jean Van de Velde famously threw a three-shot lead heading down the 18th hole. Van de Velde had firmly established a five-stroke lead after the third round and was the only man not over par. When he reached the last it appeared to everyone on the greens and in attendance that victory was nothing more than a footnote; and then he drove his ball into the rough and could not navigate back to the fairway with his second attempt which hit a grandstand and then inexplicably bounced off a rock in the Barry Burn. The third shot from the Frenchman flew into the water and, having taken his shoes and socks off to play from the water, suddenly changed his mind and took a drop, which in turn found a bunker and got up and down for a triple-bogey seven. Inevitably this led him into a three-way play-off with Paul Lawrie and American Justin Leonard. Lawrie won the game having carded a final-round 67 earlier on.

Tom Watson, Turnberry – 1977

Both Watson and Nicklaus made their moves on day three and both shot 65’s to set up the famously dubbed ‘Duel in the Sun.’ No one else could match these two men’s brilliance that day and by the time they reached the 18th, the gap was into double figures. Watson was ahead of his great friend and rival by one, and Nicklaus found heavy rough off the tee yet still managed to advance his ball to the edge of the green. It was then Watson’s turn to impress and he hit an outstanding seven iron into three feet, despite Nicklaus draining his 35ft birdie putt to temporarily tie the lead. Watson matched his compatriot for the victory, with Nicklaus having shot 65-66 for the weekend and the champion recording consecutive 65’s.

Tiger Woods, St Andrews – 2000

Tiger Woods came into the British Open in 2000 on the back of a US Open victory. He was six ahead going into the final round and the American eased home by eight shots, having managed to avoid the Old Course’s 112 bunkers throughout the week. It was here that he won his first Claret Jug and became the youngest ever player at the age of 24 to complete the career Grand Slam.