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British Open 2019: Frequently Asked Questions

July 03, 2019

Ross Kinnaird/R&A

This year's Open Championship promises to be a special one, what with all the great storylines that are ready to play out. It begins with the venue, Royal Portrush, which will be one of the biggest attractions of the competition. This is just the second time the Northern Ireland golf club has hosted the event, the other coming in 1951. It's also just the second time the Open will be held on Irish soil.

Below you will find some of the frequently asked questions about the Open Championship.

When is the Open Championship played?

With the PGA Tour scheduling having been re-arranged this season, the Open Championship is now the year’s final major. It is still, however, played in mid-July. This year, it will be held July 18-21.

Who conducts the Open Championship?

The R&A conducts the championship.

Is the British Open the same as the Open Championship?

Yes, it is. In the United States and other parts of the world, the tournament is often referred to as the British Open to help distinguish the championship from Opens in other countries. However, the official name of the tournament is The Open Championship.

When and where was the first Open Championship? And who won?

The first Open Championship was played in 1860 at Prestwick in South Ayrshire, Scotland. It was a one-day, 36-hole competition. Willie Park Sr., won by two strokes with a total score of 174.

What is the format of the Open Championship? How many players are in the field?

The Open Championship is a four-round, 72-hole stroke-play competition, with a cut after 36 holes. There are 156 players in the field.

If players are tied after 72 holes, how is the winner determined?

The Open Championship uses a four-hole aggregate playoff if players are tied at the end of four rounds. If players are still tied after four holes, they play sudden death until a winner is determined. It’s not the only major to use the aggregate format in the event of a tie—the PGA Championship uses a three-hole aggregate playoff, and the U.S. Open made the switch from an 18-hole playoff to a two-hole aggregate in 2018.

Where is the Open Championship being held in 2019?

The 148th Open Championship will take place at Royal Portrush in Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland for just the second time in tournament history. The last time it was played there was 1951, which was also the only other time the Open was held on Irish soil. Every other Open in history has taken place in either Scotland or England.

Who won the Open Championship at Royal Portrush in 1951?

The winner that year was England's Max Faulkner, who shot a three-under 285 to win by two strokes over Argentina's Antonio Cerdá. It was the only major-championship win of Faulkner's career, but he did collect 18 other professional victories between 1946 and 1968. He also finished in the top 10 at the Open four other times.

Who won the 2018 Open Championship?

Francesco Molinari won the 2018 Open at Carnoustie in Scotland with a 72-hole total of eight-under 276. The Italian played a machine-like final round to claim his first major title, making 13 straight pars to begin his day and then making birdies at 14 and 18 to finish with a bogey-free, two-under 69. And he did it all alongside Tiger Woods, who put himself in contention at a major for the first time in years. Molinari was able to derail the comeback story, eventually beating Woods by three. Kevin Kisner, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele and Justin Rose tied for second, two strokes back of Molinari.

Who has won the most Open Championships?

Harry Vardon holds the record for most victories at the Open Championship with six. Four golfers have won the Open five times: James Braid, J.H. Taylor, Peter Thomson and Tom Watson.

How can you qualify for the Open Championship?

There are several ways players can qualify for the Open Championship, including through the Open Qualifying Series and Final Qualifying, which you can learn more about here.

To see the other 28 exemption categories, click here.

Will Tiger Woods be playing in this year's Open Championship?

Yes, Tiger Woods will be back in the field for the 2019 Open Championship. Following his T-6 at Carnoustie a year ago, Woods went on to finish in solo second the next month at the PGA Championship, and another month later won the Tour Championship. After a slow start to the 2018-'19 season, Woods won his first major since 2008 at the Masters in April. That gave him 15 for his career, and he'll get one more crack at a 16th this season at Portrush.

How many Open Championships has Tiger Woods won?

Tiger Woods has won three Open Championships: 2000 at St. Andrews, 2005 at St. Andrews and 2006 at Royal Liverpool.

What other sites host the Open Championship?

The Open Championship is the only major that uses a rotation or “rota” of courses in the United Kingdom. There are currently nine courses in the rota, although this year's host, Royal Portrush, is not one of them. Five of them are in Scotland: Carnoustie, St. Andrews, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield. The other four are in England: Royal Birkdale, Royal Liverpool, Royal St. George’s and Royal Lytham.

Which country has hosted the most Open Championships?

Scotland has hosted the most, with 63 Open Championships.

How many players make the 36-hole cut?

The top 70 players and ties make the cut at the Open Championship.

Who is the oldest winner of the Open Championship?

Old Tom Morris is the oldest, winning the Open Championship in 1867 at Prestwick at the age of 46.

The youngest?

Young Tom Morris is the youngest, winning the Open Championship the following year in 1868 at Prestwick at the age of 17. He also holds the record for most consecutive victories (four), winning the next three in a row after his first.

What is the lowest round shot in the Open Championship?

Ten players held the record of 63 up until two years ago at Royal Birkdale, when South Africa's Branden Grace set a new record for all major championships, carding a third-round eight-under 62.

What is the lowest round in relation to par in Open Championship history?

Paul Broadhurst and Rory McIlroy hold the record for lowest rounds in relation to par, with Broadhurst carding a nine-under 63 in the third round of the 1990 Open Championship at St. Andrews. McIlroy's nine-under 63 also came at St. Andrews in the first round of the 2010 Open Championship.

What is the 72-hole scoring record? And the record in relation to par?

Henrik Stenson set both records in 2016 at Royal Troon, with 264 strokes and 20 under par.

What is the largest margin of victory?

The largest margin of victory in an Open Championship came in 1862 at Prestwick, when Old Tom Morris won by 13 strokes while the event was still contested over 36 holes.

The largest margin since World War II is eight strokes by Tiger Woods over Thomas Bjorn and Ernie Els during the 2000 Open at St. Andrews.

What is the highest winning score in Open Championship history?

The highest winning total came in 1894, when England's J.H. Taylor won with 326 strokes at Royal St. George's.

Has there ever been a wire-to-wire winner of the Open Championship?

There have been seven wire-to-wire winners in Open Championship history. They are: Ted Ray (1912, Muirfield), Bobby Jones (1927, St. Andrews), Gene Sarazen (1932, Prince's), Henry Cotton (1934, Royal St. George's), Tom Weiskopf (1973, Royal Troon), Tiger Woods (2005, St. Andrews) and Rory McIlroy (2014, Royal Liverpool).

Has an amateur ever won the Open Championship?

An amateur has won the Open Championship six times. The list includes: John Ball (1890, Prestwick), Harold Hilton (1892, Muirfield and 1897, Royal Liverpool) and Bobby Jones (1926, Royal Lytham and St. Annes; 1927, St. Andrews; 1930, Royal Liverpool).

What is the Silver Medal at the Open Championship?

The Silver Medal is awarded to the leading amateur of the Open Championship, provided he completes all 72 holes. Last year, Scotland's Sam Locke won the award by completing all four round and finishing in a tie for 75th.

How many times has an American won the Open Championship?

Of the 147 Open Championships that have been contested, an American has won 45 of them, the most any country has produced.

Which country has produced the next most Open Champions?

Scotland has produced the next most with 41 winners, while England has produced 22.

What type of conditions is the Open Championship played in?

The Open Championship is played at classic links golf courses that feature deep bunkers, no trees, large and undulating greens, and high fescue. It's typically played in high winds, colder temperatures and, often, rain.

What does the winner of the Open Championship receive?

In the early days of the Open Championship, the winner received the Challenge Belt, which was returned the next year and awarded to the next winner. If, however, a golfer won the Open three straight years, he would be able to keep the belt permanently. Young Tom Morris accomplished that feat in 1870. With the retirement of the belt, the R&A created a new award—the Claret Jug, now widely recognized as the greatest trophy in golf. The Claret Jug was first awarded in 1873. Today, winners' names are engraved on the trophy just as they are completing their victory, and appear on the jug when they are handed the trophy at the prize ceremony after the championship. Winners return the Claret Jug each year (although they also receive a replica that they can keep).

The winner also carries the honorific label of "The Champion Golfer of the Year."

What is the Open Championship's purse?

The total purse went up this year from $10.25 million to $10.75 million. The first-place prize also went up to a record amount going up from $1,845,000 to $1,935,000.

How many world ranking points does the Open Champion receive?

The winner of the Open Championship receives 100 world ranking points.

How many FedEx Cup points does the Open Champion receive?

The winner of the Open Championship receives 600 points.

What are the confirmed future sites in the Open rota?

Future sites have been confirmed through 2022. They are as follows:

2020: Royal St. George's Golf Club, Sandwich, England

2021: The Old Course at St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland

2022: Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, England

Who broadcasts the U.S. Open?

NBC signed a 12-year deal to broadcast the Open Championship, and this year will be its fourth televising the event, along with its cable network, Golf Channel.