Sanders' missed putt, 40 years later

July 13, 2010

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Doug Sanders must wince a bit every time the British Open returns to St. Andrews. It's been 40 years since the Sanders miss from 3 feet on a putt that would have won the 1970 Open at the Old Course -- Sanders lost a playoff to Jack Nicklaus the next day -- and the miss routinely comes up in conversation.

"It's all anybody wants to talk about," Sanders told Golf Digest's Guy Yocom in 2003. "I won 20 times on the PGA Tour, and if you gave me one birdie, four pars and a bogey wherever I could put them, I'd have five majors. But it's that putt everybody remembers. What can I say? It's what I remember most, too."

People who collect golf memorabilia might grimace at the following story. Twenty-five years after Sanders' miss, when the Open returned to St. Andrews, longtime Golf Digest contributor Peter Dobereiner recalled the aftermath of Sanders' fateful day in 1970. "His caddie made the rounds of the St. Andrews hostelries that evening and got a good price for the ball that refused to drop," Dobereiner wrote. "By midnight, 24 people were the proud owners of the grisly souvenir that did Doug Sanders in."

-- Mike O'Malley