For professional golf's next big tournament, the best players in the world will return to the sport's homeland. The British Open will be played over the weekend at The Turnberry Resort, an oceanfront course in Scotland. Legend has it that the game of golf originated in Scotland nearly 1,000 years ago!
The British Open: In Europe, golfers, fans and media refer to the tournament as The Open Championship. It has been played since 1860, the oldest of the four major golf tournaments (along with the Masters, the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship). The Open Championship is always played on some of the finest and oldest courses in Scotland and England, connecting the modern event with its storied past.
Seaside challenges: One of the most difficult aspects of the British Open is that it is typically played on "links" courses. These courses are usually on cliffs sitting high above the ocean. In Scotland and England, weather near the ocean can be very damp and windy. It can be difficult to play well in windy conditions. Many of these courses feature high grass growing out of sandy soil, making it hard to hit the ball out of the rough if you don't land on the fairway or green. This makes hitting straight shots more important than usual.
Harry Vardon: Like every old sporting event, the British Open's history is filled with colorful characters and great stories. Harry Vardon holds the all-time Open record, winning the championship six times. He only started playing the game when he was a teenager, but was such a good athlete that he turned professional when he was 20 years old. He won his first Open Championship in 1896, his last in 1924.
Old Tom Morris: Another famous British Open champion is a player named Old Tom Morris. Old Tom holds the record as the oldest champion, winning the tournament in 1867 at the age of 46. The very next year, his 17-year-old son won the tournament and remains the youngest British Open champ ever. His name? Young Tom Morris. Old and Young Tom Morris are the only father/son pair to win the tournament.
This year: At Turnberry this year, the most watched golfers will be Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington. Woods, always the favorite to play well in a major tournament, has won the British Open three times. Harrington, who is from Ireland and considers this his home tournament, has won the British Open the last two years.
The British Open is always one of the most entertaining sporting events of the year. It combines history with the best modern golfers in the world. And because of the unpredictable Scottish seaside weather, you never know what is going to happen.
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