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The 150th Open: Our Standout Open Championship Memories

Time to make your excuses and cancel all your plans. The historic 150th Open Championship is ready to spark into life at the most famous venue of them all - The Old Course at St Andrews.

In a fitting end to the 2022 major championship season, the world's best golfers have descended upon the sleepy seaside town on the Scottish east coast to battle it out for the Claret Jug.

In all honesty, the thought of The Open's return to the home of golf has been getting us pumped for months. As a result, we've been trawling through some of our most vivid memories from bygone championships.

You can check out a handful of them below.

Tiger Woods, 2000

The new millennium brought us all an era of Tiger Woods dominance that arguably surpassed anything we had seen before. In 2000 he was at his peak when he obliterated the field at St Andrews to win his first Claret Jug and complete the second leg of his eventual 'Tiger Slam'.

The image of a young, fresh-faced Tiger kissing the most famous trophy in golf is one that we can all instantly recall.

Seve Ballesteros, 1984

Another enduring Open Championship image we love is that of a youthful Seve Ballesteros fist-pumping his way to his second of three victories.

The Spaniard birdied his 72nd hole with a masterful 15-foot putt and was initially oblivious that Tom Watson was having trouble with the Road Hole bunker on 17 on his way to a final round 73.

It was a drama-filled day at St Andrews, but Seve's joyous fist-pump is what we will always remember the '84 Open Championship for.

Tiger Woods & Jack Nicklaus, 2005

It's that man again. Tiger Woods went wire-to-wire in 2005 to win the second of his three Claret Jugs by five shots, but the warmest reception was held for Jack Nicklaus, who that year played in his last Open Championship.

By the end of the second round, Tiger had amassed a four-shot lead over Colin Montgomerie, but any thoughts of his tenth major title took a back seat as the golf world said farewell to a true great of the game.

Around 50,000 spectators showed up on Friday for Nicklaus' own second round to pay tribute to the 18-time major champion. The images of the outgoing legend on the Swilican Bridge soaking in the deserving 10-minute standing ovation will live with many of us forever.

In true Golden Bear style, he went on to birdie the final hole, and by the time he headed off 18, there was hardly a dry eye on the links.

Jordan Spieth, 2017

The 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale offered up one of the more bizarre scenes in major championship history.

On the par-4 13th hole, Jordan Spieth sent his ball right off the tee - and by 'right', we mean 'off the planet right'. When his ball was finally located, it wasn't in the healthiest of positions, so he took an unplayable lie and requested a line of sight ruling.

And then the fun started.

For the next 20 minutes, Spieth and his caddie Michael Greller were trying to find a suitable place to take their relief. Their journey took them as far back as the driving range - after receiving clarification that it wasn't OB - and Greller was sent on a mountainous mission to get a yardage and the line to the green.

Eventually, Spieth hit a beautiful third shot short of the greenside bunker. He then showed nerves of steel to get up-and-down for a bogey five, and an imperious final five holes sealed the deal.

Jean Van De Velde, 1999

Next up is one of those "I can remember it like it was yesterday" moments. When you tend to recall a tournament for the guy who lost it rather than the guy who won, you know something pretty seismic has taken place.

In 1999, Jean Van de Velde had a three-shot lead on the 18th tee during the final round. What can only be described as a comedy of errors ensued.

After getting lucky with the tee shot, he ploughed his second off the grandstand and back into heavy rough. Things went from bad to worse as his next shot went into the Barry Burn. Rather than take a penalty drop, Van de Velde astonishingly rolled up his sleeves, took off his shoes, and considered playing the ball.

After coming to his senses, he would eventually card a 7, securing a playoff with Justin Leonard and eventual champion Paul Lawrie.

The sad situation in the Barry Burn was brought to life by the brilliant commentary of the late, great Peter Alliss, who said:

What are you doing? What on Earth are you doing? No Jean, please. Would someone kindly go and stop him. Give him a large brandy and mop him down.

Tom Watson, 2009

As golfing heartbreaks go, it's unlikely we will see anything as agonising as Tom Watson's near-miss back in 2009.

The 59-year-old rolled back the years by playing some spectacular golf around the Ailsa Course of the Turnberry Resort. With 71 holes complete, he only needed to par the final hole to win and become the oldest major champion in the game's history. He missed and went on to lose in a playoff to Stewart Cink.

Watson perfectly summed up his four days when asked to provide a headline for the press moments after the event, saying:

The old fogey almost did it.

Tommy Nakajima, 1978

In 1978, the Japanese golfer Tommy Nakajima had his own calamitous run-in with the Road Hole bunker at St Andrews.

He was just one shot off the lead during his third round when he found the sand. It took him four attempts to escape, finishing the hole with a tragic quintuple bogey which put an end to any hopes of lifting the Claret Jug.

The encounter would lead to the sandtrap gaining a new nickname - the 'Sands of Nakajima'.

Adam Scott, 2012

It seems we're on a streak of historic heartbreak, and Adam Scott's is arguably the most painful - it's certainly viewed as one of the worst collapses in major history.

We don't particularly like using the word 'choke', but it's hard to call the Aussie's final four holes of the 2012 Open Championship anything else. After playing some great golf for the first three days, he ultimately fell short after a gut-wrenching four straight bogeys to finish the tournament.

The Economist magazine devised a system for calculating the probability of a player winning a tournament at any time. Before teeing off on the 15th hole of his final round, Scott had a 98.6 per cent chance of winning his first Open title.

The history books will forever show that he didn't - and despite being unflappable for much of that week - he did choke and ultimately allowed Ernie Els in to win his second Claret Jug.


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