1933 British Open: Playoff Win for Shute

1933 Open Championship winner Denny Shute
Denny Shute, winner of the 1933 British Open. Louis Van Oeyen/Western Reserve Historical Society/Getty Images

Denny Shute defeated Craig Wood in a playoff to win the 1933 British Open at St. Andrews. The two Americans got into that playoff with a little help from the third-round leaders they were chasing: Leo Diegel, Henry Cotton, Abe Mitchell and Syd Easterbrook.

Shute began the final round three strokes behind that quartet of leaders, and Wood one stroke behind. But Diegel and Easterbrook carded 77s, and Cotton and Mitchell 79s.

Shute's 73 moved him atop the leaderboard, and Wood's 75 was good enough to get him into the playoff as well.

The following day, Shute claimed the Open title by five strokes over Wood in the 36-hole playoff. Shute shot 75 in the morning 18 to Wood's 78, then beat Wood again in the afternoon 18, 74 to 76. The final score in the playoff was 149 for Shute, 154 for Wood.

Shute later added a pair of PGA Championship wins for three career majors. Wood won a pair of majors, too, but not before losing playoffs at all four professional majors; his playoff loss at the 1933 British Open was the first of those playoff losses in majors for Wood.

Diegel, who won a pair of PGA Championships, too, could have joined Wood and Shute in the playoff but, according to the R&A's history, whiffed a putt on the 72nd green. The R&A history describes the 2-putt attempt:

"(Diegel) left the first putt virtually stone dead and crouched over the ball in his familiar style with elbows splayed wide, forearms parallel with the ground. Renowned golf correspondent Bernard Darwin reported that he missed 'by the widest possible margin.' He had, in fact, missed the ball completely. An air shot with the putter."

The R&A history also notes that during the playoff, Wood blasted a 440-yard drive. We can only guess that the Old Course fairways were mighty firm in 1933, and that Wood had a big tailwind.

Defending champion Gene Sarazen finished tied for third place, one out of the playoff.

1933 British Open Scores

Results from the 1933 British Open golf tournament played on The Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland (x-won playoff; a-amateur):

x-Denny Shute73-73-73-73--292
Craig Wood77-72-68-75--292
Leo Diegel75-70-71-77--293
Syd Easterbrook73-72-71-77--293
Gene Sarazen72-73-73-75--293
Olin Dutra76-76-70-72--294
Henry Cotton73-71-72-79--295
Ed Dudley70-71-76-78--295
Abe Mitchell74-68-74-79--295
Alf Padgham74-73-74-74--295
Reg Whitcombe76-75-72-72-- 295
Archie Compston72-74-77-73--296
Ernest Whitcombe73-73-75-75--296
Auguste Boyer76-72-70-79--297
Arthur Havers80-72-71-74--297
Joe Kirkwood72-73-71-81--297
Horton Smith73-73-75-76--297
Aubrey Boomer74-70-76-78--298
a-Jack McLean75-74-75-74--298
a-Cyril Tolley70-73-76-79--298
Laurie Ayton Sr.78-72-76-74--300
Bert Gadd75-73-73-80--301
Walter Hagen68-72-79-82--301
D.C. Jones75-72-78-76--301
Fred Robertson71-71-77-82--301
Alf Perry79-73-74-76--302
Allan Dailey74-74-77-78--303
a-C. Ross Somerville72-78-75-79--304
William Spark73-72-79-80--304
Charlie Ward76-73-76-79--304
John Cruikshank73-75-79-78--305
Frank Dennis74-73-77-81--305
William Nolan71-75-79-80--305
Roland Vickers73-77-79-76--305
a-George Dunlap72-74-80-80--306
Bertram Weastell72-78-77-79--306
Stewart Burns74-74-76-83--307
John Busson74-72-81-80--307
Don Curtis74-75-74-84--307
Tom Dobson78-74-77-78--307
Joe Ezar77-72-77-81--307
Fred Robson76-76-79-76--307
William Twine73-74-80-80--307
William H. Davies74-72-80-82--308
William Davis74-75-80-79--308
Ernest Kenyon76-75-77-80--308
Tom Williamson75-76-79-78--308
Jimmy Adams75-77-76-81--309
Cecil Denny74-78-72-85--309
Gabriel Gonzales75-72-76-86--309
James McDowall75-73-81-80--309
William Smith77-73-74-85--309
a-Andrew Jamieson75-75-76-84--310
Johnny Farrell77-71-84-79--311
Herbert Jolly71-78-80-82--311
John McMillan77-74-80-81--312
Henry Sales75-77-76-88--316
Cyril Thomson76-74-86-88--324

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