1962 British Open: Two In a Row for Arnie

A scoreboard showing Arnold Palmer and Kel Nagle scores during 1962 British Open
A slate scoreboard, marked in chalk, shows 1962 British Open winner Arnold Palmer three ahead of runner-up Kel Nagle. Palmer won by six. Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

When Arnold Palmer made his Open Championship debut in 1960, Kel Nagle spoiled it for him, beating Arnie by a stroke for the title. At the 1962 British Open, it was Palmer who finished first and Nagle who finished second - but it wasn't close. Palmer led Nagle by five entering the final round, and finished with a 6-stroke victory. Nagle was another seven shots ahead of the third-place golfers, Brian Huggett and Phil Rodgers.

So Palmer was 13 strokes better than the third-place finishers.

How dominant was Palmer? There were only five rounds in the 60s the entire tournament, and Palmer had three of them: He finished 69-67-69. (One of the others was by Huggett, and the fifth by Peter Alliss, who tied for eighth.)

It was Palmer's second consecutive win in the British Open, and Palmer was so popular that the R&A had to institute much more stringent crowd control measures in every Open after this one. Roping-and-staking of fairways, and fencing of course boundaries, began at the 1963 Open because Palmer had drawn so many fans to this one.

Palmer never finished higher than seventh in a British Open after this, and he won just one more major (the 1964 Masters). His victory here was Palmer's sixth of seven career majors.

Palmer was just the second golfer (after Ben Hogan in 1954) to win The Masters and the British Open in the same year.

And his 276 total lowered the tournament scoring record by two shots and stood until 1977.

Sam Snead played the British Open only five times. Two of those resulted in missed cuts when Snead was well past his prime. He finished 11th in 1937 and won in 1946. And here, in 1962, at age 50, Snead tied for sixth place.

And there was a significant - very significant - debut at the 1962 British Open. Jack Nicklaus made his Open Championship debut here, finishing tied for 32nd. Nicklaus had rounds of 80 and 79, and even scored a 10 on one hole. Nicklaus went on to win this tournament three times, with seven more second-place finishes.

A note about the British Open format: All players had to play two rounds of qualifying to get in. In other words, there were no exemptions into the field (and never had been in Open history). But this was the last Open where that was case. Exemptions were introduced the following year.

1962 British Open Golf Tournament Scores

Results from the 1962 British Open golf tournament played at the par-72 Troon Golf Club in Troon, Scotland (a-amateur):

Arnold Palmer71-69-67-69--276
Kel Nagle71-71-70-70--282
Brian Huggett75-71-74-69--289
Phil Rodgers75-70-72-72--289
Bob Charles75-70-70-75--290
Sam Snead76-73-72-71--292
Peter Thomson70-77-75-70--292
Peter Alliss77-69-74-73--293
Dave Thomas77-70-71-75--293
Syd Scott77-74-75-68--294
Ralph Moffitt75-70-74-76--295
Jean Garaialde76-73-76-71--296
Sebastian Miguel72-79-73-72--296
Harry Weetman75-73-73-75--296
Ross Whitehead74-75-72-75--296
Roger Foreman77-73-72-75--297
Bernard Hunt74-75-75-73--297
Denis Hutchinson78-73-76-70--297
Jimmy Martin73-72-76-76--297
Christy O'Connor Sr.74-78-73-72--297
John Panton74-73-79-71--297
Tony Coop76-75-75-72--298
Donald Swaelens72-79-74-74--299
Brian Bamford77-73-74-76--300
Lionel Platts76-75-78-71--300
Guy Wolstenholme78-74-76-72--300
Hugh Boyle73-78-74-76--301
Keith MacDonald69-77-76-79--301
George Low77-75-77-73--302
Harry Bradshaw72-75-81-75--303
Harold Henning74-73-79-77--303
Jimmy Hitchcock78-74-72-79--303
Doug Beattie72-75-79-78--304
Eric Brown74-78-79-74--305
Jack Nicklaus80-72-74-79--305
John Johnson76-74-81-76--307
Don Essig76-72-79-81--308
a-Charlie Green76-75-81-76--308
David Miller76-74-81-78--309

Return to list of British Open winners