All-Time Bests From the British Open

Greg Norman waving to the crowd at the 1986 Open Championship

Simon Bruty / Getty Images

Which golfers hold the tournament records at the British Open? You can browse through various categories—wins, scores, youngest/oldest, and more—to view the tournament's top golfers. You can also find more historical facts and figures on the British Open FAQ and British Open Winners pages.

Most Victories

Vardon and Jack Nicklaus (at The Masters) are the only 6-time winners at any of golf's four professional majors.

Most Second-Place Finishes

  • 7: Jack Nicklaus, 1964, 1967, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1977, 1979
  • 6: J.H. Taylor, 1896, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1914

Nicklaus had three victories to go along with his seven runner-up finishes, and those seven second-place finishes are the record at any of the four majors.

Scoring Records

Here are the tournament records that relate to scores: overall totals plus 18-hole and 9-hole scores, along with a few relating to margins, comebacks and the like.

Lowest Winning Scores

  • 264: Henrik Stenson, Royal Troon, 2016
  • 267: Greg Norman, Royal St George's, 1993
  • 268: Tom Watson, Turnberry, 1977
  • 268: Nick Price, Turnberry, 1994
  • 268: Jordan Spieth, Royal Birkdale, 2017
  • 269: Tiger Woods, St. Andrews, 2000
  • 270: Nick Faldo, St. Andrews, 1990; Tiger Woods, Royal Liverpool, 2006

Lowest Winning Scores in Relation to Par

  • 20-under: Henrik Stenson, Royal Troon, 2016
  • 19-under: Tiger Woods, St Andrews, 2000
  • 18-under: Nick Faldo, St Andrews, 1990
  • 18-under: Tiger Woods, Hoylake, 2006

    Lowest 72-Hole Scores by Amateurs

    • 281: Iain Pyman, Royal St George's, 1993
    • 281: Tiger Woods, Royal Lytham, 1996
    • 282: Justin Rose, Royal Birkdale, 1998
    • 282: Matteo Manassero, Turnberry, 2009
    • 283: Guy Wolstenhome, St Andrews, 1960
    • 283: Lloyd Saltman, St Andrews, 2005

    Lowest 18-Hole Score

    • 62: Branden Grace, third round, Royal Birkdale, 2017
    • 63: Mark Hayes, second round, Turnberry, 1977
    • 63: Isao Aoki, third round, Muirfield, 1980
    • 63: Greg Norman, second round, Turnberry, 1986
    • 63: Paul Broadhurst, third round, St. Andrews, 1990
    • 63: Jodie Mudd, fourth round, Royal Birkdale, 1991
    • 63: Nick Faldo, second round, Royal St. George's, 1993
    • 63: Payne Stewart, fourth round, Royal St George's, 1993
    • 63: Rory McIlroy, first round, St. Andrews, 2010
    • 63: Phil Mickelson, first round, Royal Troon, 2016
    • 63: Henrik Stenson, fourth round, Royal Troon, 2016
    • 63: Haotong Li, fourth round, Royal Birkdale, 2017

    Lowest 9-Hole Score
    28: Denis Durnian, front nine, Royal Birkdale, 1983

    Largest Margin of Victory

    • 13 strokes: Old Tom Morris, 1862
    • 12 strokes: Young Tom Morris, 1870
    • 11 strokes: Young Tom Morris, 1869
    • 8 strokes: J.H. Taylor, 1900
    • 8 strokes: J.H. Taylor, 1913
    • 8 strokes: James Braid, 1908
    • 8 strokes: Tiger Woods 2000

    Biggest Final-Round Comeback to Win
    10 strokes: Paul Lawrie, 1999 (Lawrie began the final round 10 shots off the lead)

    Biggest 54-Hole Lead Lost
    5 strokes: Macdonald Smith, 1925; Jean Van de Velde, 1999

    Most Career Rounds in the 60s

    • 39: Ernie Els
    • 37: Nick Faldo
    • 33: Jack Nicklaus

    Age-Related Records

    Following are records relating to the youngest and oldest champions, plus the youngest/oldest to play in this major.

    Oldest Winners

    • Old Tom Morris, 1867, 46 years 99 days
    • Roberto de Vicenzo, 1967, 44 years 93 days
    • Harry Vardon, 1914, 44 years 41 days

    Youngest Winners

    • Young Tom Morris, 1868, 17 years 5 months 8 days
    • Willie Auchterlonie, 1893, 21 years 24 days
    • Seve Ballesteros, 1979, 22 years 3 months 12 days

    Youngest Competitor

    • Young Tom Morris, 14 years 4 months, 25 days, 1865

    Oldest Competitor

    • Old Tom Morris, 74 years, 11 months, 24 days, 1896
    • Gene Sarazen, 74 years, 4 months, 9 days, 1976

    Top Finishes

    Here are few more victory-related tournament records at the Open Championship:

    Players Who Won the Open in Three Decades

    • Harry Vardon - 1896, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1911, 1914
    • J.H. Taylor - 1894, 1895, 1900, 1909, 1913
    • Gary Player - 1959, 1968, 1974

    Longest Span Between First and Last Wins

    • 19 years: J.H. Taylor, 1894 – 1913
    • 18 years: Harry Vardon, 1896 – 1914
    • 15 years: Gary Player, 1959 – 74
    • 15 years: Willie Park, 1860-75
    • 14 years: Henry Cotton, 1934 - 48

    Wire-to-Wire Winners
    Leading after all four rounds, including ties for the lead:

    • Harry Vardon, 1899
    • J.H. Taylor, 1900
    • Harry Vardon, 1903
    • Lee Trevino, 1971
    • Gary Player, 1974

    Holding the outright lead after each round:

    Most Consecutive Wins

    • 4 in a row: Young Tom Morris, 1868-72 (tournament not played in 1871)
    • 3 in a row: Jamie Anderson, 1877-79
    • 3: Bob Ferguson, 1880-82
    • 3: Peter Thomson, 1954-56

    Most Top-5 Finishes

    • 16: J.H Taylor
    • 16: Jack Nicklaus
    • 15: Harry Vardon
    • 15: James Braid

    Miscellaneous Records

    Most Appearances

    • 46: Gary Player
    • 38: Jack Nicklaus

    Most Frequent Venues