Which Golfer Won the Most British Open Championships?

British Open FAQs: Most-frequent winner

6-time British Open winner Harry Vardon pictured in 1920
Harry Vardon (pictured in 1920) won the most British Open titles with six. Bettmann/Getty Images

Only one golfer has more than five British Open victories, and that golfer is Harry Vardon. Vardon won the Open Championship a record-setting six times.

Vardon's first British Open win was in 1896. He won again in 1898, 1899 and 1903. In 1903 Vardon was diagnosed with tuberculosis, and his golf game deteriorated. But he made a remarkable comeback by winning the British Open again in 1911, No. 5, and then winning his sixth Open Championship in 1914.

Vardon's 6 Wins in the Open Championship

You can read more about each of Vardon's wins (and view the final scores from each) by clicking on a year:

  • 1896 British Open: Vardon won a playoff against J.H. Taylor.
  • 1898 British Open: One-stroke victory by Vardon over Willie Park Jr.
  • 1899 British Open: Vardon won by five strokes over runner-up Jack White.
  • 1903 British Open: Vardon's second wire-to-wire win, he beat his brother Tom, the runner-up, by six shots.
  • 1911 British Open: Another playoff win for Vardon, this time over Arnaud Massy.
  • 1914 British Open: Vardon's final Open win was, just as his first, over runner-up J.H. Taylor.

With the exception of Tom Vardon, the runners-up in Harry Vardon's Open wins were themselves past or future Open champions.

Vardon's 2nd-Place and Top 10 Finishes in the Open

Vardon finished second in four other Open Championships:

  • 1900 British Open: Vardon was second to J.H. Taylor, but a whopping eight strokes back.
  • 1901 British Open: Finished three strokes behind James Braid.
  • 1902 British Open: Tied with Braid, one behind winner Sandy Herd.
  • 1912 British Open: Lost by four shots to Ted Ray.

And Vardon had a total of 20 Top 10 finishes in the Open. That included 15 years in a row from 1894--1908, and 19 out of 21 years from 1894-1914.

Other Big British Open Winners

While Vardon is the only golfer with six Open victories, there are four 5-time champions:

Along with Vardon, Braid and Taylor made up the "Great Triumvirate" of British golfers. From 1894 through 1914, those three golfers won all but five of the Opens played.

The only other golfer to win one of the professional majors more than five times is Jack Nicklaus, a 6-time Masters champion.

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