#6 THE GOLDEN BEAR’S GRAND SLAM 1966
Jack Nicklaus completed his first career Grand Slam at the 1966
Open Championship at Muirfield in Scotland, edging Doug Sanders
and Dave Thomas by a stroke. Nicklaus would later name the course
he built in Dublin, Ohio, Muirfield in honor of that achievement.
For Sanders, who never won a major, it was the first of two times
Nicklaus denied him the Open. He would also finish runner-up to
Nicklaus at the 1970 Open at St. Andrews when Sanders missed a
short putt on the 72nd hole that would have won the tournament.
#7 SEVE’S WILD BREAKTHROUGH 1979
Three years after finishing second in the 1976 Open at Royal Birkdale as
a 19-year-old, Seve Ballesteros captured his first major championship at
the 1979 tournament at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. The way in which he
won helped cement his reputation for creativity on the course. Ballesteros
sprayed the ball all over the course the final round, missing eight of nine
fairways with his driver. His tee shot on the 16th landed in a temporary
parking lot, so he had a car moved, took a drop, and hit his approach to 15
feet and made birdie. When he signed for a 70, he was the winner by three
strokes over Jack Nicklaus and Ben Crenshaw.
#8 CHAMPAGNE’S ON TONY 1964
Tony Lema was one of golf’s brightest young stars when he arrived at
St. Andrews for the 1964 Open. The 30-year-old former Marine had won
eight PGA Tour tournaments since 1962 when he arrived in Scotland.
The fun-loving Lema was nicknamed “Champagne” Tony Lema after he
told reporters at a 1962 Tour stop that if he won he would he would serve
champagne. He did, and he paid up. He dominated that Open, winning by
six strokes over Jack Nicklaus. Ironically, two-time defending champion
Arnold Palmer skipped the 1964 tournament and his caddie toted for
Lema. Lema died two years later in a small plane crash. He was 32.
#9 FALDO’S RECORD RUN 1990
Nick Faldo won three British Opens in a six-year span, and none as
convincing as the 1990 Championship at St. Andrews. It was Faldo’s
second major of his career, having won The Masters earlier in the
season. He put on a record-setting run on the Old Course, setting a new
scoring record in relation to par of 18 under (later bettered by Tiger
Woods in 2000). Faldo opened with a rounds of 67-65-67 to build a
commanding lead, and then cruised to a final-round 71 for a five-stroke victory over runners-up Payne Stewart and Mark McNulty.
#10 SLAMMIN’ SAMMY’S POST-WAR WIN 1946
As Sam Snead rode a train into St. Andrews, for the 1946 Open, he
reportedly looked out the window and said, “Say, that looks like an old,
abandoned golf course.” In fact, it was the Old Course, and by week’s
end, he was hoisting the Claret Jug. It was only Snead’s second appearance in the championship (he wouldn’t return again until 1962), and it
was the first one played since 1939 due to World War II. That meant Dick
Burton, the 1939 winner, held the trophy for seven years. Snead won by
four shots over Johnny Bulla and Bobby Locke.
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