British Open Golf - a history

The Open Championship, known outside the United Kingdom as the British Open, is golf's longest running, and arguably most prestigious, major tournament. It is the only one of the four majors - the others are The Masters, The PGA Championship and the US Open Championship - to take place outside of the United States. Each year, on the third weekend in July, it's played on a different links course in Scotland or England.

The current British Open golf champion is Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke, who won the 2011 championship at Royal St George's Golf Club. The golfer with the most British Open wins is Harry Vardon from Jersey, who claimed the title six times between 1896 and 1914. In more recent times, Tiger Woods, Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros have all won the trophy - called the Claret Jug - a total of three times. American Tom Watson holds the record for the most Open championships since the 1970s, with five wins between 1975 and 1983.

The very first British Open took place at Prestwick Golf Club in Ayrshire, Scotland on 17th October 1860. It was won by Willie Park Senior, who beat favourite, Old Tom Morris, by two strokes. There was no Open Championship during the First and Second World Wars, meaning the 2012 Open will be the 141st event in the tournament's history.

The 2011 Open offered a prize fund of £5 million, with £900,000 allocated to the winner. The venue for the 2012 British Open is the Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club in Lytham St Annes in Lancashire.

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