1989 Trial by Fire. After Mark Calcavecchia had prevailed in the historic playoff by stacking a five-iron shot on the final hole, some said that he had also won the first major played on pavement—in the 2½ months before the '89 British Open, it had rained only three times at Royal Troon. The dry conditions destroyed the rough, baked the fairways and sent scores plummeting. Payne Stewart set the course record on Saturday with a 65, and Greg Norman broke it on Sunday with a nine-birdie 64.
1982 Paying the Price. Had a 25-year-old Nick Price kept his composure over the last six holes of the '82 Open, he might have been more than just a blip on golf's radar screen for the rest of the decade. Instead, Price had to wait another 10 years, until he won the '92 PGA, to make his mark on the game. At Troon, Price held a three-shot lead over Tom Watson when he reached the 13th tee in the final round. Price drove into the heather and bogeyed the hole, then doubled the 15th when he skulled a sand shot. Tied with Watson, who waited in the clubhouse, Price missed a five-footer for par at the 17th to give Watson his fourth British Open title in eight years.
1973 Love-Hate Relationship. Taking advantage of the calm but damp conditions, Tom Weiskopf tied Arnold Palmer's British Open scoring record of 276 to win his only major—on a course he admitted he hated. Heeding the advice Jack Nicklaus had given him before the final round ("Whatever you do, don't play Johnny Miller, play the course"), Weiskopf survived an early charge by Miller and won by three shots.
1962 Royal Treatment. Palmer played what he called the best four rounds of his career, trouncing Kel Nagle by six shots and the rest of the field by 13 while successfully defending his title. Palmer's third-round 67, which featured four birdies in five holes on the back nine, was a British Open record. Nicklaus, playing in his first Open, made a 10 at the Railway, the 11th hole, in the first round and shot 80.
1950 Locke Step. Many consider Bobby Locke of South Africa to be the greatest putter of all time, but he won this Open, his second straight, because he missed only two fairways all week. Not that he didn't overcome some adversity. On the par-3 5th hole in the second round, Locke missed the green by 20 yards, stubbed his pitch into a bunker, took two shots to get out and two-putted for a triple-bogey 6. Locke made up those strokes, though, and won by two over Roberto de Vicenzo.
1923 Haig Ultra. Walter Hagen had created a stir while winning the Open the previous year when, disdainful of the locker room at Royal St. Georges, he pulled his Rolls Royce up to the 1st tee and changed his clothes inside. In '23 Arthur Havers, a club pro whose only brush with fame had come 10 years earlier when he qualified for the Open as a 16-year-old, kept Hagen from winning three straight. (Hagen also won in '24, at Hoylake.) Havers shot three 73s, then put up an early 76 and watched from the gallery as Hagen tried to shoot the 74 that would tie. Needing a birdie on the final hole, Hagen sliced his approach into a bunker. Dramatically, he asked for the pin to be removed before he hit his sand shot, and just missed.