Tiger, Rory and an Infamous Argentine: A History of The Open at Royal Liverpool

The annual rotation of the host venues for the Open Championship can feel like it takes a lifetime to turn, but finally the final major of the calendar year returns to the Royal Liverpool Club in Merseyside, England.

All told, Royal Liverpool has hosted The Open on 12 different occasions – only Royal St George’s Club has welcomed the tournament more times outside of Scotland, so it goes without saying that there’s plenty of history and heritage to explore.

A New Record?

The record lowest score in The Open is -20, which was carded by both Cameron Smith at St Andrews last year and Henrik Stenson at Royal Troon in 2016.

Could that record be beaten in 2023? It’s certainly possible when you look at the quality of the field, with those enjoying a golf bet or two having to choose from the odds between Rory McIlroy (15/2), Scottie Scheffler (8/1), Jon Rahm (9/1), Smith (16/1) and other players with a genuine chance of lifting the Claret Jug.

One player not listed in those Open odds 2023 is Tiger Woods: it has been confirmed that he will not compete at Royal Liverpool as he continues his rehabilitation following surgery on his leg.

The big cat knows exactly what it takes to win at this coastal track, posting a score of -18 to prevail by two shots from Chris DiMarco back in 2006, while eight years later it was Rory’s turn to get his hands on the Claret Jug – that victory at -17 remains the Irishman’s only Open Championship win.

The sport of golf has moved on a long way in the past decade or so, with extra driving distance challenging officials at ancient venues like Royal Liverpool to come up with ways to prevent The Open from becoming a birdie fest. It remains to be seen if that will be the case in 2023 with that -20 record on the line…

A Lot of History

Royal Liverpool was only the second venue outside of Scotland to host The Open Championship, with Harold Hilton taking the spoils way back in 1897.

There would be another five editions of The Open at Royal Liverpool over the next three decades, with greats of the game like Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones entering the winner’s circle on the west coast of England.

In 1956, Peter Thomsen would win his third Open Championship at Royal Liverpool – his career haul of five was a post-war record until it was matched by Tom Watson in 1983.

Roberto di Vincenzo became the first South American player to win The Open in 1967 at the sprightly age of 44. With 229 professional wins worldwide, the Argentine enjoyed an extraordinary career – although he will always be remembered for signing the wrong scorecard at the 1968 Masters; if he hadn’t, he would have qualified for a play-off against the champion, Bob Goalby, instead.

There would be a near 40-year wait for The Open to return to Royal Liverpool, with the venue witnessing two greats of the modern game lifting the Claret Jug there since. Will a third add their name to the wall of winners in 2023?

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