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British Open: Who has won the Claret Jug the most times in the last 150 years?

As the oldest and arguably most prestigious tournament in golf, it’s an honor just to play in the British Open far less win it. Imagine doing so more than once.

Update:
As the oldest and arguably most prestigious tournament in golf, it’s an honor just to play in the British Open far less win it. Imagine doing so more than once.
ANDY BUCHANANAFP

The British Open is the oldest golf tournament in the world, with the first one staged in 1860. Since then, it has established itself as one of the most revered tournaments in the sport, with its Claret Jug a coveted prize for all golfers.

From a Belt to a Jug

While it might seem strange, the winners of the Open Championship in its formative years weren’t blessed with the opportunity to lift the famous trophy. Indeed, When the contest was founded In 1860, the champion was given a Challenge Belt made of red leather with a silver buckle, and only those that won it three times in succession would be allowed to keep it. In 1872, the organizers of the tournament decided to change the prize to a silver claret jug, to be officially called the Gold Champion Trophy. From a field of eight participants in 1860, there are now 156 players from all over the globe who are fighting it out at the 2022 British Open being held at the St. Andrews Old Course.

So, who has won the British Open the most times?

As one of the most challenging links courses in golf, the terrain at St. Andrews is as demanding as it is challenging, and that’s precisely why any man who has won the British Open is by default among golf’s elite. To win it several times, however, is something completely different. With no further ado, here are the men who have won the British Open the most times.

Henry Vardon

Henry Vardon was born in Jersey to a family of modest means, and his early interest in the sport was not supported by his father. He moved to England to pursue a career in golf and started as a greenskeeper to be able to work on his ambitions. He eventually became a club professional, and in 1896 he won the first of what would be six Claret Jugs. This tally still stands as the biggest number of Open Championships won.


Tom Watson

American player Tom Watson is a decorated golfer who made his mark in the 1970s and 1980s. His dominance during this period is made apparent by the five Claret Jugs he won between 1975 and 1983. He also won the Masters in 1977 and 1981, and the US Open in 1982.

Peter Thomson

Australian Peter Thomson is tied with Watson at five Open Championship titles. He holds the distinction of being the only player in the modern era to have won a major for three consecutive years, which he did in 1954,1955, and 1956. He won the other two Claret Jugs in 1958 and 1965.

John Henry Taylor

John Henry Taylor was an English golfer who is considered one of the pioneers of the modern version of the game. He has also won the trophy five times, the victories taking place from 1894 to 1913. Aside from being an excellent player, Taylor was also involved in designing golf courses all over his country.

James Braid

James Braid of Scotland was part of what was known as the “Great Triumvirate” of the sport in its early years. The other two were Vardon and Taylor. Braid likewise won the British Open Championship five times and has been inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. He embarked on what would become a very successful career in golf course design.

Honorable mentions

Today tournaments boast fields that are much bigger and a list of courses around the globe that seems to increase with each passing year. That’s not to say that the achievements of those who went before are somehow worth less. Nonetheless, what is certain is that staying on top of the competition for years on end is something we see less and less. At any rate, there are a handful of men who have come close such as Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Steve Ballesteros, and Tiger Woods, all of whom have three to their names.