5 Best Opens at Carnoustie
1.Ben Hogan in 1953
It was the “Hawk’s” only appearance in The Open and he came away with the Claret Jug. After his near fatal car wreck in 1949, Hogan concentrated on the Masters and the U.S. Open. In 1953, he won both of those majors and decided to make the trip to Scotland. Huge galleries followed him and he did not disappoint with rounds of 73, 71, 70 and 68 for a total of 282 and a four stroke victory. It was the ninth and final Major of Hogan’s storied career and he vowed he would return, but never did.
2.Tom Watson in 1975
It was Watson’s debut at the Open Championship and he captured the Claret Jug in an 18-hole playoff. Watson would go on to dominate the Open with five victories in nine years. In the rain, Watson beat Australian Jack Newton 71-72 in a tight match in the play-off. During regulation play, Watson played exceptionally well on the front nine in the final round, posting a 35, but the wind picked up and he struggled with three 3-putts in a row. Newton missed a 20-foot putt for birdie on No. 18 that would have secured victory.
3.Gary Player in 1968
The Black Knight hit one of the greatest shots of his illustrious career to win the Open by two strokes over former Open Champions Jack Nicklaus and Bob Charles. The amazing shot came in the final round on the par 5, No. 14 hole. Playing into a furious wind, Player hit a 3-wood with all his strength and the ball ended up two feet from the hole. Player easily putted in for eagle.
4.Paul Lawrie in 1999
Walter Hagen once commented: “No one remembers who came in second.” That’s typically true, but not at the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie. Lawrie is definitely the forgotten champion at Carnoustie. Most people remember the 1999 Open Championship as the one frenchman Jean van de Velde frittered away with a massive meltdown on the 18th hole. Van de Velde arrived at the 18th hole on the final day with what seemed like an insurmountable three stroke lead. With a series of comical shots he ended up with a triple-bogey 7. At that point, unbelievably, he hadn’t totally blown it entirely. He ended up in a a play-off with Justin Leonard and Lawrie. Amazingly, Lawrie had come all the way back from 10 strokes down before the final round began.
5.Padraig Harrington 2007
Harrington started the final round six shots behind third round leader Sergio Garcia. Harrington putted beautifully in the final round and finished with a 67. Garcia struggled mightily on the outward nine with a 38, but he righted the ship on the back nine with a 35. In fact, after Harrington made bogey on No. 18, Garcia missed a birdie putt which would have given him the Claret Jug. Harrington was the first Irish winner of The Open since Fred Daly sixty years earlier.