Everything You Need To Know About The 150th Open Championship

The Open 150th

Do you know what a sesquicentenary is? It’s the 150th anniversary, which is exactly how old The Open Championship is: the world’s most historic and revered golf tournament. The 150th-anniversary edition begins today at St Andrews in Scotland, where Old Tom Morris – the Grandfather Of Golf – first made the sport famous in the mid-19th century.  

Whoever lifts the Claret Jug on Monday morning (Australian time) will become an instant legend. There have only been 87 winners in 150 years and 18 of them are set to play this week, including Tiger Woods, who pinpointed The Open as his first real chance of winning following his terrible car accident. Yes, he played the US Open, but he genuinely feels as if he has a chance this week.

For the golf purist, The Open is as good as it gets. St Andrews is the home of golf and not even Augusta National disputes this. It was where golf was born and raised.



RELATED: What It’s Like To Play At St Andrews

A History Lesson

Don’t call this The British Open, please. It’s ‘The Open’ and always will be. Why? Because when Old Tom Morris and seven other professional golfers assembled at Prestwick for the tournament in 1860, there was no other ‘Open’ in the world. They played three rounds of 12 holes in one day, and so The Open was born. 

Since then, the US Open, Japan Open, Australian Open and many others have followed suit, but the powers at Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews have always either referred to their tournament as The Open or The Open Championship. 

The Favourites

For the 150th edition of The Open, Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele headline the list of favourites for this year’s tournament. The latter has won his last two PGA Tour events, while McIlroy is the world No. 2 for a reason and knows this course like the back of his hand. Morikawa is the defending champion but earned a top-five finish at the recent US Open, and if he wins, will be the first man since Padraig Harrington in 2007-08 to win back-to-back Opens. 

All three are in red hot form and will play together in a star-studded three-ball on day one. Between them, they have six majors and an Olympic gold medal. 

What About Tiger?

It would be foolish to discount the greatest modern-day golfer. Though he struggles to walk freely for 18 holes, his golf is mostly not impacted by the crippling injuries he suffered in the car crash at the beginning of last year. 

Woods loves links golf, which is defined by large rolling fairways, and contours which have not been manufactured like a regular golf course. This was how golf was played in its earliest days and is most evident in the United Kingdom. 

US Open winner Matt Fitzpatrick will play alongside Woods on the first afternoon, as will Max Homa. Tiger is still the biggest name in golf, 22 years after he first won at St Andrews in 2000.

The Australians

There will be 11 Aussies competing at The Open, but one of them will not be Greg Norman, who was snubbed last month despite requesting to play. In addition to being blocked from competing, the two-time winner was also uninvited from the famous past winner’s dinner, thanks to his involvement in the LIV Series

World No.6 Cameron Smith is Australia’s best chance, though 2012 runner-up Adam Scott is worth a punt, as is Marc Leishman, who finished second in 2015. 

How To Watch

Fox Sports 505 will have 24/7 coverage of the tournament, with live play beginning at 3.30pm AEST on Thursday. Fox Sports 506 will also have a Featured Groups channel, which may be worth getting up on a second screen for full coverage. You’ll also be able to watch on Kayo, Foxtel Go and Foxtel Now. 

How It Works

On days one and two, 52 groups of three players per group will play 18 holes together. The groups remain the same for the first two days, until the field is cut in half for the last two days. 



At that point, the groupings are determined by the leaderboard and will change between Saturday and Sunday. In the event of a tie, the players will commence a four-hole stroke play-off. 

The Course

St Andrews is remarkably similar to what it was 150 years ago. What it lacks in length it makes up for with subtleties around the greens and bunkers. 

If the wind is blowing, the course can be a real challenge. But if conditions are perfect, scores could be very low. Some experts are even tipping the winner to score 20 under par if the sun is out, with a couple of par fours driveable if the wind is blowing the right way. 

The famous 17th hole is one of the most iconic in the golfing world. As a 452-metre par 4, the wind can cause havoc if players try to attack it the wrong way. The course is flanked by hotels and pubs on one side and St Andrews Bay on the other. It truly is a special place and somewhere every golfer should visit before they die.

Past 10 Winners

2021: Collin Morikawa (USA)

2020: Not held due to covid pandemic

2019: Shane Lowry (IRE)



2018: Francesco Molinari (ITA)

2017: Jordan Spieth (USA)

2016: Henrik Stenson (SWE)

2015: Zach Johnson (USA)

2014: Rory McIlroy (SCO)

2013: Phil Mickelson (USA)

2012: Ernie Els (RSA)

2011: Darren Clarke (IRE)