7 Reasons To Love The Open

Here's a look at some of the reasons why we love The Open Championship

(Image credit: Getty Images)

With The 149th Open Championship almost upon us, we look at seven key reasons why we all love this, the greatest individual tournament in our sport.

7 Reasons To Love The Open

The Open heads to Royal St George's in 2021, with an estimated 30,000 fans attending the event daily as Covid restrictions continue to ease.

With a fantastic event in store, the Open Championship is one of our favourite weeks on the golfing calendar so, in this piece, we have taken a look at seven reasons why we love the tournament.

1 – The Links

Looking back from behind the eighth green at Royal St. George’s

There is nothing in world golf to compare to the links. The unpredictable nature of the terrain and the weather makes for compelling competition and enthralling viewing.

The conditions demand the players display creativity and employ a clear strategy. And, with the courses having been in existence for, sometimes, hundreds of years, they merge in as part of the landscape rather than having been thrust upon it.

Related - The 14 Open Championship Venues

2 – The History

Bobby Jones 1927

Bobby Jones 1927

This will be the 149th Open Championship, a tournament first contested in 1860. Over those years, the event has been won at some point by almost all of the legends of our sport.

From Old Tom Morris to Harry Vardon, Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones to Hogan, Palmer, Nicklaus, Player, Watson, Ballesteros and Woods, this tournament represents the pinnacle of the men’s game.

Each player will feel the weight of that great history resting on his shoulders when he tees it up in front of the returning patrons. It makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck…

3 – The Qualifying Process

Why We Love The Open

Deyen Lawson, Connor Worsdall and Sam Forgan qualify for the Open Championship. (Photo by David Cannon/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

There are a huge number of routes into the tournament and, because of the regional and final qualifying tournaments, it remains “open.” Young guys who have never played in a professional event before have earned the right to compete against the very best players on planet golf over one of the world’s most historic golf courses… That’s pretty cool.

4 – All Day Golf

Ivor Robson - "I'm here all day..."

Ivor Robson - "I'm here all day..."

No Ivor this year (he retired at St Andrews in 2015) but there’s nothing better than a proper championship such as this when, come Thursday, the first three-ball will strike off at 6.35am and the last group won’t get going until 4.16pm.

If they take five hours (which, sadly they probably will,) that will mean almost 15 hours of golf! And, through the various media channels available, you’ll be able to watch, or follow, all of it.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Sandwich this week – you could (theoretically) be out on the links to catch all 15 hours of live action… although you might have to be stretchered off at the end of it.

5 – The Buzz

Although it won't be the case this year, due to Covid, wherever The Open travels to, the town or surrounding area usually becomes consumed by Open fever.

Whether it's St Andrews or Southport, Sandwich or St Annes, golf takes over for a week and local businesses, pubs, restaurants and shops embrace the sport.

People arrive from all over the world to watch and be part of this great event, and the buzz of excitement is palpable. People who wouldn’t normally even think of the golf talk about the favourites, the weather conditions and who will be the surprise of the tournament… The event energises the people and place.

6 – The Inevitable Unlikely Contender

Young amateur Tom Lewis was co-leader after one round in 2011

Young amateur Tom Lewis was co-leader after one round in 2011

It seems like every year, a little known, or little fancied player will make an appearance on the leaderboard at some point during the week.

Related: 5 Potential First Time Major Winners At The Open

Whether a young amateur posts a great first round, or a veteran rolls back the years to make the cut and threaten the leaders on the weekend, the unpredictability of The Open means that almost any player in the field could have a run at it if they find their best game at the right time.

7 – Watching Them Struggle

Tiger Woods toils at Muirfield in 2002

Tiger Woods toils at Muirfield in 2002

When the weather turns nasty and the wind gets up, it can be heartening to see the world’s best toil against the challenging conditions.

Let’s not be coy, we all enjoy a spot of schadenfreude don’t we? Most of the year, these guys play in perfect weather, over perfectly manicured fairways to receptive surfaces. How they cope when the wind is threatening to blow them to oblivion displays just how much grit and ability they really have.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?