The Open’s Best Celebrations

Here’s a look at some of the greatest celebrations from The Open Championship

The Open’s Best Celebrations

Here’s a look at some of the greatest celebrations from years gone by at The Open...

The Open’s Best Celebrations

Winning The Open Championship is a dream of all golf lovers. How many times have you stood on the 18th green of your home course and imagined: “This one for The Open…”?

And how would you react if you did claim golf’s greatest individual prize? Would there be tears, a little dance, or merely a dignified putter raised to the galleries?

Here, we take a look at some of the greatest celebrations in the history of The Open to give you a little inspiration.

The Open’s Best Celebrations

Lee Trevino, 1971, Birkdale

23 .47 metres... good effort Lee

23.47 metres... good effort Lee

To start with, here’s Lee Trevino at Royal Birkdale in 1971 attempting to set a world record for cap throwing. Playing partner Lu Liang-Huan is clearly unimpressed.

The Taiwanese player later revealed that he felt Trevino would have been able to achieve a far greater distance if he’d sported a brimmed tifter like his and thrown it using a Frisbee-style technique.

Ernie Els, 2002, Muirfield

Hey, that seagull just stole my cap!

Hey, that seagull just stole my cap!

Ernie Els makes his own attempt at the record at Muirfield in 2002. Unfortunately, he released the cap slightly early and it flew straight up into the air. He watches on here as it’s caught by a passing seagull and carried away to be used as nest-lining. Despite the offer of a reward, the cap was never found.

Mark Calcavecchia, 1989, Royal Troon

Mark Calcavecchia - What did I do?

Mark Calcavecchia - What did I do?

Mark Calcavecchia stands alone on the 18th green at Royal Troon and lofts his arms in triumph after coming through a four-hole play-off against Greg Norman and Wayne Grady – he can hardly believe it.

Paul Lawrie, 1999, Carnoustie

Paul Lawrie - Unbelievable comeback

Paul Lawrie - Unbelievable comeback

Paul Lawrie also opts for the arms-lofted technique at Carnoustie in 1999. He had completed the largest comeback in European Tour history – 10 shots. Here you can tell from his body language that he, like Calc, couldn’t believe what had just happened… Neither could Jean Van de Velde!

Phil Mickelson, 2013, Muirfield

Phil Mickelson 2013

Phil Mickelson 2013

Phil Mickelson wins at Muirfield in 2013. It’s unclear from this shot whether he’s celebrating, having a temper tantrum or doing some exercises. Well, in fact, he’s celebrating!

Doug Sanders, 1970, St Andrews

For medicinal purposes only..., The Open’s Best Celebrations

For medicinal purposes only...

Here, in 1970, Doug Sanders' nerves are clearly shot. For one, Jack Nicklaus’ flying putter had nearly hit him after The Golden Bear had holed the winning putt on the 18th green of an 18-hole playoff.

This on top of the fact Sanders had missed a three-foot putt on the 72nd hole of regulation play to win the tournament outright. This seems a sensible way of dealing with the situation.

Tiger Woods, 2006, Hoylake

Tiger lets it all out at Hoylake, The Open’s Best Celebrations

Tiger lets it all out at Hoylake

Tiger Woods lets it all out on the 18th green at Hoylake in 2006. This was an extremely emotional win for Tiger, as his dad had died just two months earlier. Just after this shot was taken, Woods broke down in tears.

Padraig Harrington, 2007, Carnoustie

Padraig Harrington: Raw emotion, The Open’s Best Celebrations

Padraig Harrington: Raw emotion

Padraig Harrington displaying some pretty good emotion of his own after coming through a play-off against Sergio Garcia for the 2007 championship at Carnoustie. Just look at the raw passion on his face.

Tom Watson, 1982, Royal Troon

Tom Watson 1982: Good pr work Tom, The Open’s Best Celebrations

Tom Watson 1982: Good pr work Tom!

Tom Watson wins the hearts of the Scottish fans with this gesture after claiming the 1982 Open at Troon.

Nick Price, 1994, Turnberry

NIck Price gets airborne after an eagle on the 71st hole, The Open’s Best Celebrations

Nick Price gets airborne after an eagle on the 71st hole

Nick Price leaping into the air here after holing a monster eagle putt on the 17th green at Turnberry in 1994. His incredible finish was enough to deny an inconsolable Jesper Parnevik.

Constantino Rocca, 1995, St Andrews

Although he would lose in a play-off, Rocca's 18th hole display is one of the Open’s best celebrations

The best ever Open celebration by a man who didn’t win the Championship. After fluffing a chip, Constantino Rocca's ball dribbled into the treacherous Valley of Sin. He slapped his head in frustration.

But he still had a chance to force a play-off, if he could hole from 65 feet from the Valley of Sin - highly unlikely. He struck the putt well and it ran onto, and across the green towards the hole. Incredibly it dropped, as did Rocca – to his knees with arms aloft.

He took off his hat, fell forward to the ground and began beating the turf with his fists. Unfortunately for Rocca, he then lost a playoff to John Daly.

Seve Ballesteros, 1984, St Andrews

Seve 1984 - 3

Seve 1984 - The Matador

The greatest celebration of them all… Seve Ballesteros punching the sky like a victorious matador. He willed his birdie putt into the hole on the 18th green at St Andrews in 1984 and then launched into one of the most charismatic displays of pure golfing joy that the game has ever seen.

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?