The first British Open was contested in 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club and stayed there for some 11 years. Originally the winner of the British Open received something called the “Challenge Belt.” The Challenge Belt was created by the Earl of Eglinton. It was made of rich morocco leather and garnished with a silver buckle and many emblems. The first Challenge Belt was purchased by the Prestwick Golf Club.
In the Spring of 1871, Prestwick held a meeting and decided to open the championship to the involvement of other clubs. With no event held that year, the next decisions where made in September of 1872 when it was decided to have Prestwick, the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club team together to find a solution. These 3 clubs joined together to create new awards. The winner of the event would receive the “The Golf Champion Trophy” commonly known today as the Claret Jug. The belt was no more thanks to Tom Morris Jr.
In 1920 the three clubs decided to hand over the trophy responsibility to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. After Bobby Jones’ victory in 1927 came more changes. Prior to that time, winners could take the trophy for themselves. The R & A GC decided to retain the trophy and a replica was made for the winner. Although 4 other replicas were made over the years for display purposes, winners have been getting replicas ever since.
That brings us to this year’s British Open to be held at Royal Lytham and St. Annes. The last time the event was held there was in 2001 when David Duval was the victor.
For more information on the qualifiers, players and the road leading up to the British Open.
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