British Open 2012: Ranking the Greatest Champions in Open History

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British Open 2012: Ranking the Greatest Champions in Open History
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The 2012 Open Championship, often referred to as the British Open, will take place at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England this week. The world's best golfers will compete for the Claret Jug, which is one of the most prestigious trophies in all of sports.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the British Open is the fascinating courses that are chosen each year. Unlike many American courses, the ones selected for the British Open rarely have many holes where trees and water present problems for the golfers.

England and Scotland follow a rotation each year that determines which country will host the event, and some notable courses that regularly host it include the Old Course at St. Andrews, Muirfield and Royal St. George's Golf Club.

The British Open is the oldest of the four major championships, with the first tournament being held in 1860. Since 1970, the tournament has been won by American players 25 times. Stewart Cink's win at Turnberry in 2009 is the most recent United States triumph.

Let's look at the greatest champions in the history of the British Open.

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