British Open 2012: 5 Greatest Finishes in Open History
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The Open Championship has given us some very memorable moments over the years.
Jean Van de Velde's total collapse on the 72nd hole in 1999, John Daly winning a four hole playoff over Constantino Rocca in 1995, and Sergio Garcia's near miss in 2007, to name just a few.
Here is a list of some of the more dramatic finishes in Open Championship History.
1977 Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson "Duel in the Sun"
Nicklaus and Watson battled for four days at Turnberry in 1977
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Heading into the 1977 Open Championship held at Turnberry Jack Nicklaus had already won two Claret Jugs and Tom Watson had one.
Tom Watson won his first Open Championship in 1975 at Carnoustie.
Jack Nicklaus was at the height of his powers and dominated the golf world.
He had won the Open Championship in 1966 at Muirfield and at St. Andrews in 1970.
In 1977 Tom Watson was 27 years old and was not yet the player that became golf's leading player from 1978 to 1982.
Jack and Tom were paired together over the first two rounds and both shot identical 68-70 and were two under par after 36 holes.
They were paired together for the third round and again both men shot 65 to tie for the 54 hole lead at seven-under par and three shots clear of the rest of the field.
This set up the final round showdown.
Watson shot a second consecutive 65 to best Nicklaus by one shot to claim his second Claret Jug.
It was a classic battle of two giants and neither man blinked.
The difference proved to be Watson's birdie on the par-five 71st hole when Nicklaus could only manage a par.
Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia 2007
Padraig Harrington won a playoff in 2007
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Sergio Garcia shot 65-71-68 and led the first three rounds of the 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie.
At nine-under par he took a three-shot lead over Steve Stricker and a six-shot lead over seven other players including Padraig Harrington into the final round.
It seemed that the stars were aligned for Sergio to finally get his first major championship.
He had played brilliantly all week and just needed to post a respectable round on Sunday and accept the Claret Jug.
Harrington turned in a four-under 67 in the final round but Garcia still had a one shot lead standing on the 18th tee.
He found a bunker on his approach and left his sand shot 10 feet from the hole.
His par putt lipped out and his bogey tied him with Harrington after regulation play.
Padraig shot 3-3-4-5=15 for the four hole aggregate playoff and Sergio shot 5-3-4-4=16 to lose by one shot.
It was a telling blow for the Spaniard and he has not been the same golfer since.
For Harrington it was the first of his three major championships as he won the 2008 Open and the 2008 PGA Championships.
John Daly 1995
John Daly beat Constantino Rocca in a playoff at the Old Course
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John Daly had become an American Folk Hero with his storybook win at the PGA Championship in 1991.
He was a rookie that only got into the PGA as an alternate at the last minute and completely blitzed the field with his long drives, and precise iron play.
Daly fired a first round 67 at the 1995 Open Championship at St. Andrews. He added a 71 in the second round and was tied for the 36 hole lead at six-under par.
Long John stumbled slightly on Saturday posting a one-over 73 and falling four shots behind leader Michael Campbell.
Daly's final round one-under par 71 was good enough to slip by everyone and he just had to wait in the clubhouse as one by one the challengers made bogeys and fell by the wayside.
The only man left standing was Italian Constantino Rocca who needed a birdie on the 72nd hole to force a playoff.
When Rocca stubbed his short chip into the Valley of Sin that fronts the 18th at St. Andrews he was faced with a 65 foot putt up a steep slope and onto the severely undulating green.
Miraculously he made the putt and the playoff was on.
Daly's four hole aggregate in the playoff was 4-3-4-4=15 and Rocca posted 5-4-7-3=19.
John Daly had captured his second major at the home of golf and increased his popularity as the everyman's golfer.
Tiger Woods 2000
Tiger Woods won the 2000 Open by eight shots
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Tiger Woods won his first Open Championship at St. Andrews in 2000.
With the win he became the youngest and only the fifth golfer ever to win the "career Grand Slam".
His final score of 19-under par set the record as the lowest 72 hole score in relation to par for any major championship.
The 2000 Open Championship also became the second leg of the "Tiger Slam".
Woods had earlier won the 2000 U. S. Open and he also went on to win the 2000 PGA Championship giving him three major wins for the year.
The following spring he won the 2001 Masters and became the only player professional to ever win all four majors consecutively.
Bobby Jones had won four major championships in 1930 for the first Grand Slam.
Woods shot a first round 67 in the 2000 Open and trailed the leader Ernie Els by one shot. It was the only time he would trail.
He shot a second round 66 and followed with a 65 on Saturday.
He held the 54 hole lead at 16 under-par.
His nearest competitors were Thomas Bjorn and David Duval a distant six shots behind.
Woods coasted to a 69 on Sunday posted 19 under par and won by eight shots.
It was one of the most astonishing performances ever witnessed on the Old Course.
Jean Van De Velde 1999
Jean Van de Velde in the Burn on the 18th at Carnoustie in 1999.
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Frenchman Jean Van de Velde played flawless golf for 71 holes at Carnoustie in the 1999 Open Championship.
He was the leader after 36 holes and his 54 hole aggregate of Even par led the field by five shots heading into the final round.
Standing on the tee at the 18th hole he still had a three-shot lead and simply needed to avoid a triple bogey to win the Claret Jug.
To everyone amazement he chose to hit driver on the last when a simple safe layup would have been the prudent play.
He pushed his drive wide right but avoided the burn.
Again Van de Velde confounded golf fans by attempting to hit to the green rather than just hit a safe layup shot.
His second shot bounced off the grandstands ricocheted off a rock in the Barry Burn and went backwards some 50 yards into knee deep rough.
His was not able to make clean contact on the third shot and his ball finally landed in the Burn.
Van de Velde removed his shoes and socks and waded into the burn to play the shot.
He finally found some common sense and took a unplayable penalty and took a drop.
Now playing five he proceeded to hit his ball into the green-side bunker.
He was able to get his sand shot to within six feet of the hole, make the putt for a seven and force a playoff with Justin Leonard and Paul Lawrie.
Lawrie would go onto win the playoff and Van de Velde was left to trying to explain to the golfing world what he was thinking on the last hole of the 1999 Open Championship.
Jean Van de Velde will be known forever as the man who gave the 1999 Open Championship away.