The United States Golf Open and the Open Championship are the two oldest majors in professional golf history. The U.S. Open began in 1895, while the British Open was established in 1860. The tournaments, along with the Masters and PGA Championship, make up the four major professional golf championships.
The British Open is thought by many to be the better of the four majors. I would argue that the Open Championship has the most history, the best courses, an exciting style of play and a diverse field.
The United Kingdom is a hotbed for golf and has historically produced some of the best players in the world. By continuously hosting a major golf tournament since 1860, they have proved that their links courses stand the test of time and make the Open Championship the most prestigious of all.
The U.S. Open is a fine tournament, but it just does not stand up against the Open Championship when you factor in all the elements. The Open is simply superior in a number of ways and always promises to be one of the better tournaments on the schedule for the season.
Read on for an in-depth look at why the Open Championship is better than the U.S. Open.
The Open Championship is ripe with intriguing history.
The inaugural tournament was played in 1860 and produced its first upset. Willie Park Senior captured the title by defeating the course favorite, Old Tom Morris, by two strokes at Prestwick Golf Club. Prestwick remained in rotation for hosting the Open until 1925, when the tournament became so popular that the marshals literally could not control the crowd.
The Open has also produced moments such as Tom Watson trading blows with Nicklaus, Maurice Flitcroft’s mastery of Birkdale and Seve Ballesteros winning the tournament after landing a shot in the parking lot.
The Open is played on the most intriguing, beautiful and wise courses in the entire world. The Old Course at St Andrews may just be the mecca for professional golfers and hosts the event about every five years. It is known as the "Home of Golf" and always makes for an amazing tournament.
Carnoustie Golf Links, Muirfield, Turnberry Resort and Royal Troon make up the rest of the Scottish Courses on which the Open can be played. In England, the tournament can be hosted by Royal St Georges, the site of this year's version, as well as Royal Birkdale, Royal Lytham and St Annes and Royal Liverpool.
All of these courses are breathtaking and encourage an interesting style of play, due to their links style.
The interesting thing about the British Open is that it's played on links courses. These tend to be near the sea and often have incredible winds blowing that can completely change a golfer's style.
Links play encourages long, low drives to avoid the ball being blown into dangerous territory. This has led to golfers such as Phil Mickelson, who is one of the games greats, to struggle in the Open. It has also allowed players like Tom Watson to carve out a legacy by mastering this style of play.
The field at the British Open is always an eclectic and exciting mix. You will see the best players in the world pair up with some of the more obscure and even amateur competition.
The unpredictable winds and weather allow for anyone to have a shot at bringing home the Claret Jug. Ben Curtis, who took home the Open Championship in 2003, best exemplifies this. He was a relative unknown before the tournament, and bookmakers had him at 500 to 1 odds. He shocked the world by winning it and showed that just about anyone can win the British Open.