1971: A Year Never to be Forgotten

Peter HughesSenior Analyst IJuly 2, 2008

The Open Championship, sometimes called, The British Open, simply due to it's history, is known on this side of the Atlantic by it's singular form, gives memories to last a life time.

Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, have made their contributions to the folklore associated with the championship, but many other players from the U.S. have played important roles in it's legacy.

1971, epitomizes the customs, beliefs and popularity of the event.

Royal Troon was the venue, the weather, and typical for the West coast of Scotland during July— windy and wet for the first three days, and abating somewhat for the final stages.

All the big names from every quarter of the globe were in contention, plus all living members who had their names inscribed on the trophy.

Among them was a 29-year-old Massillion, Ohio native, who had lived in the shadow of "The Golden Bear" for most of his career and up to that time had been unsuccessful in his quest for major honors.

The Open Championship in 1971 changed his life completely.

Tom Weiskoph, with rounds of 68,68,71 & 70, for a total of 276, finished three shots ahead of Neil Coles and Johnny Miller who finished joint second, with Jack Nicklaus fourth on 280.

A trio of former winners playing together provided the icing on the cake of a memorable championship.

71-year-old Gene Sarazen was partnered with Fred Daly, who won in 1947 and the inimitable Max Faulkner, victor in 1951.

During the first round, Gene Sarazen holed-in-one using a fifth iron at the eighth, and the reaction of his two partners on the tee was pure ecstasy; both completed an Irish Jig with Gene joining their festivities.

The following day at the same hole, he celebrated his 50th anniversary in The Open, by holing his bunker shot for a birdie two.

This great American golfer, sadly was never invited to captain a US Ryder Cup team, an honor, which he would have richly deserved, however he left an abiding memory at Royal Troon.

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