1926 Open Championship

The 1926 Open Championship was the 61st Open Championship, held 23–25 June at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club in Lytham St Annes, England. Amateur Bobby Jones won the first of his three Claret Jugs, two strokes ahead of runner-up Al Watrous.[2][3][4] Jones was the first amateur to win the title in 29 years, last by Harold Hilton in 1897.[5] Americans finished in the top four spots and it was the fifth victory by an American in six years.[6][7]

1926 Open Championship
Tournament information
Dates23–25 June 1926
LocationLytham & St Annes, England
Course(s)Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club
Field117 players, 53 after cut[1]
Prize fund£200
Winner's share(£75)
United States Bobby Jones (a)
← 1925
1927 →
Lytham & St Annes is located in England
Lytham & St Annes
Lytham &
St Annes
Location in England
Lytham & St Annes is located in Lancashire
Lytham & St Annes
Lytham &
St Annes
Location in Lancashire. England

This was the first Open Championship in which there was both qualifying and a 36-hole cut. A 36-hole cut had been introduced in 1898 to reduce numbers on the final day. However with an ever increasing number of entries, in 1907 the cut was replaced with a qualification competition. This had continued until 1925, except in 1910–11 when there was again no qualification but a 36-hole cut. To make the cut players would need to be within 14 strokes of the leader after 36 holes. A new rule by The Royal and Ancient was also put into place in the 1926 Open Championship; it stated that no competitors would be allowed more than two practice rounds prior to the event. In the past some players had spent weeks on the championship course practicing. This new rule allowed the American players to compete on more equal terms with the British entrants.[8]

This was also the first time there was regional qualifying. A southern section played at Sunningdale, a central section at St Annes Old Links and a northern section at Western Gailes. Each section played 36 holes, although for the southern and central sections this took place on two days (16–17 June) while for the northern section it was on just one day (16 June). 49 places (and ties) were allocated to the southern section, 42 places (and ties) to the central section and 10 places (and ties) to the northern section.[9] 55 players qualified from the southern section, 51 from the central section and 11 from the northern section giving a total of 117. Tom Wilson won the northern section with a score of 148. In the southern section Bobby Jones dominated, scoring 134 (66-68) and leading by seven clear strokes. During the two rounds on only one hole did he score more than four, a five at the 10th in his second round. After his first round of 66, The Times reported that "the crowd dispersed awe-stricken. They had watched the best round they had ever seen, or ever would see, and what the later players did they neither knew nor cared".[10] Walter Hagen led the central section with a score of 143, one of nine Americans qualifying there.[11][12]

Hagen opened with 68 on Wednesday to take the lead,[13][14] but a 77 in the second round dropped him back to third. In his second Open and already the winner of two U.S. Amateurs and a U.S. Open, Jones played steady golf and carded two rounds of 72 to co-lead with Bill Mehlhorn at the midway point. Hagen was a stroke back and one behind him were Watrous and Fred McLeod.[15][16]

Jones had 73 in the third round on Friday morning, but Watrous shot 69 and took a two-stroke lead after 54 holes.[2] In the final round that afternoon, Jones was still two behind Watrous with five holes to play. After picking up two strokes to forge a tie, Jones hit a wayward drive on 17 which appeared to swing the tournament back to Watrous. However, Jones hit a remarkable recovery shot from the sand dunes onto the green, closer to the hole than Watrous' approach from the fairway. Jones wound up taking the decisive lead in the tournament on this hole after Watrous three-putted. Jones played the tough final 5 holes in 4-3-4-4-4 to post 74 for 291, while Watrous struggled to 78 and 293.[2] Hagen, playing behind Jones and Watrous, had a chance to tie by holing his second shot on the 18th, but his shot rolled past the hole and into a bunker and he settled for third place.[3][4]

Jones, age 24, won his first Open Championship in just his second appearance. His first was five years earlier in 1921 and was less than pleasant: he walked off the Old Course at St Andrews in frustration after taking several shots to get out of a bunker. He went on to win two more Opens; his successful defense in 1927 was back at the Old Course, and his third in 1930 at Royal Liverpool was the second leg of his celebrated grand slam. Its first leg was the 1930 British Amateur, won three weeks earlier,[17][18] Jones' win 92 years ago in 1930 is the last by an amateur.

For the first time, an admission fee was charged for spectators. Six-time champion Harry Vardon missed his first cut in the Open Championship at age 56; he had made the cut in every Open he played since 1893.

Past champions in the fieldEdit

Made the cutEdit

Player Country Year(s) won R1 R2 R3 R4 Total Finish
Walter Hagen   United States 1922, 1924 68 77 74 76 295 T3
J.H. Taylor   England 1894, 1895
1900, 1909, 1913
75 78 71 80 304 T11
Jim Barnes   England 1925 77 80 72 78 307 T17
George Duncan   Scotland 1920 75 79 80 74 308 T21
Sandy Herd   Scotland 1902 81 76 75 76 308 T21
James Braid   Scotland 1901, 1905,
1906, 1908, 1910
82 75 75 79 311 T28
Arthur Havers   England 1923 75 76 82 78 311 T28
Ted Ray   Jersey 1912 78 80 74 80 312 T30


Missed the cutEdit

Player Country Years won R1 R2 Total
Harry Vardon   Jersey 1896, 1898, 1899,
1903, 1911, 1914
80 82 162


Did not enter:

Round summariesEdit

First roundEdit

Wednesday, 23 June 1926

Place Player Country Score
1 Walter Hagen   United States 68
2 Bill Mehlhorn   United States 70
T3 Fred McLeod   Scotland
  United States
Al Watrous   United States
5 Bobby Jones (a)   United States 72
T6 Reg Whitcombe   England 73
Tom Wilson   Scotland
T8 Tommy Armour   Scotland
  United States
Harry Walker   England
T10 Syd Ball   England 75
Fred Bradbeer   England
George Duncan   Scotland
Arthur Havers   England
Jimmy McDowall   Scotland
J.H. Taylor   England
George Von Elm (a)   United States


Second roundEdit

Thursday, 24 June 1926

Place Player Country Score
T1 Bobby Jones (a)   United States 72-72=144
Bill Mehlhorn   United States 70-74=144
3 Walter Hagen   United States 68-77=145
T4 Fred McLeod   Scotland
  United States
Al Watrous   United States 71-75=146
6 George Von Elm (a)   United States 75-72=147
T7 Tommy Armour   Scotland
  United States
Tom Barber   England 77-73=150
Archie Compston   England 76-74=150
Cyril Walker   United States 79-71=150


Third roundEdit

Friday, 25 June 1926 (morning)

Place Player Country Score
1 Al Watrous   United States 71-75-69=215
2 Bobby Jones (a)   United States 72-72-73=217
3 Walter Hagen   United States 68-77-74=219
4 Fred McLeod   Scotland
  United States
T5 Bill Mehlhorn   United States 70-74-79=223
George Von Elm (a)   United States 75-72-76=223
7 J.H. Taylor   England 75-78-71=224
T8 Tommy Armour   Scotland
  United States
Emmet French   United States 76-75-74=225
T10 Herbert Gaudin   Jersey 78-78-71=227
José Jurado   Argentina 77-76-74=227


Final roundEdit

Friday, 25 June 1926 (afternoon)

Place Player Country Score Money (£)
1 Bobby Jones (a)   United States 72-72-73-74=291 0
2 Al Watrous   United States 71-75-69-78=293 75
T3 Walter Hagen   United States 68-77-74-76=295 40
George Von Elm (a)   United States 75-72-76-72=295 0
T5 Tom Barber   England 77-73-78-71=299 20
Abe Mitchell   England 78-78-72-71=299
7 Fred McLeod   Scotland
  United States
71-75-76-79=301 10
T8 Emmet French   United States 76-75-74-78=303 8
6s 8d
José Jurado   Argentina 77-76-74-76=303
Bill Mehlhorn   United States 70-74-79-80=303


Amateurs: Jones (291), Von Elm (295), L. Hartley (306)


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Media guide". The Open Championship. 2011. pp. 111, 203–8. Archived from the original on 18 April 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Skene, Don (26 June 1926). "Bobby Jones wins British Open title". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 17.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Jones wins". Glasgow Herald. 26 June 1926. p. 8.
  4. ^ a b "Bobby Jones triumphs in spite of bad start". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. 25 June 1926. p. 25.
  5. ^ Spalding, Anthony (26 June 1926). "Bobby Jones' 291 captured British Open golf honors". Montreal Gazette. p. 17.
  6. ^ "Bobby Jones is champion". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. 25 June 1926. p. 1.
  7. ^ "Jones' British golf win proves popular". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. 26 June 1926. p. 6.
  8. ^ "British Golf Ruling On Tourney Practice Will Help Americans". The Evening Review. East Liverpool, Ohio. 16 March 1926. p. 10.
  9. ^ "Golf - The Open Championship". The Times. 16 June 1926. p. 8.
  10. ^ "Golf - The Open Championship - Southern Section at Sunningdale". The Times. 17 June 1926. p. 7.
  11. ^ "Record score". Glasgow Herald. 18 June 1926. p. 6.
  12. ^ "Golf - The Open Championship - Great Play by Mr Jones". The Times. 18 June 1926. p. 8.
  13. ^ a b Skene, Don (24 June 1926). "Five Yankees lead British Open play". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 15.
  14. ^ a b "Americans lead". Glasgow Herald. 24 June 1926. p. 8.
  15. ^ a b Skene, Don (25 June 1926). "Six Americans top British Open golf". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 19.
  16. ^ a b c "An increased lead". Glasgow Herald. 25 June 1926. p. 8.
  17. ^ "Weathered v. Jones". Glasgow Herald. 31 May 1930. p. 9.
  18. ^ "Jones wins". Glasgow Herald. 2 June 1930. p. 11.
  19. ^ Brenner, Morgan G. (2009). The Majors of Golf: Complete Results of the Open, the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship and the Masters, 1860-2008. 1. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-3360-5.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 53°44′58″N 3°01′05″W / 53.7495°N 3.018°W / 53.7495; -3.018