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The Open: Dates, history and betting odds

The last of 2024's four golf Majors, The Open Championship, will be played at Royal Troon in South Ayrshire over four days starting on Thursday 18th July.

The tournament will take place for the 152nd time, and Brian Harman will be the defending champion following his 2023 success at Royal Liverpool.

WhatThe Open Championship
WhereRoyal Troon, South Ayrshire, Scotland
WhenThursday 18th July - Sunday 21st July, 2024
How to watchbet365 Live Golf Tracker, Sky Sports Golf & Main Event
OddsRory McIlroy 8/1, Jon Rahm 9/1, Scottie Scheffler 10/1, Viktor Hovland 18/1, Cameron Smith 18/1

When is The Open?

The Open starts on Thursday 18th July in 2024. The tournament is always held in the third week of the seventh month of the year.

Where is The Open going to held?

The Open is hosted on different courses on a rotation basis and the 2024 edition will be held at Royal Troon Golf Club in South Ayrshire. It will be the 10th occasion that Royal Troon has played host to the event. 

Prestwick was the venue for the first Open in 1860 and has played host 24 times, the last occasion being back in 1925.

The Home of Golf, St Andrews, hosted its 29th tournament in 2022, while Muirfield (16), Royal St George's (15), Royal Liverpool (13), Royal Lytham & St Annes (11) and Royal Birkdale (10) have all hosted the tournament at least 10 times. 

Other venues include Carnoustie, Musselburgh, Turnberry, Royal Cinque Ports, Princes and Royal Portrush, which will host in 2025.

Can I watch The Open?

Yes, the tournament is televised live on Sky Sports Golf and Main Event and can be followed on the bet365 Live Golf Tracker.

How many times has The Open taken place?

The first Open Championship took place in 1860 and 2023 was the 151st battle for the Claret Jug.

Who has won The Open the most times?

The record for Open Championship wins is held by Harry Vardon, who won the last of his six Claret Jugs in 1914. 

Australian Peter Thomson took the trophy home for the fifth time in 1965, and the only other player to have triumphed on that many occasions since the Second World War is Tom Watson, who last won at Royal Birkdale in 1983, but came close to equalling Vardon's record when he lost a play-off to fellow American Stewart Cink in 2009. 

South African Bobby Locke won four times, and five of the greatest names in the sport's history have all won three times - Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods. Nicklaus, who holds the record of 18 Major triumphs, has been runner-up at the tournament seven times.

What sort of courses host The Open?

The Open is always played on a links course, which are natural seaside tracks that use the characteristics of the land, rather than being specifically built.

Typical characteristics include deep gorse rough, few trees and the need to manage the weather as stiff breezes can cause problems and mean the ball has to be hit lower to avoid problems.

What is the format of The Open?

A total of 156 players compete for the prize and the field includes a number of qualifiers and amateur hopefuls.

After the first two rounds, the top 70 and tied players qualify to play in the final two rounds, the rest miss the cut. Simply, the player with the lowest total score over the course of four rounds is then declared the winner.

What is the play-off format at The Open?

Rather than sudden death, which tends to be used in regulation tournaments on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, The Open uses a four-hole aggregate play-off to decide the winner should two or more players be level at the top of the leaderboard upon the completion of the regulation 72 holes.

The last play-off at The Open was in 2015, when American Zach Johnson won the Claret Jug for the first time after beating Australia's Marc Leishman and South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen in extra holes. 

Stewart Cink (2009), Padraig Harrington (2007), Todd Hamilton (2004), Ernie Els (2002), Paul Lawrie (1999), Mark O'Meara (1998), John Daly (1995) and Mark Calcavecchia (1989) all won play-offs after the decision to adopt the four-hole system was made in 1985. 

Tom Watson was the last player to win an 18-hole play-off when he defeated Jack Newton to win his first Open at Carnoustie in 1975.

What is the record 72-hole shot total at The Open?

The record 72-hole total of 264 was registered by Sweden's Henrik Stenson at Royal Troon in 2016.

What is the record 18-hole shot total at The Open?

The record 18-hole total was 62 by South Africa's Branden Grace at Royal Birkdale in 2017. It is the lowest round ever shot in any of the four Major tournaments - the Masters, the US Open, the US PGA Championship and The Open.

Who is the oldest winner of The Open?

The oldest winner of The Open was Old Tom Morris, who was 46 years and 102 days old when he won in 1867.

Who is the youngest winner of The Open?

The youngest winner of The Open was Young Tom Morris, who was 17 years and 156 years old when he won in 1868.

What is the biggest margin of victory ever in The Open?

The biggest margin of victory at The Open was Old Tom Morris' 1862 win when he triumphed by 13 shots.

It remained the largest winning distance in any Major until 2000, when Tiger Woods won the US Open by 15 shots at Pebble Beach in California.

Who was the last player to successfully defend the Claret Jug?

The last defending champion to win The Open was Ireland's Padraig Harrington, who won at Carnoustie in 2007 and then repeated the trick at Royal Birkdale the following year.

Tiger Woods, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer, Peter Thomson (who won three times on the bounce between 1954 and 1956) and Bobby Locke have all won in successive years since the Second World War.

Who won The Open in 2023?

American Harman won his maiden Major title at Royal Liverpool in 2023. Rounds of 67, 65, 69 and 70 saw him finish on 13-under, six shots clear of Jason Day, Tom Kim, Jon Rahm and Sepp Straka.

Who are the favourites for The Open in 2024?

Rory McIlroy is the 8/1 favourite to succeed Harman by lifting the Claret Jug in 2024. The Northern Irishman is ahead of 9/1 Rahm and 10/1 Scottie Scheffler.

Viktor Hovland and 2022 champion Smith are both 18/1, while the American duo of Patrick Cantlay and Brooks Koepka are 20/1.

Harman is 66/1 to become the first player since Harrington to successfully defend the title.

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