Way back in 1860, the first Open Championship took place at Prestwick Golf Club. Since then, the game has gone on to be one of the most prestigious and exciting in the world. If you are a golf lover, there is no doubt that you will tune into this event every time it happens. In fact, the championship attracts people from all over the world. Over time, this competition has grown and is now one of the biggest in the golfing field. When people win the championship, they get more than a pat on the back – they get real glory.
So, what are the prizes for this exciting game? Over the years, there have been many different trophies, medals and belts. If you want to learn a little about each of these, you have come to the right place. As the game has developed and changed, so have the rewards. It’s not only the trophies that people get – they also get a cash prize. It’s no wonder, then, that many people want to compete in this prestigious competition. Here is everything you ought to know about the history of the Open Championship.
The Open Championship
You will often hear people call this competition the ‘British Championship,’ since it takes place here in the UK. The game is one of the oldest in the golf community. In fact, it is one of four of the most traditional competitions in the world. The tournament usually takes four days and consists of an epic 72 holes. Competitors from around the globe come to take part in this game when it begins. That means that 156 players take to the green each year to compete for the main trophy.
Of course, before the main tournament begins, people have to go through the qualifying rounds. This part of the process is a grueling competition that whittles down the numbers. After the first 36 holes, the leading 70 players can continue with the game. For the rest of the group, though, it’s game over, and they have to retire from the championship. Then, the final players must battle it out to see who will be victorious. If two players are neck-a-neck, there is a four-hole aggregate playoff system. That means that it is ‘sudden death’ for the losing player at the end of the games.
Back in 1972, the winner did not get a cup or jug at all. In fact, there was quite a different system in place. The organisers agreed that each of the winners would get a medal instead. As you may already know, winners who get the cup have to give it back to the organisers next year. That means that everyone gets the same cup, but no one gets to keep it. In effect, the cup or trophy goes to many different people on an annual basis. No one ever owns the trophy for more than a year at a time, unless they win the competition for two consecutive years.
Well, the system with the medals is quite different. In fact, every winner got to keep their medal after the games. That means that there are now hundreds of winner medals out there in the world. But, what about the cost? Until 1930, every winner had to pay for the medal. Before the winner got their prize money, the organisers would deduct the price of the medal from it. In a way, this system was unfair. It meant that people had to pay for the privilege of winning.
The history of the Claret Jug
The real name of the Claret Jug is the Golf Champion Trophy, yet few people call it that. Over the years, people have started calling it the Claret Jug and many people think it is the official name. In 1872, Tom Morris won the Challenge Belt. The award means that he managed to win the championship three years in a row. When that happened, it meant that the organisers needed a new trophy for the winners. It was at this point that they came up with the Claret Jug.
The Mackay Cunningham & Company of Edinburgh made the trophy and hallmarked it as well. The cup is now a historic prize that everyone in the golfing world desires. Despite the fact that the trophy was not available until 1873, the organisers decided to put Tom Moss’ name on it. In reality, Morris never got the trophy, but he is its official first winner. The first person to win the trophy outright was Tom Kidd, who was the 1873 championship winner at the time. That means that the first two names on the Cup are Morris and Kidd.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club is the organisation that keeps the cup between games. In reality, the winners of the tournament never get a chance to touch the Cup. They now get a replica trophy to raise at the end of the games. That means that the trophy is always in the care of the RAGC. Of course, each winner still gets their name on the real cup when they win the games. It is not clear why the organisers prevent the winners from raising the real cup.
What does the trophy winner get?
Other than the glory of raising the trophy at the end of the games, what else does the championship winner get? Of course, there has always been a cash prize for the winners of the Open Championship. The tournament is now at St Andrews, where many people come to compete every year.
This year, the organisers decided to increase the prize money. That means that the 2015 winner will get a massive £1.15 million in prize money as well as the Claret Jug. The first runner up will also get a tidy sum of money. In fact, the second place winner will get £653,000. The third place winner will also get a prize of £420,000. These prizes are much higher than they were in previous years. That means that in 2015, there will be everything to play for and the competition will be tough. One thing’s for sure – everyone wants their name on the Claret Jug!
At Challenge Trophies we offer a wide range of trophies and medals for golf, including claret jug trophies. Why not take a look?