Royal St George’s will host the Open Championship for the 14th time this year. It is a course that produces surprising winners because it is so unique. We discuss a few things you should know ahead of the 149th Open Championship.
First course outside Scotland
Royal St George’s made its debut as an Open Championship venue in 1894. It was the first course outside Scotland to host the tournament. Also, it is currently the only course in the Open located in southern England. Only the iconic St Andrews (29), Prestwick (24) and Muirfield (16) have hosted more Open Championships.
Back to its bunker roots
After the 2011 Open Championship, the course underwent a historical review that led to some notable work on the bunkers ahead of the 2021 Open Championship. The notorious Himalayas bunker on the 4th hole had sleepers removed and it was restored to its older, rough-edged look. They also worked on the 5th and 18th holes.
Greg Norman set the standard on the course
Greg Norman should have won more than the two Majors (1986 and 1993 Open Championships) during his storied career. At the 1993 Open Championship at Royal St George’s, he put on a golfing masterclass while facing some of the best of the best at that time.
He shot a breathtaking six under 64 on Sunday, overtaking the overnight leaders to win by two. Norman’s 64 was the record for the lowest final round to win the Open. Eventually, Henrik Stenson would break that record with a 63 in 2016. The Great White was also the first Open champion with four rounds in the 60s. Since then, four other players have joined him, while his 267 was the lowest winning total in Open history (Stenson’ 264 from 2016 is now the record).
A quirky, bumpy and humpy ride
Royal St George’s is known for the humps and bumps that send balls bouncing in variable directions. That could be the reason why it has produced two surprising winners in the past two Opens here. Some players label the course quirky while others might call it frustrating or unpredictable.
According to Gary Player, it’s an easy course
This is what the iconic Gary Player had to say about the course:
“Royal St George’s probably is the easiest of the Open golf courses, but the thing that will make it is the wind. It’s a golf course that is steeped in tradition, there have been some wonderful winners.”