The Open or The British Open? Golfers have their say
- The Open is a golf major which was first played in 1860
- "Naturally, there’s only one ‘The Open’," Norther Ireland golfer Graeme McDowell says
- Tony Jacklin says people could call it 'The British Open' in his day and "wouldn’t get a thousand bloody letters"
For golf purists, there is only one ‘The Open’. To refer to it as any other name is like defying the sporting gods, a crime that usually does not go unpunished. And calling it ‘The British Open’ also falls under the category of criminal offences, one that will be swiftly met with disdain and correction from anyone in the vicinity of the perp.
Speaking to USA Today, Norther Ireland golfer Graeme McDowell has his say on the matter. “That’s not a good start, even though I do like to take a jab at the boys back home and tell them that ‘The Open’ is the U.S. Open. Naturally, there’s only one ‘The Open’,” he said.
American golfer Olin Brown says he used to call it ‘The British Open’ earlier in his career, but slowly learned to call it ‘The Open Championship’. Responding to how that change came about, he said, “Because that’s the name of the tournament. Game, set, match. Great answer.”
His compatriot Zach Johnson, who was the Champion Golfer of the year in 2015, said he also grew up calling it the ‘British Open’, and that “once I started playing it, I learned it’s ‘The Open’”.
However, this hasn’t always been the case, as 1969 Open champion Tony Jacklin says. The 77-year-old Englishman said that the nomenclature statutes were more of a recent thing and that back in his days, “you could call it the British Open and you wouldn’t get a thousand bloody letters”.
1994 champion, Zimbabwe’s Nick Price says he has referred to the tournament with both names, although when he talks to “people knowledgeable about golf, I call it ‘The Open’”.
American magazine Golfweek has used the title ‘British Open’, given that Google searches for that term were four times as much as ‘Open’ Championship’ in the United States five years ago. However, the tables have turned recently, as searches for ‘The Open’ outnumbered others by over four times, despite most American pros being used to the US version.
Smylie Kaufman told USA Today that “Ours is ‘The Open’,” referring to the US Open which came nearly 35 years after the “British” one in 1985.
“Every year I come over here, there’s a debate on if it’s the Open or British Open. The Earl of Airlie referred to it as the British Open when awarding Bobby Jones the Claret Jug in 1930 at Hoylake. Both are acceptable,” six-time major Championship winner Phil Mickelson, who won ‘The Open’ in 2013, said in tweet recently.
However, Martin Slumbers, chief of Scotland’s The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, one of the oldest golf clubs in the world, has a different view. “I think it says so behind me, doesn’t it? It’s The Open.”