ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-SIX GOLFERS will be playing for it over the next four days. It’s been accidently struck by the golf swing of five-time champion British Open Tom Watson. It’s held various libations consumed by winners over the decades. And it once sat on Ben Curtis’ television for a week so the unlikely Open Championship winner could see it every time he sat down to watch the tube.
I’m referring, of course, to the silver Claret Jug, the most prized and recognizable trophy in all of golf. And, by far, the oldest. The Claret Jug has been awarded to the British Open winner since 1873 when it replaced the Championship Belt.
(The Open Championship has been contested since 1860, in case you were wondering.)
A golfer named Tom Kidd was the first Open winner to receive the new trophy; however, Tom Morris Jr., the 1872 winner, was the first to have his name engraved on the Claret Jug.
Following the 1927 Open won by Bobby Jones at St. Andrews, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club decided to keep the Claret Jug and present future winners with a replica. (The original Claret Jug is on display at The Royal and Ancient Golf Clubhouse.)
Walter Hagen was the first to receive a replica Claret Jug in 1928, one of his four Open titles. Harry Vardon holds the record with six British Open wins. Vardon was a phenom.
If you watch the final round on Sunday, you’ll probably see the engraver as he prepares to etch the winner’s name on the Claret Jug.
I wonder if he ever gets the yips. If so, does he have to go to a longer engraving tool?
-The Armchair Golfer
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