The Rise Of Americans At The British Open
The oldest of the four Major golf championships goes back to 1860, but it wasn't until after WWI that American golfers would make their mark on the British isles.
In 1921, "Golf Illustrated" magazine helped raise a fund to finance the steamship voyage of 11 professional golfers to try and crack the famed tournament. Upon their arrival and ahead of the actual Open, a friendly match between the Americans and their British hosts turned into what became the forerunner of the Ryder Cup.
The Open itself was won by Jock Hutchison, a Scottish-born American who took the title and a £75 cash prize. The following year, Walter Hagen became the first American-born player to raise the Claret Jug and for the rest of the decade, Hagen and amateur prodigy Bobby Jones would dominate the Scotsmen and Englishmen in their own game and at their own links courses.
Prior to the Americans' arrival, the average winning score at the Open hovered around 300 and Bobby Jones was the first to drop it below 291 when he carded 285 in his 1927 first place finish. The Great Depression in the early 1930's coincided with the end of the American onslaught and the return of the English to their form.
Not withstanding Arnold Palmer's back-to-back wins in 1961 and 1962, the next wave of victories from across the Atlantic came in the 1970's and early 1980's with Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino. That period in turn was followed by the mid-1990's to mid-2000's with a parade of American newcomers, including the star-powered Tiger Woods who set a record at St. Andrews in 2000 firing 269 (-19).
By the time Phil Mickelson claimed the event in 2013, the U.S. would surpass Scotland as the winningest nation at the tournament. Americans currently hold 43 British Open titles, ahead of the Scotts who rank second at 41 and the English third at 22.
BOXING September 26, 2009 Vitaly Klitschko defeats Chris Arreola in the 10th round after the latter calls it quits. It was the 40th professional bout for the Ukrainian fighter who retained his WBC heavyweight title. Klitschko retired in 2012 with a record of 47-45-2, including 41 knockouts. Two years later, he was elected Mayor of Kiev, a position he still holds.
GOLF September 26, 1999 Americans defeat the Europeans at the 33rd Ryder Cup, which was held in Brookline, Massachusetts. Winning by a narrow margin of 14½ to 13½, the Americans were trailing 10-6 before rallying in the final day to claim the tournament. Rude behavior by spectators on the course was heavily criticized by all media outlets.
TENNIS September 16, 1989 Six days after losing the US Open final to Boris Becker, Czech tennis player Ivan Lendl marries Samantha Frankel; they would have five daughters together. Lendl turned pro in 1978 and held the #1 world ranking for 270 weeks in the 1980s. A baseline power hitter, he won eight grand slams during his prolific career.
BASEBALL September 24, 1979 In his first year with the Philadelphia Phillies, Pete Rose reaches 200 hits a season for the 10th time; he was previously with the Cincinnati Reds from 1963-78. A 2x World Series champ, Rose won his 3rd Fall Classic with the Phillies. The Ohio native retired in 1986 as a player and remains MLB’s all-time leader in hits (4,256).