Opens: 1923, 1950, 1962, 1973, 1982, 1989, 1997, 2004
Location: Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland
For the first sixty years of The Open’s history, the Championship’s visits to south west Scotland were confined to Prestwick, Troon’s next-door neighbour. In 1923, all that changed: The Open came to Troon for the first time, and since then it has become a regular venue having hosted the Championship on eight occasions.
The course, which took its current form in 1888, is designed in the traditional out-and-back manner of the Old Course at St Andrews. A gentle opening few holes and relatively straightforward closing stretch are the bookends for a series of holes which weave up, round and through some of the most striking linksland to be found at any of the host venues. This character makes the strength and direction of the wind even more important than is usual on a links course: if the wind is against the players on the back nine, it’s as tough a finish as can be found anywhere.
|Troon at a glance|
|Course length (2004 Open)|
7,175 yards, par 71
Gene Sarazen holing-in-one at the famous 8th hole, the ‘Postage Stamp’, in 1973 at the age of 71. It made up for Sarazen’s disappointment at the same venue some 50 years earlier, when he came over from the USA but failed to qualify after enduring high winds in qualifying.
Given the nature of the course, Troon has tended to favour champions who stay patient and concentrate on playing their own game rather than trying to overpower the course. Palmer in 1962 and Weiskopf in 1973 both won at the venue by tempering their natural aggressiveness; Greg Norman lost a play-off to Mark Calcavecchia in 1989 after his power ran him into trouble on the 18th; and Todd Hamilton in 2004 was a model of the calm, measured golfer.