23 is the magic number as Royal Portrush approaches
There are just 23 weeks to go until the start of The 148th Open at Royal Portrush and the excitement is building ahead of Francesco Molinari’s title defence.
The Italian will hand over the Claret Jug, which returns to County Antrim for the first time since 1951, and then attempt to win it straight back in one of the most eagerly-awaited Opens ever.
And here are some fun stats to remind you why The Open remains the oldest, and the most prestigious off the majors in golf.
23 – Not only is it 23 weeks to Royal Portrush, 23rd is also where Champion Golfer of the Year Francesco Molinari finished in greens hit in regulation at Carnoustie last year. It is also the total under par he was for his first ever professional win, at the Italian Open back in 2006. The man who tied him for 23rd in GIR at Carnoustie? Obviously it had to be Tiger Woods. The two seem inextricably linked as opponents in Ryder Cups, majors and on the PGA Tour.
Who's excited? 🙋♂️ pic.twitter.com/pwmZdynmrh— The Open (@TheOpen) February 3, 2019
21 – Tiger Woods will be making his 21st Open appearance at Royal Portrush. The American, who came so close last year at Carnoustie, will be looking to claim the Claret Jug for a fourth time. In addition to his three wins, he has also cracked the top ten on seven other occasions.
7,137 – The total length of the Dunluce course, designed by Harry Colt, is 7,137 yards. The course will be similar but not identical to the one Max Faulkner tamed back in 1951. Two new holes have been created and it has been lengthened by 200 yards.
24,849 – When The 148th Open tees off it will be a full 24,849 days after Max Faulkner lifted the famous Claret Jug in July 1951. That is 68 years. A lot has changed in that time. We’ve seen 14 British Prime Ministers, 13 US Presidents, witnessed one coronation and seen man walk on the moon.
$1.89 million – that was the prize money that Molinari made off with as the Champion Golfer of the Year 2018. It has come a long way from the last time The Open was held at Royal Portrush, back then a field of 98 players competed for a grand prize of £300.
Stunning winter landscape at Royal Portrush this morning ❄️ ⛄️— The Open (@TheOpen) January 30, 2019
📷: Gary McCall pic.twitter.com/dQ0Jkvwqno
46 years, 102 days – the oldest ever winner of The Open is Old Tom Morris (the clue is in the name!) when he claimed the crown back in 1867. A year later however, his son Young Tom Morris made history of his own, becoming the youngest ever winner of a major at 17 years and 156 days.
6 – The man to have won the Claret Jug the most times is Harry Vardon, who picked up the trophy six times between 1896 and 1914. There are four players behind him on five wins, most famously Tom Watson who, back in 2009, came within a whisker of joining Vardon on six. The great Jack Nicklaus has won golf’s oldest major three times but finished as runner-up on a whopping seven other occasions – more than any other golfer ever.