ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — The Latest on the British Open (all times local):
The silver claret jug was first awarded 150 years ago to the British Open champion. There it was Thursday morning on the first tee at St. Andrews as golf’s oldest championship began.
Paul Lawrie of Scotland, the Open champion from 1999, was selected to hit the first shot of this historic week that is all about the 150th edition at the home of golf. He used a yellow golf ball and found the wide fairway. The gutta-percha was the golf ball of choice in 1860 when the British Open began at Prestwick.
The 150th Open accounts for the championship being canceled by two world wars, one pandemic and one other occasion. The Open was not played in 1871 because Young Tom Morris had won the previous year for the third straight time. That meant he took possession of the champion’s belt. That’s the original trophy of the British Open.
It was a critical juncture for The Open. It was decided that the championship would rotate among Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. By the time they got it sorted out, it was too late to play in 1871. They also decided on a new trophy — the claret jug.
The cost was 30 pounds. Why a claret jug? According to R&A chief Martin Slumbers, most wagers back in the day were for jugs of claret.
The famous trophy was awarded for the first time in 1872. Young Tom won that, as well. His name is the first on the jug. Four days from now there will be another.
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