Royal Troon hosts the 2016 Open Championship (Thursday 14 July until Sunday 17 July), and here at Betting Gods we thought we’d try and guide you through what is always one of the most high-profile sporting events of the year. We’ve highlighted the past champions for you, Relived the story of the last Open held here in 2004, and taken a look at the key statistics from that tournament.
Previous Royal Troon Champions
1950 – Bobby Locke (-1)
1962 – Arnold Palmer (-12)
1973 – Tom Weiskopf (-12)
1982 – Tom Watson (-4)
1989 – Marc Calcavecchia (-13)
1997 – Justin Leonard (-12)
2004 – Todd Hamilton (-10)
Story Of The 2004 Open Championship
The 2004 Open Championship was widely expected to produce yet another victory for Tiger Woods, however he could never quite get into contention, and a final round of one-over par saw him finish ninth behind the little known American Todd Hamilton.
Hamilton’s victory was one of the biggest upsets in Open Championship, and one that will be remembered for his ability to use his utility wood to roll his ball next to the hole from a variety of distances, whilst other struggled using more conventional scrambling methods.
Hamilton had only won his first PGA Tour title earlier that year and, though he was a multiple winner on the Asian Tour, not many of the local crowd even knew who he was. He didn’t lead from the outset though, and was only 40th after round one after posting a level-par 71. However, two successive 67’s on Friday and Saturday saw him sit proudly at the top of the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon.
Hamilton and Els went head-to-head in the final group on Sunday, with Hamilton starting the day with a one-shot lead, but he was two-shots ahead heading into the back-nine. Els then cut the deficit back to one by birdieing the 17th, after which Hamilton wobbled under the pressure, bogeying the last, leaving Els with a 12-foot putt to win.
Leaving that putt short must still haunt Els, though he was still the firm favourite to win the four-hole play-off. Both players parred the first two play-off holes, but the 17th didn’t prove to be Els’s friend this time around as he made bogey. Despite finding trouble off the last, Hamilton managed to get up and down, as he had done so many times that week, for par, whilst Els could only think what might have been as his birdie putt slid agonisingly past the hole
Statistics From 2004
In 2004, Padraig Harington said, “Troon’s not a golf course that suits long or straight hitters, it suits everybody. I would suggest this is certainly one of the fairest courses on The Open roster” – so let’s see if the statistics back that up.
Scott Verplank topped the Driving Accuracy stats and finished 7th, whilst 5th placed Thomas Levet was the second most accurate driver of the week. Retief Goosen and Mike Weir who were the joint fifth most accurate drivers also finished in the top-10.
Hitting Greens-In-Regulation certainly doesn’t seem to be that important, with Weir and Verplank again close to the top of those stats, but the next 3 best players only finished 20th or worse.
Unsurprisingly, Phil Mickelson topped the scramblers, eventually finishing third, whilst the top-4 scramblers all finished in the top-16. Meanwhile, both Els and Westwood finished in the top-4, having been amongst the top-5 putters of the week. The same two players also occupied 4th and 5th in the driving distance stats, which Tiger Woods topped and Goosen was second – pretty much proving Harrington’s theory that any type of player can win at Troon!