Muirfield

Muirfield is a privately owned links which is the home of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. Located in Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland, overlooking the Firth of Forth, Muirfield is one of the golf courses used in rotation for The Open Championship.

Muirfield
The Open at Muirfield in July 2013
Club information
Location in Scotland
Location in East Lothian, Scotland
LocationGullane, East Lothian, Scotland
Established1744 (1891)
TypePrivate
Total holesGolf:18
Tournaments hosted
The Open Championship
The Amateur
Senior Open Championship
Websitehttp://muirfield.org.uk
Designed byTom Morris, Sr.
Par71
Length7,245 yards (6,625 m)
Course rating73 [1]

Muirfield has hosted The Open Championship sixteen times, most recently in 2013 when Phil Mickelson lifted the trophy. Other past winners at Muirfield include Ernie Els, Nick Faldo (twice), Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Henry Cotton, Alf Perry, Walter Hagen, Harry Vardon and Harold Hilton. Muirfield has also hosted The Amateur Championship (ten times), the Ryder Cup in 1973, the 1959 and 1979 Walker Cup, the 1952 and 1984 Curtis Cup, and many other important tournaments.

Muirfield has an unusual layout for a links course. Most links courses run along the coast and then back again leading to two sets of nine holes, the holes in each set facing roughly in the same direction. Muirfield, however, was among the first courses to depart from this arrangement and is arranged as two loops of nine holes, one clockwise, one anticlockwise.[2] This means that assuming the wind direction remains the same throughout a round, virtually every hole on the course has a different apparent wind direction from the tee. No more than three consecutive holes follow the same direction at any stage.

Jack Nicklaus won three Open Championships, the first at Muirfield in 1966, which completed the first of his three career grand slams. Nicklaus has described Muirfield as "the best golf course in Britain."[3] He later developed a championship golf course and community in Dublin, Ohio, a suburb north of his hometown of Columbus. Opened in 1974, Nicklaus named it Muirfield Village; it has hosted his Memorial Tournament, a top invitational event on the PGA Tour since 1976.

Muirfield has halted two post-war attempts at the grand slam, denying the third major of the year to winners of the first two, the Masters and U.S. Open. Nicklaus was runner-up by a stroke in 1972 to Trevino, and Tiger Woods ran into gale-force winds and rain in the third round in 2002 and shot an 81; he rebounded with a 65 on Sunday to finish at even-par, six strokes out of the playoff in a tie for 28th place.

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, now based at Muirfield, holds the claim of being the oldest verifiable organised golf club in the world, although the game of golf is several centuries older. The club's records date continuously back to 1744, when it produced thirteen "Rules of Golf" for its first competition which was played at Leith Links for the "Silver Club".[4] This trophy had been requested by the HCEG from the City of Edinburgh Council, which agreed.[5] The first competition was won by John Rattray, who signed the rules and became the first club captain.[6] The club played on the five holes at Leith Links for nearly a century, but overcrowding forced a move in 1836 to Musselburgh Old Course's 9-hole Old Course. Musselburgh, like many prestigious Scottish courses including St Andrews, is a public course, and this course also eventually became too crowded for the liking of the HCEG's members.

In 1795 the Club applied to the Edinburgh Corporation for a Charter. This was granted on 26 March 1800 together with a Seal of Clause under the new title of 'The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers'.[7]

In 1891, the club built a new private 18-hole course at Muirfield, taking the Open Championship with them. This situation caused some ill feeling at Musselburgh, which lost the right to hold the Open from that point forward. Old Tom Morris designed the new course, which met with wide approval from the start; it has been modified and updated several times since, in significant ways up to the late 1920s, after which it has remained stable.[8] The first Open held on the new course in 1892 was the first tournament anywhere contested over four rounds, or 72 holes.[9]

Membership policy

Until 2017, women were barred from holding membership of the Company, though were permitted to play the course as guests or visitors.[10][11] The exclusion of women from membership was controversial. After a May 2016 vote on the policy reached a majority, but not the two-thirds supermajority required for change, the R&A removed Muirfield from the rotation of Open venues.[12] Speaking shortly after the announcement, secretary Stuart McEwen said the outcome was 'a blow to the club, the local community and Scotland'.[13]

The public backlash led Muirfield to re-ballot on the issue.[14] In March 2017 the club voted to admit women as members for the first time in its history.[15]

Course

The course has been extended by 211 yards (193 m) since the 2002 Championship to 7,245 yards (6,625 m).[16]

Hole123456789Out101112131415161718InTotal
Yards4503673792295614691874455583,6454723893821934784471885784733,6007,245
Par444354345364443443543571

Lengths of the course for Opens since 1950:[17][18]

  • 2013: 7,192 yards (6,576 m), par 71
  • 2002: 7,034 yards (6,432 m), par 71
  • 1992: 6,970 yards (6,373 m), par 71
  • 1987: 6,963 yards (6,367 m), par 71
  • 1980: 6,926 yards (6,333 m), par 71
  • 1972: 6,892 yards (6,302 m), par 71
  • 1966: 6,887 yards (6,297 m), par 71
  • 1959: 6,806 yards (6,223 m), par 72

The Open Championship

The Open Championship was first held at Muirfield in 1892 and has hosted 16 times, the last in 2013.

YearWinnerScoreWinner's
share (£)
R1R2R3R4Total
1892 Harold Hilton (a) 1st78817274305(am)
1896 Harry Vardon 1st83787877316 PO30
1901 James Braid 1st7976748030930
1906 James Braid 3rd7776747330030
1912 Ted Ray7173767529550
1929 Walter Hagen 4th75677575292 (+12)100
1935 Alf Perry69756772283 (−5)100
1948 Henry Cotton 3rd71667572284 (E)150
1959 Gary Player 1st75717068284 (−4)1,000
1966 Jack Nicklaus 1st70677570282 (−2)2,100
1972 Lee Trevino 2nd71706671278 (−6)5,500
1980 Tom Watson 3rd68706469271 (−13)25,000
1987 Nick Faldo 1st68697171279 (−5)75,000
1992 Nick Faldo 3rd66646973272 (−12)95,000
2002 Ernie Els 1st70667270278 (−6)PO700,000
2013 Phil Mickelson69747266281 (−3)945,000
  • Note: For multiple winners of The Open Championship, superscript ordinal identifies which in their respective careers.
  • (a) denotes amateur

The Senior British Open

The Senior British Open Championship was first held at Muirfield in 2007.

YearWinnerScoreWinner's
share (£)
R1R2R3R4Total
2007 Tom Watson 3rd70717073284 (E)157,800

Source:[19]

See also

References

  1. "Course layout". Muirfield. Archived from the original on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  2. World Atlas of Golf, 1987 edition
  3. "Muirfield club steeped in tradition". The Phoenix. 14 July 1980. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  4. "Scottish Golf History: The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfersinto History". Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  5. True Links, by George Peper and Malcolm Campbell, 2010.
  6. Burnett, Allan; Geddes, Olive (Summer 2010). "Slicing into History" (PDF). Discover NLS - Magazine Issue 16. National Library of Scotland. pp. 16–19. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 September 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  7. http://www.muirfield.org.uk/the-history.aspx
  8. The Golf Course, by Geoffrey Cornish and Ronald Whitten, 1981.
  9. The World Atlas of Golf, second edition, 1987, Mitchell Beazely publishers, London.
  10. Brown, Oliver (15 July 2013). "The Open 2013: Muirfield's ban on women set to go with reactionary secretary Alastair Brown". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  11. Murray, Ewan (16 July 2013). "The Open 2013: Muirfield will not change its male-only ways in a hurry". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  12. "Muirfield to lose right to host Open after vote against allowing women members". BBC Sport. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  13. Inglis, Martin (19 May 2016). "Muirfield secretary: 'It's a blow for the club'". bunkered.
  14. Inglis, Martin (27 June 2016). "Muirfield to hold fresh membership ballot". bunkered.
  15. "Muirfield golf club overturns men-only policy". BBC News. 14 March 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  16. "The Course". Muirfield: The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. Archived from the original on 3 May 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  17. "Media guide". The Open Championship. 2011. p. 203. Archived from the original on 18 April 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  18. "British Open: hole-by-hole analysis". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 18 July 2002. p. 3C.
  19. "Major Tom: Watson captures a third Senior British Open". European Senior Tour. 29 July 2007. Retrieved 2 July 2012.

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