Bob Charles becomes the first left-hander to win The Open – as well as the first New Zealander.
The history of golf is rich with moments that have shaped the sport and captured the imagination of fans worldwide.
The 1963 Open Championship was one such moment. Held at the Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club in Lytham St Annes, England, this tournament marked the 92nd edition of the prestigious event.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane to relive the unforgettable moments of the 1963 Open Championship, where Bob Charles made history and forever etched his name in golfing lore.
A Left-Handed Triumph
It was the summer of 1963 when golf enthusiasts from around the globe turned their attention to the picturesque links of Royal Lytham & St Annes.
What unfolded over those four days from July 10th to July 13th would go down in history as a watershed moment for golf.
Bob Charles, a name not widely known at the time, emerged as the champion of this prestigious tournament.
What made his victory even more remarkable was the fact that he became the first left-hander to ever win a major title.
Charles’s victory in the 1963 Open Championship was not just a personal triumph but a historic breakthrough for left-handed golfers everywhere.
A Thrilling Playoff
The climax of the 1963 Open Championship came in the form of a 36-hole playoff on a sunny Saturday. Bob Charles, cool and composed, played golf that was nothing short of exceptional.
He finished the playoff a staggering eight strokes ahead of his closest competitor, Phil Rodgers. Charles’s masterful performance not only secured him the title but also showcased his unwavering determination.
Among the contenders was none other than the legendary Jack Nicklaus, who had recently claimed the coveted green jacket at the Masters.
However, even the “Golden Bear” couldn’t catch Charles on that fateful day. Nicklaus bogeyed the last two holes and had to settle for third place, just one stroke shy of joining the playoff.
Arnold Palmer, a favorite among local bettors and the two-time defending champion, found himself tied for 26th place in a tournament that didn’t go as planned.
Notably absent from the competition was U.S. Open champion Julius Boros, adding an element of intrigue to the event.
A Change in Format
The 1963 Open Championship marked the end of an era in more ways than one.
It was the last time the tournament would feature a grueling 36-hole playoff. The following year, the format was revamped to an 18-hole playoff, a change that would come to define the future of The Open.
In subsequent years, the tournament experimented with formats, eventually introducing the four-hole aggregate format in 1986, which was first used in 1989.
These changes were designed to keep the competition fresh and exciting for players and fans alike.