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1986 Greg Norman Wins The Open at Turnberry


The 1986 Open Championship will forever be etched in golf history as the stage where Greg Norman secured his maiden major championship victory.

Held at the picturesque Turnberry Golf Resort in Scotland from July 17th to July 20th, this iconic event marked the 115th playing of the prestigious tournament.

Greg Norman led all four of the majors after 54 holes in 1986, a feat dubbed the “Saturday Slam”. But the only one he actually won was The Open at Turnberry.

Amid all the frustration of near-misses that had gone before, not least losing to Jack Nicklaus at the Masters earlier that year, and still to come, such as Bob Tway’s holed bunker shot at the PGA Championship a few weeks later,

Norman finally secured a first major title. 

Greg Norman’s journey to victory was nothing short of remarkable, and it was his exceptional performance during the second round that set the stage for his triumph.

Aided by a stellar round of 63, Norman finished the championship at even-par, putting him an impressive five strokes ahead of his nearest competitor, Gordon J. Brand.

The 1986 Open Championship was not the first time Turnberry had played host to this prestigious event.

Nearly a decade earlier, in 1977, the world witnessed the unforgettable “Duel in the Sun” between two golfing legends, Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus.

Watson emerged victorious that year with a record-breaking score of 268, a staggering twelve strokes lower than Norman’s even-par 280 in 1986.

Throughout its storied history, the Open Championship has seen its fair share of changes, and 1986 was no exception.

One significant alteration was the discontinuation of the second cut, introduced in 1968 and eliminated after the 1985 tournament.

This change had a notable impact on the dynamics of the competition.

Another pivotal change in 1986 was the adjustment to the playoff format.

Prior to that year, playoffs consisted of 18 holes the day following the final round, and before 1964, they even extended to a grueling 36 holes.

However, the 1986 Open Championship marked a turning point as it introduced a more streamlined four-hole aggregate playoff immediately following the final round.

This innovative format would go on to become the standard in future editions of the tournament, starting with its implementation in 1989.

Steve King of Fore King Golf

Steve King

Steve King is a UK based golf blogger, who shares online golf coaching that he created with his good friend Richard Lawless (PGA Professional)

Steve plays most of his golf in his home county of Wiltshire, in the UK. Read more about Steve