The Open Championship
The Open was first called the ‘General Open Competition’ and had its origins in the rising enthusiasm for golf at Prestwick. These natural west coast links had lain largely unused, as golf was primarily a winter game played on the east coast. In 1860 The Prestwick Golf Club believed it time they organised a tournament themselves. The originator and founder of the competition was J.O. Fairlie, an Ayrshire landowner and regular player on the east.
The prize for the winner would be a handsome red Moroccan leather belt in the fashion of a prize-fighter’s boxing trophy. The seeds of the world’s greatest golf tournament were sown.
The Open competition was held over Prestwick Links up to and including 1870, when the champions belt became the property of Tom Morris Junior after winning three times in succession. In 1871 there was no competition. From 1872 to 1892 the Open Championship was played alternately between St. Andrews, Prestwick, and Musselburgh Links. The competition was always played over 36 holes in one day, which involved 2 rounds of 18 holes at St Andrews, 3 rounds of 12 at Prestwick and 4 rounds of 9 at Musselburgh Links.