Peter Thomson, 1955
Major CV: Now a celebrated course architect, the Aussie won The Open five times (1954, ’55, ’56, ’58 & ’65) and was the only man to lift the Claret Jug for three consecutive years in the 20th century.
St Andrews moment: Thomson defended his title in 1955, finishing two strokes ahead of runner-up John Fallon with 281 (-7) to claim the winner’s £1,000 cheque.
Why is St Andrews so special?
It is made up of natural holes where the history of the game is encapsulated in one venue. As you tread the fairways, you walk in the footsteps of golfing legends from long ago and the most famous names in golf. You try to think just how they would have approached playing each hole.
What is your favourite hole?
The 17th because of the infamous Road Hole bunker, which has played a major role in many a championship. Though I have never been unlucky enough to go there in a Major, I recollect the semi-final of the Matchplay Championship in 1954, against John Panton – I finished 3-3 to tie the match. This meant extra holes, and I ultimately won, but my three at the 17th set it all up. Perhaps that’s why I love it!
What would be your stand-out St Andrews moment?
I remember the last day in 1955 especially. I drove into the Beardies bunkers guarding 14th fairway, and ran up a seven, but came back with a birdie at the next hole which got me back on track.
Is today’s Old Course too short and easy for the modern game?
It has been lengthened over the years, but the equipment players use now has made it considerably easier.
Will The Open still be played on the Old Course in 100 years time?
Your guess is as good as mine.
Who is your tip to win this year?
Rory McIlroy is the world No.1 and a joy to watch while Adam Scott has been the world No.1, and has been one of my favourite Aussie players. I expect him to win an Open at some stage. Jordan Spieth is my other one to watch.