No other links course in England has hosted the British Open more often than Royal St. George’s.
No other course on the rotation can claim the first Open champion to not break 80 over four rounds and the first Open champion to shoot in the 60s all four rounds.
And when it comes to its terrain, Royal St. George’s is simply like no other.
“Almost like playing on the surface of the moon,” Justin Rose said.
The British Open returns to this peculiar links in the southeast of England for the 14th time Thursday, and about the only certainty is that a claret jug will be awarded to one of the 156 players.
Getting from the opening tee shot to the final putt is not always that simple.
“I’d swear the Royal Air Force used a couple of the fairways for bombing runs,” Greg Norman said in 1993, days before he began dismantling the course with four rounds in the 60s to win his second British Open championship.
After closing with a 64 in the wind, Norman described it as “the world championship of imagination.”
Geoff Ogilvy spoke for dozens of players in a column for Golf World magazine that began, “The funny thing about Royal St. George’s is that it doesn’t seem to be anyone’s favorite course.”
“You haven’t asked Ben Curtis,” Jim Furyk said with a grin.
In his major championship debut, Curtis won the British Open at Royal St. George’s eight years ago. Upon finding him, Curtis rated it as his fifth favorite. And he’s only played seven of the Open courses.