As far as tournaments go, there are always tournaments which are considered more prestigious than others, even though they might share the same official status, for example, Grand Slams in tennis. Winning the US Open is nice, but winning Wimbledon is often a bigger achievement, or at least, it is considered bigger.
On the other hand, take golf and things are not as different. Of the four majors, each of them has its own value and winning either is considered a great achievement. However, one of the majors is not only more prestigious in theory, but is also the oldest golf tournament, the Open Championship, also known as the British Open.
The Origins of the Open Championship
At the time, Allan Robertson was considered the best golfer, until his death in 1859. Following his death, James Ogilvie Fairlie wanted to organize a tournament for professional golfers, to find a successor to Robertson. The first winner was Willie Park Sr. who won the championship belt but the belt had to stay with the club.
The first person to take home the belt was Young Tom Morris, who won the championship 3 consecutive times from 1868 until 1870. There was no tournament in 1871 because Morris was allowed to take the trophy home and they had no trophy.
The American Breakthrough
What started off as a tournament held at Prestwick, where it originated, it moved to other clubs in the UK over the years, after 1925, the tournament was moved to other clubs and courses, because it grew far too popular and the crowds simply couldn’t be hosted.
The first American to win the Open was Walter Hagen in 1922 and it wasn’t his first win. He won three other Opens over the course of his career. Bobby Jones, founder of Augusta was also a winner, as well as Gene Sarazen, who already had US majors under his belt. The tournaments stopped after 1939, due to World War II.
The Modern Era
Following World War II, the tournament resumed in 1946 in St. Andrews, with American Sam Snead emerging as victor. The following decades had multiple winners, young stars such as Jack Nicklaus, not to mention Tiger Woods in 2000. An interesting fact is that there was a different first time winner of the Open from 1994 until 2004.
Another interesting fact is that the Open is always played at a coastal links course, which is often thought of as the purest form of golf, the closest to how modern golf used to look like in the 15th century in Scotland. These types of courses are often nature-shaped rather than built by hand, and a strong wind is almost always present and a large part of how the tournament is played.
The Open Championship is the oldest professional golf tournament and often considered the most prestigious one. Founded in 1860, it is played in the UK, on links courses, and is an event most golf fans and professionals look forward to.