On Wednesday, July 11th, the 1970 British Open Gold Championship takes the cream of the world's golfers to the cradle of gold, St.
On Wednesday, July 11th, the 1970 British Open Gold Championship takes the cream of the world's golfers to the cradle of gold, St. Andrews, to do battle for a best-ever purse of GBP40,000. The winner gets GBP5,250.
In 1893 the total prize money in the Open was only GBP100, in 1910 it went up to GBP125, and by 1920 it had reached GBP 225.
The rewards today would stagger old-time golfing greats like Harry Vardon, who picked up only GBP50 as his first prize in 1911.
He won the British Open six times around the turn of the century, yet had the modest occupation of Professional to the South Herts Club when he died in 1937. A likeable man who did to seek the limelight, he had little chance of today's big money.
The legendary American star Bobby Jones was a great performer on the Old Course, capturing three out of the four Opens in which he competed. In 1930 he became the only golfer in history to win the "Grand slam" -- the four major tournaments of the golf world, the Amateur and Open Championships of Britain and the United States. In 1927 there were scenes of adulation at St. Andrews for Jones as he retained the Open with a record score.
Australian Peter Thomson's greatest moment in five Open victories was at Birkdale in 1965, when he beat the Americans Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, and South African Gary Player.
Thomson has recently recovered from a hernia operation and wrist injury. Nobody has a better knowledge of the Old Course than he, and although past 40 he is thought to have a good chance in 1970.
Also over-forty and with a chance is American Arnold Palmer, who won at Royal Birkdale and Troon in 1961 and 1962.
The American Jack Nicklaus, nicknamed the 'Golden Bear' won the Open in 1966 at Muirfield. He has competed eight times in the championship, with three seconds and a third place as well as his one victory. Only in his first appearance in 1962 was he out of the top 12.
However, since the 1967 U.S. Open he has played in 12 of the world's major championships without a win. He is best known for his power play.
Another strong American is 39-year-old Billy Casper, who has been in two previous Opens without a win.
Casper lost in the 1968 Open to the consistent little South African Gary Player,who has won twice before and must still be among the favourites.
He won the American Open in 1965.
The 1969 British Open was a great triumph for Britain's Tony Jacklin, who was the first home player for 18 years to win the title.
Bolstered by two years hard work on the tough United States golf circuit, he beat New Zealander Bob Charles by two strokes, to return a four-under-par 2880 for the 72 holes at Lytham St. Annes.
Twenty-five-year-old Jacklin has since proved his temperament by winning the American Open since then, and must therefore be a hot favourite.
Jacklin plays at St. Andrews alongside the 12 members of the British Ryder Cup side which played a historic tied match with the United States in 1969. At least of them -- Brian Huggett, second and third in previous Opens -- and Neil Coles, a brilliant iron player -- are thought to have the next best British chances after Jacklin.
Seven of that 1969 American team will be there this time. They are Tommy Aaron, Miller Barber, Dale Douglass, Ray Floyd, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino and Billy Casper.
Other Americans taking part are Orville Moody, Gay Brewer, Bert Yancey, Bert Green, Tome Weiskopf, Dave Marr, and Doug Sanders.