[PHOTO: Mark Alexander]
In every other respect, it was just an ordinary October Wednesday in Prestwick 162 years ago. But down at the local links, a golf competition was about to be born. Three weeks prior to Abraham Lincoln being elected the 16th president of the United States and only months before America would indulge in the ultimate oxymoron, a Civil War, eight competitors – seven Scots and an Englishman – were readying themselves to tee off.
The tournament was played over 36 holes and there was no halfway cut (so no world ranking points were awarded). But this was the beginning of what is today golf’s most historic event, the Open Championship. Which was, at least for that first playing, a misnomer. No amateurs were allowed to enter, only professionals.
Not until the night before the second playing of the event in 1861 was it resolved that moving forward…