The British Open: The 10 best players from each era

Rory McIlroy, British Open,(Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy, British Open,(Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images) /
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British Open, St. Andrews, R&A, The Open, 150th Open
Peter  Thomson with one of his Open trophies. Allsport Hulton/Archive /

British Open: The Thomson-Locke era (1946-58)

In the years following World War II, Americans largely eschewed traveling for the British Open, the distance and expense making it not worth their while.

Only two won the title, Sam Snead in 1946 and Ben Hogan in 1953, and both did so in the only appearances of their playing primes.

In their place, stars of far-flung ports of the British Empire emerged. Between them, Australian Peter Thomson and South African Bobby Locke won seven titles between 1949 and 1958.

Irishmen Fred Daly and Harry Bradshaw won in 1947 and 1949.

Top 10 Players Of The Thompson-Locke Era.

1.       Peter Thomson, -1.88

2.       Bobby Locke, -1.52

3.       Antonio Cerda, -1.11

4.       Henry Cotton, -1.06

5.       Fred Daly, -0.94

6.       Charlie Ward, -0.93

7.       Harry Weetman, -0.80

8.       Flory Van Donck, -0.65

9.       Dai Rees, -0.57

10.    Christy O’Connor, -0.55

Thomson was certainly the era’s dominant figure.

Between 1952 and 1957 he never finished worse than second, losing by one stroke to Locke in 1952, by four to Hogan in 1953, and by three to Locke in 1957. He would go on to add a fifth championship in 1965.

Beyond his three victories, Locke was runner-up to Snead in 1946 and to Thomson in 1954.

This is the only era between the demise of the Great Triumverate and the present day without an American anywhere on the top 10 list.

Only one even tried; Frank Stranahan tied for second in 1947 and 1953, his best finishes in 10 appearances during that era.