|Dates||12–15 July 1961|
|Course(s)||Royal Birkdale Golf Club|
|Length||6,844 yards (6,258 m)|
|Field||108 players, 48 after cut|
The 1961 Open Championship was the 90th Open Championship, played 12–15 July at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England. Arnold Palmer won the first of two consecutive Open Championships, one stroke ahead of Dai Rees. It was the second Open for Palmer, the runner-up in his first in 1960, and the fourth of his seven major titles. He was the first American to win the Claret Jug since Ben Hogan in 1953. This was the second Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, which hosted in 1954.
Qualifying took place on 10–11 July. Entries played 18 holes on the Championship course and 18 holes at Hillside Golf Club. The number of qualifiers was limited to a maximum of 120. Ties for 120th place would not qualify. The qualifying score was 151 and 108 players qualified. There were 22 players on 152. Bob Charles led the qualifiers on 136, two ahead of Gary Player. A maximum of 50 players could make the cut after 36 holes. Ties for 50th place did not make the cut.
Gale-force winds caused scores to soar during the second round on Thursday, followed by heavy rains which washed out both rounds on Friday. Cancellation was a possibility, but the weather cooperated enough to play the third and fourth rounds in showers on Saturday.
Past champions in the field
Made the cut
|Player||Country||Year(s) won||R1||R2||R3||R4||Total||To par||Finish|
|Peter Thomson||Australia||1954, 1955, 1956, 1958||75||72||70||73||290||+2||7|
|Henry Cotton||England||1934, 1937, 1948||76||77||74||77||304||+16||T32|
|Gary Player||South Africa||1959||73||77||WD|
Missed the cut
|Player||Country||Year(s) won||R1||R2||Total||To par|
|Bobby Locke||South Africa||1949, 1950, 1952, 1957||75||84||159||+15|
Wednesday, 12 July 1961
|T1||Harold Henning||South Africa||68||−4|
|T7||Alan Brookes||South Africa||70||−2|
|Arnold Palmer||United States|
Thursday, 13 July 1961
|T1||Harold Henning||South Africa||68-74=142||−2|
|Arnold Palmer||United States||70-73=143|
|Christy O'Connor Snr||Ireland||71-77=148|
|Brian Wilkes||South Africa||72-76=148|
Saturday, 15 July 1961 - (morning)
|1||Arnold Palmer||United States||70-73-69=212||−4|
|3||Christy O'Connor Snr||Ireland||71-77-67=215||−1|
|T5||Harold Henning||South Africa||68-74-75=217||+1|
Saturday, 15 July 1961 - (afternoon)
|Place||Player||Country||Score||To par||Money (£)|
|1||Arnold Palmer||United States||70-73-69-72=284||−4||1,400|
|Christy O'Connor Snr||Ireland||71-77-67-73=288|
|T10||Harold Henning||South Africa||68-74-75-76=293||+5||140|
Amateurs: White (+18), Christmas (+20)
- "Palmer takes British crown". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. 16 July 1961. p. 1B.
- "Media guide". The Open Championship. 2011. pp. 75, 203–8. Archived from the original on 18 April 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- "Player's controlled power an Open golf hint - Charles leading qualifier". The Times. 12 July 1961. p. 12.
- "Palmer fires opening 71 in British Open tourney". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. 10 July 1961. p. 3B.
- "Trick-shooting Ezar fires 70". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. 11 July 1961. p. 3B.
- "Palmer trailing by one in British". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. 14 July 1961. p. 15.
- "British weather may halt open tourney". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. 15 July 1961. p. 9.
- Longhurst, Henry (24 July 1961). "Arnie gets the one he wanted". Sports Illustrated. p. 20. Archived from the original on 12 October 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
1961 U.S. Open
|Major Championships||Succeeded by|
1961 PGA Championship