Scotland is the home of golf, so it’s hardly surprising that the country’s men and women have put in some great performances on the fairways over the years.
With the Solheim Cup coming to Gleneagles later this year, golf will be on everyone’s lips this summer.
1. Colin Montgomerie, Ryder Cup, 2010
The 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in Newport, South Wales, will always be remembered for the rain, which forced the contest to finish on Monday instead of Sunday. This was the 17th time that the cup had been staged in Britain, but the first time in Wales. The tournament was played on the specially constructed Twenty Ten Course, but it will also be remembered for Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie captaining his European team to a dramatic victory, with Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell winning the final round. This was an unprecedented fourth consecutive victory at home for the European team.
2. Paul Lawrie, The Open, Carnoustie, 1999
In 1999 at Carnoustie, Paul Lawrie became the first Scot to win The Open in his home country since Tommy Armour’s victory on the Angus course in 1931. Frenchman Jean van de Velde had led for the first three rounds, but Lawrie remained cool under pressure to produce a birdie on the final hole and clinch the Claret Jug.
3. Jessie Valentine, British Ladies Championship, Hunstanton Golf Club, 1958
Born in Perth in 1915, Jessie Valentine was hailed as the ‘queen of golf’ after she won the 1958 British Ladies Championship staged at Hunstanton Golf Club in Norfolk, securing victory over rival Elizabeth Park by a single hole at the end of a closely-fought contest. Valentine, who was also Scottish Ladies Champion six times and was selected on seven occasions for the Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup team, became a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1959.
4. The ‘first’ Ryder Cup, Gleneagles, 1921
In 1921, twenty men from Great Britain & Ireland and the United States faced each other in a challenge match. The contest had no name, no fanfare and no trophy – but it paved the way for one of the most famous sporting competitions in the world. Six years later, the ‘official’ Ryder Cup was launched in Massachusetts.
05. James Braid, The Open, St Andrews, 1910
James Braid from Earlsferry in Fife sealed a fi fth Open win with a round of 76 on the Old Course at St Andrews in 1910, adding to his victories at Muirfield in 1901, St Andrews in 1905, Muirfield again in 1906 and Prestwick in 1908. He went on to design golf courses, including the Open Championship venue, Carnoustie Golf Links, as well as the King’s and Queen’s courses at Gleneagles.
06. Sandy Lyle, US Masters, Augusta, 1988
One of the greatest moments ingrained in the minds of Scottish golf fans came when Sandy Lyle hit the ball out of the bunker on the 18th hole. He sank the ensuing putt for a birdie to win by one stroke over runner-up Mark Calcavecchia of the United States, making him the first European player to win the US Masters and claim the famed green jacket. He remains the only Scot to have won the title.
07. Willie Park Snr, The First Open, Prestwick, 1860
The first Open saw two of the greatest names in golf – Willie Park Snr of Musselburgh and Old Tom Morris of St Andrews – doing battle on the windswept course at Prestwick. Park emerged victorious after three rounds on the 12 hole links course. Clubs from throughout Scotland and England had been invited to send their best players to the contest.
08. Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, The Open, Prestwick, 1868
‘Old’ Tom Morris and his son, Tommy, dominated the game in the 1860s and 1870s. Old Tom won The Open four times, with his son equalling his haul. The tipping point came in 1868 at Prestwick, when Young Tom Morris beat his father to claim his first title. Young Tom went on to win the competition three times in a row, allowing him to keep the trophy, a red leather belt.
09. Sam Torrance, Ryder Cup, The Belfry, 1985
When Scottish golfing legend Sam Torrance sank the winning putt at The Belfry on 15 September, 1985, he handed Europe its first Ryder Cup win in 28 years. In his autobiography, Out Of Bounds, Torrance later admitted that the celebrations lasted for four days. Torrance then went on to captain Europe to victory on the same course in 2002.
10. Catriona Matthew, Women’s British Open, Royal Lytham & St Annes, 2009
Catriona Matthew became the first Scot to win a women’s major golf championship when she sealed victory at the British Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2009. Matthew’s win came just weeks after she gave birth to her second daughter, Sophie, leading the press to dub it ‘the mother of all victories’.