1962 British Open: Two In a Row for Arnie

A scoreboard showing Arnold Palmer and Kel Nagle scores during 1962 British Open
A slate scoreboard, marked in chalk, shows 1962 British Open winner Arnold Palmer three ahead of runner-up Kel Nagle. Palmer won by six. Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

When Arnold Palmer made his Open Championship debut in 1960, Kel Nagle spoiled it for him, beating Arnie by a stroke for the title. At the 1962 British Open, it was Palmer who finished first and Nagle who finished second - but it wasn't close. Palmer led Nagle by five entering the final round, and finished with a 6-stroke victory. Nagle was another seven shots ahead of the third-place golfers, Brian Huggett and Phil Rodgers. So Palmer was 13 strokes better than the third-place finishers.

How dominant was Palmer? There were only five rounds in the 60s the entire tournament, and Palmer had three of them: He finished 69-67-69. (One of the others was by Huggett, and the fifth by Peter Alliss, who tied for eighth.)

It was Palmer's second consecutive win in the British Open, and Palmer was so popular that the R&A had to institute much more stringent crowd control measures in every Open after this one. Roping-and-staking of fairways, and fencing of course boundaries, began at the 1963 Open because Palmer had drawn so many fans to this one.

Palmer never finished higher than seventh in a British Open after this, and he won just one more major (the 1964 Masters). His victory here was Palmer's sixth of seven career majors.

Palmer was just the second golfer (after Ben Hogan in 1954) to win The Masters and the British Open in the same year. And his 276 total lowered the tournament scoring record by two shots and stood until 1977.

Sam Snead played the British Open only five times. Two of those resulted in missed cuts when Snead was well past his prime. He finished 11th in 1937 and won in 1946. And here, in 1962, at age 50, Snead tied for sixth place.

And there was a significant - very significant - debut at the 1962 British Open. Jack Nicklaus made his Open Championship debut here, finishing tied for 32nd. Nicklaus had rounds of 80 and 79, and even scored a 10 on one hole. Nicklaus went on to win this tournament three times, with seven more second-place finishes.

A note about the British Open format: All players had to play two rounds of qualifying to get in. In other words, there were no exemptions into the field (and never had been in Open history). But this was the last Open where that was case. Exemptions were introduced the following year.

1962 British Open Golf Tournament Scores

Results from the 1962 British Open golf tournament played at the par-72 Troon Golf Club in Troon, Scotland (a-amateur):

Arnold Palmer 71-69-67-69--276
Kel Nagle 71-71-70-70--282
Brian Huggett 75-71-74-69--289
Phil Rodgers 75-70-72-72--289
Bob Charles 75-70-70-75--290
Sam Snead 76-73-72-71--292
Peter Thomson 70-77-75-70--292
Peter Alliss 77-69-74-73--293
Dave Thomas 77-70-71-75--293
Syd Scott 77-74-75-68--294
Ralph Moffitt 75-70-74-76--295
Jean Garaialde 76-73-76-71--296
Sebastian Miguel 72-79-73-72--296
Harry Weetman 75-73-73-75--296
Ross Whitehead 74-75-72-75--296
Roger Foreman 77-73-72-75--297
Bernard Hunt 74-75-75-73--297
Denis Hutchinson 78-73-76-70--297
Jimmy Martin 73-72-76-76--297
Christy O'Connor Sr. 74-78-73-72--297
John Panton 74-73-79-71--297
Tony Coop 76-75-75-72--298
Donald Swaelens 72-79-74-74--299
Brian Bamford 77-73-74-76--300
Lionel Platts 76-75-78-71--300
Guy Wolstenholme 78-74-76-72--300
Hugh Boyle 73-78-74-76--301
Keith MacDonald 69-77-76-79--301
George Low 77-75-77-73--302
Harry Bradshaw 72-75-81-75--303
Harold Henning 74-73-79-77--303
Jimmy Hitchcock 78-74-72-79--303
Doug Beattie 72-75-79-78--304
Eric Brown 74-78-79-74--305
Jack Nicklaus 80-72-74-79--305
John Johnson 76-74-81-76--307
Don Essig 76-72-79-81--308
a-Charlie Green 76-75-81-76--308
David Miller 76-74-81-78--309