Who Are the Youngest and Oldest Winners of the British Open?

British Open FAQ: Youngest, Oldest Champs

Seve Ballestero was 22 years old when he won the 1979 British Open
Seve Ballesteros is not the all-time youngest Open Champion, but he is the youngest post-1900. Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

Let's go to the extremes of winning at the Open Championship and find out which golfers were youngest and oldest at the times of their victories.

Youngest British Open Winner

The all-time recordholder as youngest winner of the British Open is Young Tom Morris, who was 17 years, 5 months old when he won the 1868 British Open. (It only makes sense that the holder of this record should be remembered with "Young" in his name, doesn't it?)

Morris Jr.'s win came one year after his father, Old Tom Morris, set the all-time record as oldest winner.

Post-1900, the youngest winner is Seve Ballesteros, who was the 1979 Open champion at the age of 22 years, 3 months and 12 days old.

List: Youngest Open Championship Winners

  • Young Tom Morris, 1868: 17 years, 156 days
  • Young Tom Morris, 1869: 18 years, 149 days
  • Young Tom Morris, 1870: 19 year,s 148 days
  • Willie Auchterlonie, 1893: 21 years, 22 days
  • Young Tom Morris, 1872: 21 years, 146 days
  • Seve Ballesteros, 1979: 22 years, 103 days

Worth noting: Ballesteros holds the record as the youngest runner-up in the Open Championship. He was 19 years, 92 days old when he tied with Jack Nicklaus as the second-place finishers to Johnny Miller in 1976.

Oldest British Open Winner

The all-time recordholder as oldest winner of the British Open is Old Tom Morris, who won in 1867 when he was 46 years and 102 days old.

Post-1900, the oldest winner is Roberto De Vicenzo, who was 44 years and 92 days old old when he won the 1967 Open Championship.

One other golfer over the age of 44 won post-1900, and that is Harry Vardon. Vardon was 44 years and 41 days old when he won in 1914.

List: Oldest Open Championship Winners

  • Old Tom Morris, 1867: 46 years, 102 days
  • Roberto de Vicenzo, 1967: 44 years, 92 days
  • Harry Vardon, 1914: 44 years, 41 days
  • Old Tom Morris, 1864: 43 years, 92 days
  • Phil Mickelson, 2013: 43 years, 35 days
  • Darren Clarke, 2011: 42 years, 337 days
  • Ernie Els, 2012: 42 years, 279 days
  • J.H. Taylor, 1913: 42 years, 97 days
  • Willie Park Sr., 1875: 42 years, 72 days
  • Mark O’Meara, 1998: 41 years, 187 days

Worth noting: The oldest runner-up in an Open Championship is Tom Watson, who was 59 years, 318 days old when he finished second to Stewart Cink in the 2009 British Open, losing in a playoff.