Today marks the 50th anniversary of Gary Player’s Open Championship victory at Carnoustie. As Carnoustie prepares to host yet again next week, we look back at the 1968 Open.
Going into the final round Gary Player was strongly in contention, two strokes behind the leader Billy Casper. The weather turned colder and as Player puts it, “the wind was sharp—as sharp as the action.” Player played well throughout the round, but it was his shot on the 14th hole that would win him the tournament.
“My drive on 14 cut right down the middle of the fairway in perfect position. Selecting a 3-wood, I laced into the ball; the shot was so straight I had to lean sideways to see the top of the flag stick. If there is such a thing as a “career” shot, I guess this one qualifies. My tap-in for an eagle gave me a two-stroke lead. I’ll never forget that hole as long as I live … it is nicknamed the “spectacles hole” because two well-placed bunkers right in front give it the appearance of a pair of eye glasses.”
Player made par on the last 4 holes and finished with a total score of 289, two strokes ahead of Jack Nicklaus and Bob Charles. All of this on a course that the globetrotting Player would later call “the hardest course I have ever played anywhere.” This 1968 win was Player’s 2nd Open Championship, coming 9 years after his first, and it was the 5th Major of a career that would eventually see Player win 9 Majors and 9 Senior Majors.