The reigning champion of the competition is automatically invited to play in the other three majors (Masters, the U.S. Open, and the PGA Championship) for the next five years. The prize of the tournament is the Golf Champion Trophy, commonly known as the Claret Jug, and the champion personally keeps the trophy until the next competition the following year. The champion also receives a gold medal, which they are allowed to keep permanently. Until 1870 the champion received the Challenge Belt, however when Tom Morris, Jr (more commonly known as Young Tom Morris) won the Open Championship three times in a row he won the belt outright, necessitating the need for a new trophy.
Harry Vardon holds the record for the most Open Championship victories, winning six times during his career. The oldest winner of the Open Championship is Tom Morris, Sr (or Old Tom Morris) who was 46 years and 99 days old when he won in 1867. His son, Tom Morris, Jr, is the youngest winner of the championship, he was 17 years and 181 days old when he won the 1868 Open Championship. He also won the most consecutive times with four victories (1868–72). Greg Norman holds the record for the lowest score over 72 holes, winning the Open Championship in 267 strokes in 1993. Tiger Woods holds the distinction of being the most strokes under par for 72 holes,[a] he was 19 strokes under par (−19) when he won in 2000. The Open Championship has been won wire-to-wire after 72 holes by seven champions, who are the following: Ted Ray in 1912, Bobby Jones in 1927, Gene Sarazen in 1932, Henry Cotton in 1934, Tom Weiskopf in 1973, Woods in 2005, and Rory McIlroy in 2014. Other players have led wire-to-wire if ties after a round are included, most recently Gary Player in the 1974 Open Championship.
a 72 holes refers to four rounds of golf played on the same 18 holes of golf, with the pin positions varying from one round to another.
b Par is a predetermined number of strokes that a golfer should require to complete a hole, a round (the sum of the total pars of the played holes), or a tournament (the sum of the total pars of each round). E stands for even, which means the tournament was completed in the predetermined number of strokes.