For four seasons -
from 1969 to 1972 - there was no brighter star in
golf's firmament than Tony Jacklin. He
accomplished a great deal. The only regret is
that it could have been so much more. Aged 25, he
won the Open at Lytham in 1969, the first British
champion for 18 years. Watching from the
grandstands was a young boy called Sandy Lyle,
who would succeed Jacklin as the next home
winner. Within a year, Jacklin had added the US
Open with no less than seven shots to spare, thus
becoming the first Briton for 50 years to win
America's national title.
British, and ultimately European, golf with these
exploits, but in the ensuing two years he was to
suffer cruelly. A month after his US Open triumph
he opened his defense of the Open at St Andrews
in such blistering fashion that he stood eight
under par after 13 holes. Suddenly, a torrential
storm halted play. The spell was broken and
ultimately he finished fifth. Two summers on, Lee
Trevino wickedly chipped him into forlorn
submission at Muirfield. Jacklin the golfer was
never the same again. But in 1985, Jacklin was
the inspirational non-playing European captain as
the United States were beaten in the Ryder Cup
for the first time in 28 years. His opposite
number on the American side was Trevino.
Vengeance was sweet indeed. Two years later,
Jacklin skippered Europe to victory again, this
time - for the first time - on American soil.
In 1969, Tony
Jacklin became the first home winner of the
British Open for 18 years.
rise to the top was coincided approperiately with
the "Swinging Sixties".