What is the Claret Jug in Golf?
The Claret Jug is a trophy that is given to the winner of The Open Championship, sometimes referred to as the British Open, in the sport of golf. The tournament where the Claret Jug, formally referred to as The Golf Champion Trophy, is awarded is one of four major golf championships. The other three are the Masters, the PGA Championship, and the U.S. Open. The Open Championship is typically in July and can take place in Northern Ireland, Scotland, or England.
Where Does the Claret Jug Get its Name?
One does not have to read between the lines to understand where the term “Claret Jug” came from for the trophy. The Claret Jug is the official name for the award, and it is shaped like a 19th-century jug that serves claret. Claret is a red wine that is produced in a region in France. The trophy has been given to the winner of The Open Championship for over 100 years, but there are three replica ones. Two of them are used for exhibitions, and the third is in the British Museum of Golf in St. Andrews. The winner keeps the trophy for a year but is also given a replica one to cherish.
The History of the Claret Jug
While The Open Championship first began in 1860, the Claret Jug did not exist until 1872. In fact, Willie Park Sr., the first winner of The Open Championship, received a belt after hitting the final hole. The belt was purchased by the Prestwick Golf Club, where an agreement was made regarding The Open Championship that if a golfer won the competition three times in a row, it was theirs to own. In 1870, Tom Morris Jr. won his third consecutive Open Championship, and with the belt belonging to Morris, there was no prize to be given. Since this was the case, there was no 1871 Open Championship. The Claret Jug was then invented but was not given to the winner until the 1873 Open Championship. The first recipient of the Claret Jug was Tom Kidd in 1873, but Tom Morris Jr.'s name is the first to be engraved in the trophy since he won the tournament in 1872, the first year where there was no belt.
Winners of the Claret Jug
The Claret Jug has existed for nearly 150 years, and since 2008 there has been a different winner every year. Due to the pandemic, there was no Open Championship in 2020, so 2019 winner Shane Lowry kept the trophy for two years. There was also no Open Championship from the years 1915 to 1919 due to World War I. The golfer to win the Claret Jug the most is Harry Vardon, winning it six times, including three from 1896 to 1900. Four different golfers, though, have won the Claret Jug five times. Those golfers are Tom Watson, Peter Thomson, John Henry Taylor, and James Braid. Watson is the most recent of the bunch to win his fifth Claret Jug trophy, a feat he accomplished in 1983. Thomson won his fifth just 18 years prior in 1965.