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Feature comparing British Open to Wimbledon

With the PGA Tour taking the previous week off, the eyes of the sporting world are fixed squarely on the United Kingdom, more specifically the All England Tennis Club at Wimbledon for tennis' third Grand Slam event of the year, and its most prestigious.

The fixation on United Kingdom will continue as the The Open Championship, formerly known as the British Open, kicks off on July 14.

Golf's third major of the year will take place at the privately-owned Muirfield in Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland. With the UK's two-most prestigious sports events falling within eight days of each other, here's a look at these two legendary sporting events.

 

Category

Wimbledon

The Open

Year Established

1877

1860

Host Site

All England Club

Muirfield

Site Established

1868

1744

Winner's Prize Money

£1,600,000

£945,000

Trophy

Silver gilt cup

Claret Jug

Current Champion

 Andy Murray

Ernie Els

First British Champion

Spencer Gore, 1977

John Ball, 1890

Last British Champion

Fred Perry, 1936

Tony Jacklin, 1969

First American Champion

Bill Tilden, 1920

Walter Hagen, 1922

Last American Champion

Pete Sampras, 2000

Stewart Cink, 2009

Final Day Ticket Prices

£5,175-6,900

£69-177

.

 

The big difference in ticket prices comes from the nature of the venue. At the golf tournament, the high-end tickets are for one of approximately 20,000 grandstand seats spread throughout the course, but it's on a first-come, first-served basis.

At the Wimbledon men's final, tickets are extremely limited at Centre Court, and with the UK's own Andy Murray taking the crown this year, prices were through the roof. Although England has much national pride in sports such as football (soccer) and cricket, golf and tennis draw the attention of the kingdom each year because of the importance of the tournaments that the UK hosts.

More over, many British fans are firmly convinced that the UK is cursed when it comes to winning its own events, as noted by the men's drought at Wimbledon which reached 77 years before Murray's title Sunday, and the frustration of a native UK man to take the Open title, with the last occurring some 44 years ago.

The ebb and flow of American domination is also present at both events. In the 1960s and 1970s, Arnold Palmer was the first golfer most Americans saw on television winning a tournament and Jack Nickalus won the tournament thrice (1966, 1970, 1978), finished second seven times (a record) and overall had 16 Top 5 finishes. Another American, Tom Watson, won the Open five times, but after his victory in 1983, Americans went through a drought of one title in 11 years.

In recent years, Tiger Woods became the dominant American, with victories in 2000, 2005 and 2006.

In the Amateur Era (pro players could not compete) of 1877-1967, American men won Wimbledon just 17 times, but things changed when the pros started being invited out. Other than the period dominated by the amazing Bjorn Borg between 1976-1980, American men won six Wimbledon titles in 10 years, led by three crowns for the volatile John McEnroe.

Just like at the Open, that period of dominance dropped off to nothing until the 1990s, when American Pete Sampras won the crown seven times in eight years and Andre Agassi added a lone title.

 

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