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Top 5 Open Moments: Doug Sanders

A look at some of the best moments in Open history

Posted Jun 09, 2011 by Chris White

St Andrews in Scotland where Sanders threw away the 1970 Open

In 1966, American Doug Sanders finished runner up to Jack Nicklaus at Muirfield, but was all set to avenge that heartbreak in 1970.

Nicknamed the “Peacock of the Fairways” for his extravagant clothing on the golf course, Sanders earned unfortunate notoriety for taking four shots from just 74 yards as the leader playing the final hole of the 1970 British Open at St Andrews.

Having completed three under-par rounds, Sanders stood on the final green, three feet from the hole, with a putt for victory. The lilac-clad Sanders addressed his ball, he paused, bent down to brush away something on his line – real or imagined – before settling down again. There was some nervous twitching in the crowd, wondering whether the pressure of the putt to win had got to him.

Sanders stepped back into position, and pushed the ball about an inch past the right of the hole, forcing the tournament into a playoff with Jack Nicklaus. The next day, Sanders lost the 18-hole play-off to Nicklaus by one shot, and never did win a Major competition, finishing fourth and final second place finish.

Later, Sanders sportingly told Nicklaus: "I gave it to you on Saturday, but you won it on Sunday."

Since retiring from competitive golf, Sanders has been active in his own corporate golf entertainment company and has sponsored the Doug Sanders International Junior golf championships in Houston, Texas, in the US for nearly twenty years.

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