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Who Was the First American Golfer to Win the British Open?

British Open FAQ: First Open champion from the USA

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Walter Hagen in 1920

Walter Hagen (pictured in 1920) was the first golfer born in the USA to win the British Open.

Thompson/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

So who was the first American golfer to win the Open Championship? This is actually a question we can pose two different ways, with two different answers:

  1. Who was the first American citizen to win the British Open? Answer: Jock Hutchison.
  2. Who was the first golfer born in the United States to win the British Open? Answer: Walter Hagen.

The answers are different, but the two golfers who are the answers to these questions won their Open Championships in back-to-back years.

At the 1921 British Open, Jock Hutchison became the first American winner of the tournament. Hutchison was a native of St. Andrews, Scotland (and won the 1921 Open on The Old Course at St. Andrews), but became an American citizen in 1920.

A year after Hutchison's win, Walter Hagen won the 1922 British Open to become the first native-born American winner of the Open Championship.

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