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Long game

Steven LynchJuly 27, 2014
Gary Player lifts his maiden Claret Jug, 15 years before his last © Getty Images
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Gary Player won his first Open in 1959, and his last in 1974. Is this the longest span as an Open winner? asked Martin Bryant

There are two golfers whose Open victories span a greater number of years than Gary Player's 15, although they were admittedly a long time ago.

There were 18 years between Harry Vardon's first claret jug in 1896 and his sixth (still the overall record) in 1914, but he has to give best to another member of the so-called "Golden Triumvirate", JH Taylor, whose first win came in 1894 and his fifth in 1913 (James Braid, the other member of that feted trio, won five between 1901 and 1910).

Willie Park Sr, the winner of the inaugural Open in 1860, won his fourth and last in 1875 to match Player's 15-year span.

Henry Cotton won his first Open in 1934 and his third in 1948. The 11-year gap between Cotton's second win in 1937 and that third one is the longest between Open victories by anyone. Ernie Els (2002 to 2012) comes next.

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