On This Day

  • July 12 down the years

Jacklin holds his nerve to win Open

Tony Jacklin had a tight grip on the Claret Jug © Getty Images
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1969
The first British golfer to win the Open since 1951 (6 July). Tony Jacklin (born 7 July 1944) began with a 68 which left him a stroke behind New Zealander Bob Charles, who increased his lead in the second. But Charles slipped to 75 in the third, allowing Jacklin to pull back five strokes and take the lead. The top four all scored 72 in the last round, leaving Jacklin the winner by two shots. He wobbled only twice on the last day, when he found a plantation at the 6th and long grass at the 13th. But he made a birdie at the next hole each time, and his driving got better as the round went on, culminating in a beauty at the last. He finished ahead of four former champions, including Charles, who was runner-up for the second year in a row, and Jack Nicklaus. Jacklin dominated the US Open the following year (21 June) and came close to regaining the Open in 1971 and 1972 (15 July).

Seven years earlier to the day, Charles had become the first left-hander to win a major - on the same course, too. At Lytham, he went on a rollercoaster ride with Phil Rodgers, who started with 67 and 68 but dropped seven shots to Charles, who scored 66 in the third round. Then Rodgers made up a two-stroke deficit to force a play-off. This was held over 36 holes, which was too much for Rodgers. In a battle of great putters, he lost by eight shots. No other leftie won a major until 2003 when Mike Weir picked up the Masters.

2009
At last, after making his World Championship debut in 2002, Australian driver Mark Webber won a race for the first time. It was his 130th, a record wait in Formula 1. He'd been getting close in 2009, finishing second in China, Turkey, and Silverstone. Now he won the German Grand Prix after starting on pole for the first time, overcoming a drive-through penalty and finishing nearly ten seconds ahead of Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel. Car races are like buses: you wait all that time, then two come along together: Webber won in Brazil later that year.

1947
Gareth Edwards was born in Pontardawe. The greatest scrum-half of all-time? A definite maybe. He couldn't pass like Ken Catchpole or make breaks like Sid Going, but then Going was a shocking passer and Catchpole hardly ever ran. When Chris Laidlaw patented the spin pass, Edwards couldn't get enough of it, though he only ever learned to use it off his right hand. But his all-round game, including his box kicks, was the best ever. His training as a gymnast gave him strength and balance for twisting out of tackles to score unlikely tries, and his speed led to TV favourites for Wales against Scotland in 1972 (when he finished with a face full of mud after a 75-yard run) and the Barbarians in 1973 (27 January). Edwards won his first cap when he was 19, captained Wales at 20, and didn't miss a match in an international career of 53 as well as playing in ten Tests for the Lions. Brave against the dominant South Africans in 1968, he was back to destroy them six years later (13 July), after playing a vital part in the series win over the All Blacks in 1971 (14 August). His 20 tries for Wales were a national record at the time.

Fred Stokes shared Gareth's birthday and also captained his country when he was only 20, in the first international match ever played (27 March 1871). Stokes was born in Greenwich in 1850. He also captained England in his other two internationals, also against Scotland in 1872 and 1873, before becoming president of the RFU in 1874. His brother Len captained England five times.

1809
Robert Barclay Allardice, known as Captain Barclay, completed his famous feat of walking 1,000 miles in 1,000 hours. It took him 42 days, because he walked a mile every hour. "He felt no inconvenience during the match, until the fourth week, when he became rather lame in the back sinews and calf of his right leg". All done for a bet, of course. Quite a lot of bets. An estimated £100,000 was wagered, a colossal sum at the time. Thousands of spectators came to Newmarket Heath to watch him walk, accompany him, or marvel at his training regime. Somehow he survived 'purging by drastic medicines', sweating under several layers of clothing, and a diet of meat, cheese, and strong ale. He lost more than two stone but gained £3,000.

1980
Maurice Hope retained his world title. Born in Antigua but a British and European champion, he'd travelled to San Remo to take the WBC light-middleweight belt from Rocky Mattioli, an Italian based in Australia. Mattioli lasted two rounds longer here in Wembley, but he took too many punches in trying to throw his own, which left him a mile behind on points when Hope stopped him in the 11th. Hope had the success but not the money, so he defended the title against one of the all-time greats (23 May 1981).

1986
Evander Holyfield's first world title fight. A 15-round split decision over Dwight Mohammed Qawi gave him the WBA cruiserweight title. The following year, he knocked out Qawi in the fourth round to retain the WBA and IBF belts. Holyfield fought his last world title fight 22 years after his first (20 December).

1962
Julio César Chávez was born in Mexico and grew into a boxing legend. No-one else can match his 37 world title fights - and he lost only four of them, all near the end of his career: he was 34 before Oscar de La Hoya (born 4 February 1973) stopped him for the first time. Chávez was unbeaten in his first 90 pro fights before losing controversially to Frankie Randall in 1994 (29 January), then regained the title by stopping Randall later that year. He fought his first world title fight in 1984, his last in 2000, and won belts at three different weights: super-featherweight to light-welter. As well as Randall, he beat class acts like Pernell Whitaker, Hector Camacho, Meldrick Taylor, Roger Mayweather, Rafael 'Bazooka' Limon, Rocky Lockridge, and Greg Haugen. He had his last fight in 2005.

1924
At the Olympic Games, bespectacled American Harold Osborn won the decathlon to complete a unique double. On 7 July, he won the high jump. Now he became the only athlete to win the decathlon as well as another event. He set an Olympic record in the high jump and a world record today, scoring 7,711 points to finish 360 ahead of team mate Emerson Norton, who led after eight events but had disasters in the javelin and 1500 metres. Reigning world record holder Aleksandr Klumberg of Estonia won the bronze. Women make passes at men who wear glasses: Osborn later married Ethel Catherwood, Canadian pin-up and Olympic high jump champion in 1928.

The last cross-country race ever held at the Olympics. Paavo Nurmi and Finland retained the individual and team titles, but the conditions decimated the field. Running in extreme heat on stone paths covered in knee-high thistles, many competitors didn't finish. One of the Spaniards fell and cut his head; a British runner went the wrong way before hitting another competitor and collapsing; another Brit and a Frenchman fell on their faces near the finish; various others were treated by the Red Cross for vomiting and sunstroke! Finland won team gold only after Heikki Liimatainen staggered off the track before the finish and had to be called back to walk over the line. Meanwhile Nurmi finished a cool 24 seconds ahead of team mate Ville Ritola. The day after, while many others were recovering in hospital, the two of them were winning another gold in the 3,000 metre team race.

Anthony 'Nick' Winter of Australia set a world record to win the Olympic triple jump. Not bad going for a man from a country where the event wasn't included in the national championships until six years later. Before his last jump in Paris, Winter had a bad competition, making only two valid jumps and reaching only 15.18 metres, well behind the 15.42 of Argentina's Luis Brunetto. Then Winter got it all together with 15.52, which survived as a world best until 1931.

1997
John Bentley won his first England cap in nine years. In his last international match before moving to rugby league, he'd scored a try against Australia in Brisbane. Now he played in a 25-6 defeat in Sydney. He probably wouldn't have been recalled at all if he hadn't played for the Lions in South Africa a week earlier. A strong, fast, and loudly confident winger, he was a star of that tour, scoring a famous long-range try against Gauteng.

1912
Fanny Durack became the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming. She did well to take part at all. The Australian national board thought it a waste of money sending women to the Games, and her state association voted to let her go only if she paid her own way. Eventually a fund was set up and Durack got to Stockholm with fellow Oz Mina Wylie. The only individual event for women was the 100 metres freestyle. In the heats, Durack swam 1 minute 19.8 to break the world record set by Britain's Daisy Curwen. In the semi-finals, Curwen lost to Durack before undergoing an emergency appendectomy. In the final, Durack swam a slower time but won easily despite banging into the side wall. Wylie won the silver.

On the same day, the inaugural modern pentathlon was staged at the Games, introduced by hosts Sweden, won by a Swede, with Swedes filling six of the first seven places. The odd man out was George Patton of the USA, who would have won the gold if he'd done better in the shooting. He claimed that he was penalised for missing the target when one of his shots went through a hole he'd already made! Nice try. An army lieutenant at the time, he became General Patton of Second World War fame. He prepared for the cross-country run with an injection of opium! Gösta Lilliehöök won the gold.

1980
A narrow defeat on 28 June cost the British Lions the Test series in South Africa, but at least today they avoided a 4-0 whitewash by winning the fourth Test. As in the three previous games, the Lions won the forward battle but wasted chances behind; their backs simply weren't good enough. So the pack had to do it for them, driving prop Clive Williams over for the opening try and scoring the last through John O'Driscoll. But Ollie Campbell missed three kickable penalties, so the Lions led only 7-3 at the end of a half which their forwards had completely dominated. Naturally this cost them. South Africa scored ten points in five minutes, including two penalties by Gysie Pienaar, one from inside his own half. That should have destroyed the Lions, but instead they scored two more tries and could have won by more than 17-13. If they'd played like this in the other three Tests...as their captain Bill Beaumont said, "We've given it away."

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