The 38th Open | 1898 Prestwick

The cut line is introduced as Vardon wins again

Over the years, many high-profile names have fallen foul of the cut at The Open as the field is whittled down at the halfway point for the business end of the Championship.

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But that had not been the case up until the 38th edition of golf's original Major, with the return of The Open to Prestwick coinciding with the introduction of a new regulation.

The 1898 Championship saw the birth of the cut line, with the field of 76 players playing 36 holes before those with the highest combined scores after their first two rounds were eliminated.

The Times reported that all players within 19 strokes of the leader remained for the final 36 holes, with the additional provision that the final day's field had to contain at least 32 professionals.

Willie Auchterlonie was the first major casualty of the cut as the 1893 Champion Golfer, who had won the previous Open at Prestwick, was amongst the 33 players who missed out.

The cut has accounted for many more of the game's greats since its introduction, with Open winners Francesco Molinari, Henrik Stenson and Ernie Els all accounted for in 2021.

Three-time Champion Golfer Tiger Woods, 2014 winner Rory McIlroy and 2013 winner Phil Mickelson also failed to make the weekend shootout at Royal Portrush in 2019.

But Auchterlonie's elimination from The 1898 Open was ultimately a footnote at the conclusion of the Championship, which saw Harry Vardon win his second Claret Jug in three years.

Vardon had come through a 36-hole play-off with J.H. Taylor - two thirds of the dominant Great Triumvirate with James Braid - for his maiden Open success two years earlier at Muirfield.

And it looked like extra holes would be required again when Willie Park Jnr left himself a putt of around four feet on the last to match Vardon's four-round total of 307.

Yet the two-time Champion Golfer's putt did not drop and Vardon would not be denied despite the best efforts of defending Claret Jug holder Harold Hilton, who closed with 75 to finish two back.

Park later claimed his missed putt on the 18th was due to being misled about Vardon's score by members of the crowd, leading him to believe he had two putts to force the play-off.

"I made dead certain of the four ... only to receive the disappointing news that Vardon had done the hole in three, and had beaten me by a single stroke," said the runner-up.

Park had shared the lead with Hilton courtesy of an opening-round 76, before shooting 75 in his second round to finish the first day with a three-shot advantage at the top.

Vardon was his nearest rival after the opening two rounds, having shot 79 and 75 for a total of 154, while Taylor was two shots further back in a tie for third with Thomas Renouf.

A third-round 78 ensured Park remained in pole position going into the final 18 holes, with Vardon still trailing by two shots after posting 77 on the morning of the final day's play.

But Vardon's closing 76 proved good enough to rip the Claret Jug from Park's hands, with the latter's error on the last resulting in a final-round 79 to lose by just one stroke.