Padraig Harrington became the first European to win The Open for eight years when he lifted the Claret Jug after a titanic battle with Sergio Garcia at Carnoustie in 2007.
The previous European win in 1999 had also come at Carnoustie as Paul Lawrie took advantage of Jean van de Velde’s astonishing final-hole meltdown, and the famous Scottish links again witnessed a play-off to decide the Champion Golfer of the Year.
Garcia had led the tournament through the first three days and looked nailed on to claim his maiden major as he took a three-shot lead into the final round, with Harrington six behind.
The Spaniard struggled to repeat his excellent form of the first 54 holes, but he battled hard to grind out several clutch pars and retained a one-shot advantage heading to the 18th tee, with Harrington in the clubhouse lead on seven under after a closing 67.
Garcia missed the green with his approach and, despite an impressive pitch under the circumstances, the putt for par and victory lipped out and the Ryder Cup team-mates headed for the 15th tee to begin a four-hole play-off.
Harrington then birdied the 15th in the play-off while Garcia bogeyed, and both men parred the next two to leave a two-shot gap going back up to the 18th.
The Irishman then ran into real trouble as he risked a double bogey, but a superb pitch up to five feet coupled with Garcia’s failure to birdie the tough par-four meant that Harrington prevailed and became the first Irishman to lift the Claret Jug for 60 years.