The 1937 Open Championship was the 72nd Open Championship, held 7–9 July at Carnoustie Golf Links in Carnoustie, Scotland. Henry Cotton won the second of his three Open titles, two strokes ahead of runner-up Reg Whitcombe. The Ryder Cup was held in late June at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in northwest England, and all the members of the victorious American team played in the championship, creating a star-studded field.
Qualifying took place on 5–6 July, with 18 holes on the Medal Course (the championship course) and 18 holes on the Burnside Course. The number of qualifiers was increased to the top 140 and ties, having previously been the top 100 and ties. The qualifying score was 157 and 141 players qualified. Two-time Masters champion Horton Smith led the qualifiers on 138, and all the American Ryder Cup players qualified comfortably.
American Ed Dudley took the first round lead on Wednesday with a 70. Only the leading 40 players and ties after 36 holes made the cut to play on the final day. Previously the top 60 and ties made the cut. Reg Whitcombe led after the first two rounds on 142 and all those scoring 153 or better made the cut. Reg's brother Charles and Dudley were two behind on 144, and Cotton was tied for fourth place at 146, four shots back.
The final two rounds on Friday were played in a steady, cold rain. Whitcombe maintained his lead with a third-round 74, two shots ahead of his brother, while Cotton moved up to three behind. The weather proved to be Whitcombe's downfall in the final round; on the 7th tee, his club slipped out of his hands as he was swinging and the ball traveled only 40 yards (37 m). He ended up taking a six and finished with a 76 and 292 total. Cotton did not seem affected by the conditions and arrived at the 18th needing only a six to lead. His approach shot found a greenside bunker, but he was able to get down in five to post a 290 total. Only Charles Whitcombe could catch Cotton, but his 76 and 294 finished four strokes behind in fourth place.
The American contingent included Byron Nelson and Sam Snead, both of whom were making their Open Championship debuts. Nelson finished fifth but played the Open just once more, returning in 1955. Snead played in four more, winning in 1946 at St. Andrews. The U.S. Ryder Cup non-playing captain, four-time Open champion Walter Hagen, finished in 26th place in his final Open appearance at age 44.