The 1946 Open Championship was the 75th Open Championship, played 3–5 July at the Old Course at St Andrews, Scotland. Due to World War II, it was the first Open since 1939, also held at St Andrews. Sam Snead won his only Open title, four strokes ahead of runners-up Johnny Bulla and Bobby Locke. It was the first win by an American in thirteen years and the second of Snead's seven major titles. Four Americans were in the field of 100; the three that made the cut all finished in the top ten.
Qualifying took place on 1–2 July. Entries played 18 holes on the Old Course and 18 holes on the New Course. The number of qualifiers was limited to a maximum of 100. Ties for 100th place would not qualify. The qualifying score was 159 and exactly 100 players qualified. The Australian Norman Von Nida led the qualifiers on 145. The maximum number of players making the cut after 36 holes was set at 40. Ties for 40th place did not make the cut.
In his second Open Championship appearance and first since 1937, Snead did not endear himself to the St Andrews crowd at first. His first impression of the course was "It looks like an old abandoned kinda place," ensuring a cold reception at the start of the tournament. He opened with a round of 71, two behind the lead of Locke, who led by one from Henry Cotton and Von Nida. Cotton took the lead after 36-holes with consecutive rounds of 70, one ahead of Snead and two ahead of Dai Rees. Snead, Bulla, and Rees were tied for the lead going into the final round, with Cotton one behind. But it was Snead who was best able to navigate the strong winds of the final round. After dropping four shots on the front-nine, he was able to use his length and accuracy to record a 35 on the back for a round of 75 and a 290 total. Locke moved into 2nd place with a 76, while Bulla finished with a 79 to tie Locke. Rees tied for 4th with the help of a tournament record-tying round of 67 in the second round.
Snead's win here was his only Open Championship title and he played the tournament only three more times, not returning until 1962. He was the first American to win the title since Denny Shute in 1933.
Dick Burton, the 1939 champion, finally relinquished the trophy after seven years and finished in 12th place.