The 1954 Open Championship was the 90th Open Championship, played 7–9 July at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England. Peter Thomson, age 23, won the first of his five Open titles by one stroke over runners-up Bobby Locke, Dai Rees, and Syd Scott.
The total prize money was increased from £2,500 to £3,500. The winner received £750 with £500 for second, £350 for third, £200 for fourth, £150 for fifth, £100 for sixth, £75 for seventh and eighth, £50 for ninth and tenth, £30 for next 15 places and then £25 each for the next 25 players. The £3,500 was completed with a £25 prize for winning the qualification event and four £25 prizes for the lowest score in each round.
Qualifying took place on 5–6 July. Entries played 18 holes on the Championship course and 18 holes at Hillside Golf Club. The number of qualifiers was limited to a maximum of 100. Ties for 100th place would not qualify. The qualifying score was 151 and 97 players qualified. On the first day the Irish professional John McGonigle set a new course record of 65 on the Hillside course. Norman Von Nida led the qualifiers on 137, four ahead of the rest. Making the long voyage from America Toney Penna and Jim Turnesa were amongst the group on 151 who just qualified. A maximum of 50 players could make the cut after 36 holes. Ties for 50th place did not make the cut.
Sam King and Bill Spence established a new course record in the first round with 69s. The record would last just one round, however, as Syd Scott bettered it in the second round with a 67, but Spence still held the 36-hole lead after a 72, one ahead of Antonio Cerdá and two in front of Scott, Dai Rees, Peter Thomson, and King. Scott continued his hot play in the third round, scoring a 69. Thomson and Rees also carded 69 and joined him at the top of the leaderboard going into the final round. Scott shot a 72 over the last 18-holes, posting a clubhouse lead of 284. Rees also posted 284 after missing a putt at the 18th. Thomson missed a short putt at the 12th, but managed to get up-and-down from a bunker at 16. He went to the 17th needing a par and a bogey on his last two holes to become the new clubhouse leader. He got the par, but at 18 he found trouble in a bunker. He again managed a superb recovery, and while he missed his first putt he easily tapped in for a round of 71 and a 283 total. Bobby Locke had a chance to tie Thomson with a 3 at the last, but his birdie putt came up just short making Thomson the winner of the championship.
This win was the first in a run of three consecutive Open Championship titles by Thomson, becoming the first player since Bob Ferguson from 1880-82 to win three straight Opens. Altogether he would win three of the next four Opens and add another win in 1965, which was also held at Royal Birkdale. Thomson was the first Australian to win the Open Championship, and the youngest champion since Bobby Jones.
Three-time Masters champion Jimmy Demaret made his only Open Championship appearance this year, finishing in 10th place. This was the first Open Championship to be played at Royal Birkdale. Defending champion Ben Hogan did not compete; his victory in 1953 at Carnoustie was his only Open Championship.
Wednesday, 7 July 1954
Thursday, 8 July 1954
Amateurs: Toogood (+1), Stranahan (+2), Stockdale (+6), Timms (+6), Bachli (+7), Brews (+8), Coogan (+8), Shephard (+8), Wroe (+10), Wolstenholme (+11), Heard (+12), Stevens (+19).
Friday, 9 July 1954 (morning)
Friday, 9 July 1954 (afternoon)
Amateurs: Toogood (−1), Stranahan (+3).