Stuart Appleby, a four-time winner of the PGA Championship, captured the coveted Claret Jug at Turnberry Golf Links in Ayrshire, Scotland, on Sunday, a coveted honor with more than his share of past champions. During his final round, he hit his tee shot on the fifth hole well right, just missing the green. He stared at the ball for a few moments — in fact, he looked at it for a full minute and a half — before deciding that the ball was too far away to waste a shot. Appleby paused to take a look at the TV monitor in front of him. On the screen, he saw the ball straddling the right side of the fairway. This is when Appleby came up with the fantastic idea to stop his ball and roll it on a gentle slope to the left, the exact same spot where a television matchmaker in 1972 had watched Jack Nicklaus make a statement of his own with his famous straight-to-the-green shot at Turnberry.
Appleby roars off after rocking this ball on that green on 5 last Sunday. It happens again on 8 today in the #TheOpen. pic.twitter.com/Cvkv2rY8Qi — The Open (@TheOpen) July 18, 2017
“What a shot,” Appleby said. “I don’t even know where the ball was.”
Over the years, Appleby, born in Australia but now a resident of Brisbane, has become known for his ability to learn and instantly adapt to any golf course, be it a few holes here and there at the best of times or his entire career at the PGA Championship, which has been held at most majors throughout its history. At the Open, Appleby has played 19 rounds, made eight eagles and four birdies. This was his third attempt at the British Open, his first at Turnberry, since a near-miss in 2008. In that event, he had a four-foot birdie putt that stopped inches short of the cup at 18.