British Masters: The top 10 greatest moments at host course The Belfry

The Birmingham course has witnessed so many wonderful golfing scenes – here’s our pick of the best.

First used by the (then) European Tour in 1979, The Belfry dropped a pretty big hint about its future very quickly.

The first winner, of the Lada English Classic, was Severiano Ballesteros and in the next two decades he would strife those Birmingham fairways creating history left, right and centre.

Greg Norman won there in 1982, Lee Westwood triumphed in 2007 and, in-between, the entire course of Ryder Cup history was turned on its head there with the 1985 triumph by Europe.

Let's take a look at The Belfry's top 10 moments.

10. Henrik Stenson's first win

The 2001 Benson and Hedges International was the first high in a long series of highs and lows for Swedish star Henrik Stenson. The win came in his rookie season and he very nearly won the next week, too, but he then landed just one more top 10 in the next two and a half years.

Glory would follow, including rankings wins both sides of the Atlantic, in the Ryder Cup and at the 2016 Open, but so, too, would another loss of form.

9. Padraig Harrington incorrectly signs his card

Had he not become a professional golfer, Padraig Harrington had plans to become an accountant - it is perhaps just as well that the golf worked out.

In the 2000 Benson and Hedges Open he led the field by five after 54 holes whereupon, by sheer fluke, it was noticed that there had been an error in the signing of cards after his course record 64 in the first round. There were two signatures but neither was his. He was disqualified and took it well, even noting: "At least it's made it into a better tournament." Jose Maria Olazabal claimed the win.

8. Richard Bland finally wins

In 2019 Richard Bland became the oldest player to graduate from the Challenge Tour and in 2021 he finally landed a first DP World Tour win in his 478th start. It was a remarkable performance of ball-striking - and also self-belief after he had appeared to blow his opportunity in the third round. There wasn't a dry eye in the Sky Sport studio where Bland's coach Tim Barter works.

7. The Americans keep finding water on 18

The Americans started the 1980s by destroying the Europeans at Walton Heath and ended the decade turning to drink.

The 18th tee in 1989 to be specific: they kept driving their tee shots into the lake. Payne Stewart tried to chop his ball out, failed, and said: "I'm gonna give this one more try." The mighty nation had fallen.

6. The magic of 1985

For so many of us new to the game in the 1980s it was not only the golf in this match, but the names of the US players which fascinated. Fuzzy Zoeller, Calvin Peete, Curtis Strange, Hubert Green. They were bewilderingly exotic. When Tom Kite hit a brilliant approach to the ninth I was convinced the commentators were actually making the names up.

5. Monty leads the way

The 2002 match was tied at eight points apiece. American captain Curtis Strange backloaded his single roster, Europe's Sam Torrance did the exact opposite: he sent Colin Montgomerie out first. The Scot stomped to the first tee, chest out, the roars of the galleries adding to his sense of feeling wanted. He smoothed a 3-wood down the middle of the fairway, wedged close and holed the putt. A wonderfully ridiculous look of self-satisfaction spread across his chops, he stomped on, claimed the win 5&4 and set the tone of the day. Job done.

4. Sam Torrance holes the winning putt in 1985

Magical scenes. The low hands. The exultant cheers. The fact he knew it was in before it dropped. Arms aloft as the ball broke from right to left and then disappeared. A first European win for 28 years and a big, big party. (Arguably the world's worst subtitles, by the way.)

3. Philip Price downs Phil Mickelson

Phillip Price versus Philip Mickelson in the 2002 singles. Lamb to the slaughter? Not this Welsh lamb, not this day, not this Ryder Cup. The 16th green, a lengthy curving putt, right across the green ... it dropped.

Carnage. He was so pumped he wandered around the green twitching his mouth and snorting his nostrils, less like a lamb than a randy bull. Seconds later Mickelson missed and Price had completed the win.

2. Seve at the 10th

The short par-4 10th was made for the Spaniard. He first drove it in a European Tour event and then repeated the trick in numerous Ryder Cups. Pure theatre from Europe's revolutionary leader. If Sutton Coldfield isn't twinned with Spain it should be.

1. Christy O'Connor Jr.'s 2-iron

Christy O'Connor versus Freddie Couples in 1989. Christy had 202 yards and 2-iron in his hands. He hit the shot of a lifetime and The Belfry roared. He completed the win and The Belfry roared. He held his arms aloft and looked to the heavens like a priest celebrating the Eucharist and The Belfry roared. His wife scampered across the green to embrace him and The Belfry roared.

He looked 61 but he was actually 41 (forty one!). Magical stuff.

READ MORE: Rory McIlroy in the Wells Fargo Championship: He loves the event, but does a new course change that?

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