The Claret Jug, presented as The Golf Champion Trophy, to each year’s winner of The Open Championship, is not the original prize. When the Championship began at Prestwick in 1860, the winner was presented with the Challenge Belt, made of rich morocco leather, embellished with a silver buckle and emblems.
The Silver Claret Jug
The members of Prestwick Golf Club purchased the original Challenge Belt. According to the rule, Winner shall always leave the belt with the treasurer of the club until he has won the trophy thrice in succession, it becomes the property of the winner .
In 1870,Tom Morris Junior won for the third consecutive time and became the owner of the belt.
According to an agreement in September 11, 1872 between the three clubs to host The Open — Prestwick, the Company of Edinburgh Golfers and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club. They decided that the winner would receive a medal and that each of the three clubs would contribute £10 towards the cost of a new trophy, which was to be a ‘silver claret jug’, instead of another belt. Its proper name was to be The Golf Champion Trophy.
The Golf Champion Trophy
The Golf Champion Trophy, now commonly referred to as the Claret Jug, was made by Mackay Cunningham & Company of Edinburgh and was hallmarked 1873. The first Open Champion to receive the new trophy was the 1873 winner, Tom Kidd, but Tom Morris Junior’s name was the first to be engraved on it as the 1872 winner.
In 1920 all responsibility for The Open Championship was handed over to The Royal and Ancient Golf Club. The club’s Championship Committee took the decision to retain the Claret Jug in future years and to present the winner with a replica. In 1928, Walter Hagen won the third of his four Open titles and accepted the replica Claret Jug.