1970: Doug Sanders misses a 3 ft putt to eventually lose The Open Championship


Doug Sanders misses one of the most famous 3 footers of all-time

Every golfer has stood over a three footer hoping the word “yip” is blocked out of memory.  If you play the game long enough you will have a tussle with close range putts.  They will drive you mad at the sheer simplicity but delicacy needed to hole every single one.  Now imagine you are a professional and have four shots to get up & down to win The Open Championship.  You have had a career of close calls in major championships and the stage is set to finally take one home.

The Climax of 4th Round of the 1970 Open Championship

During the final round of play, Doug Sanders saved par from the Road Hole bunker and led Jack Nicklaus by one heading to the 72nd hole. After a lengthy drive on the short par-4, he took four shots from just 74 yards (68 m) and missed a downhill putt for par from three feet to win.

Of course, Sanders missed the putt which allowed Nicklaus to join him for an 18 hole playoff the next day. Nicklaus would win by a single stroke.  Years later when asked if he ever thinks of missing the putt, Sanders would reply…

“Only once every four or five minutes.”

Josh Morris

Josh Morris is the Editor of Golf History Today. A proud USGA Volunteer and golf enthusiast. In his free time he enjoys being a weekend caddie as well as playing as much as he can.

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