Duel in the Sun: One of the greatest contests in history

Updated 9:48 AM ET, Fri July 21, 2017

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Story highlights

  • Turnberry 1977 remembered as the "Duel in the Sun"
  • Watson & Nicklaus battled in a final-round shootout
  • The Championship was decided on the last hole

(CNN)The red-hot summer of 1977, the year a gap-toothed twenty-something from Kansas took down golf's greatest in a final-round scrap like no other.

Forty years on and it is a battle which is still regarded as one of the finest sporting duels in history.
Last year's British Open thrilled and captivated as Henrik Stenson versus Phil Mickelson unfolded at Royal Troon in an extraordinary contest where records were broken.
It is Stenson versus Mickelson which has the numbers, the history-making scores. Stenson's 20-under 264 is the lowest score in major history and the 41-year-old Swede's final-round eight-under-par 63 equaled the lowest score for a major championship round.
But that shootout did not come down to the final putt. It did not involve Jack Nicklaus, the most decorated player in history, being taken down by a player who would become the greatest links golfer of them all.
Turnberry 1977, a golfing bout so good that it is fondly remembered as the "Duel in the Sun."
    Mention it to golf fans not even born four decades ago and they will knowingly nod. Books have been written about it, a restaurant named after it and the 18th hole at Turnberry has been renamed after this never to be forgotten contest.
    As the Open takes place in Britain this week, we remember the match that made history.