Former prime minister Harold Wilson is the man said to have coined the famous phrase “a week is a long time in politics”.
Such a notion is also true in the world of sports, where an ever-changing landscape means opportunities to stand and reflect are scarce.
But if the whole scene can alter in a week, imagine how contrasting things can be following a 68-year gap.
That is how long it has been since The Open Championship was last hosted at Royal Portrush, the picturesque venue for the 148th edition of golf’s oldest major.
Indeed, it has been so long since the Claret Jug was last awarded at Portrush to Max Faulkner that Wilson’s phrase had not been uttered at the time, with the former Labour politician credited with bringing it to life in 1964.
With that in mind, we look back at how golf, the wider sporting world, politics and pop culture looked back in 1951.
— The Open (@TheOpen) 16 June 2014
The great Ben Hogan swept up the first two major tournaments of the year, the Masters and U.S. Open, while fellow legend Sam Snead was the US PGA Championship winner.
However, neither American great was in action at Portrush where Faulkner, nicknamed ‘The Peacock’ lifted the Claret Jug.
Known for his flamboyant dress sense, Faulkner would win his one and only major title on a day in which he had greatly tempted fate by signing a ball for a young fan with the message “Max Faulkner – Open Champion 1951”.
His approach out of the rough after a wayward tee shot at the 16th, which was left worryingly close to the out of bounds line, was described as “The greatest shot I’ve ever seen” by playing partner Frank Stranahan.
Later that year, the United States would beat Britain 9.5 – 2.5 at the Ryder Cup.
The Open 1951, Max Faulkner and a barbed wire fence His greatest ever shot… pic.twitter.com/yQFjsQjOvq
— The Open (@TheOpen) 26 June 2019
ELSEWHERE IN SPORTS
The European Cup was still four years away from its inception in football. Domestically, Tottenham secured a first English top-flight title in their history, while Newcastle United were FA Cup winners – the first of three triumphs in a five-year span.
Atletico Madrid defended their LaLiga title in Spain, while AC Milan dethroned Juventus in Italy and Kaiserslautern were champions in Germany.
The NFL held its first Pro Bowl Game in Los Angeles in January 1951, the year the Los Angeles Rams were championship winners. It would be 15 years until the beginning of the Super Bowl era.
A New York Yankees team consisting of future Hall of Famers Yogi Berra and Joe Di Maggio celebrated World Series success in MLB – the second of four in a row – and in the NBA the Rochester Royals defeated the New York Knicks 4-3 in the Finals.
Dick Savitt claimed his two career tennis grand slams at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, with Jaroslav Drobny and Frank Sedgman winning in France and the United States respectively.
Ireland clinched Five Nations glory in rugby union and Hugo Koblet of Switzerland took the yellow jersey at the Tour de France.
In Great Britain, the pendulum of power at Westminster swung the way of the Conservative party in 1951.
Clement Attlee‘s Labour government was ousted from power as Winston Churchill was elected for his second term as prime minister.
The Korean War had been waging for a year by the time The Open was at Portrush, as the tensions of the Cold War continued to run high.
President Harry S. Truman was midway through his second term in the United States, having assumed the presidency after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945.
Joseph Stalin was still General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It would be two years before Stalin’s death.
— Justin ROSE (@JustinRose99) 11 July 2019
The album charts in the United Kingdom would not start until a year later, but Bing Crosby and Doris Day were enjoying success on both sides of the Atlantic.
Perry Como, Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett were among the artists to have number one singles in the United States, as the world would have to wait a few years to be treated to the vocal talents of Elvis Presley and a decade for The Beatles.
J.D. Salinger’s literary classic ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ was published on July 16, just 10 days after the finish of The Open at Portrush.
Jose Ferrer and Judy Holliday were recognised with the respective best actor and actress gongs at the Academy Awards, where All About Eve was named best motion picture for which Joseph L. Mankiewicz swept up best director.