What is a “claret jug” and why does the winner of the British Open get one? Plus, “bogeys” and ghosts?

Since 1872 the oldest trophy in golf has been given to the winner of the British Open, which is also called The Open Championship.

The trophy, the Claret Jug, is made in the style of the jugs used in the nineteenth century to serve claret, a dry red wine produced in France’s famous Bordeaux region. The winner’s name is engraved on the jug, joining the names of previous champions. He is obliged to return the jug before the next tournament, and at that time, he is given a replica of the trophy.

For the tournament’s first ten years, British Open winners were awarded with a belt. The Challenge Belt was made of morocco leather and embellished with a silver buckle and emblems. Both the original Claret Jug and Challenge Belt are on display at the clubhouse of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

This year the jug was presented to Louis Oosthuizen from South Africa, who both tongue-tied announcers with his name and shocked the golf world. Oosthuizen (aka Shrek because of his gap-toothed smile) was a surprise win.

Oosthuizen made only two bogeys over the final 35 holes. Bogey once referred to the number of strokes needed for a given hole or course. Now it means a score of one stroke over par on a hole.

The term was supposedly first used at the Great Yarmouth Golf Club in 1890 when one player famously called his opponent a bogey-man, a reference to the popular and catchy music hall tune “Hush, Hush, Hush, Here Comes the Bogey Man.” The earliest modern form of the word meaning an evil or mischievous spirit is apparently the Scottish bogle, meaning ghost.

But as the 27-year-old Oosthuizen kissed his claret jug in front of an elated crowd, it was unlikely that ghosts were on his mind.

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