In 2011, Sandwich hosted the Open for the fourteenth time. The champion, winning by three strokes from Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickleson, was Darren Clarke.
Clarke, who became only the second Northern Irishman after Fred Daly (1947) to win the Open, started the final round one shot ahead of Johnson but it was Mickleson who made the first charge, taking 30 shots for the first nine to get within two of Clarke, who had a huge slice of luck when his thinned second shot at the 9th ran between the two fairway bunkers and finished within a yard of the hole. Mickelson then faded, dropping four shots in six holes, leaving it to Johnson to take up the challenge. He got within two shots of Clarke but then went out of bounds with his second to the 14th, leaving the Ulsterman with a four shot cushion. Thoughts of Thomas Bjorn, who squandered a three shot lead over the closing holes in 2003 did not seem to bother Clarke as he smiled his way through the closing holes to seal a popular victory.
The course, which played as a Par 71 in 2003, reverted to a Par 70 and was lengthened by just over 105 yards to 7204.
From the first Open Championship in 1894 which was won by J.H Taylor, many golfing legends have graced the course, going on to become the Open Champion including:
- Harry Vardon
- Walter Hagen
- Henry Cotton
- Bobby Locke
- Sandy Lyle
- Greg Norman