Gallons of liquor aren’t all there is to the Claret Jug

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – He is just 150 years old.

It was bruised, beaten, chipped and dented. Hundreds, if not thousands, put their lips to the edge of his silver chalice. He traveled the world. Be up at all times ready.

And bugs, corn, ice cream, orange juice and loads of booze were inside.

So the question arises, would you take a drink from the Claret Jug?

The next person to answer will be Sunday’s winner in the 150e play in the Open Championship, the oldest tournament in golf. And the winner’s friends and family — and maybe even strangers — will have to make a decision.

Measuring 21 inches tall, 5½ inches in diameter and weighing 5½ pounds, the Claret Jug – officially named the Golf Champion Trophy – is one of the most coveted trophies in all of sport. Many of the names of the game’s greatest players are engraved on the bottom of the Claret Jug.

It’s history.

And it just so happens to be a perfect drinking mug.

First awarded to the winner in 1873 – it would have been Tom Kidd – possession of the Claret Jug has evolved, with the winner now able to keep it for a year (it’s a full-size replica, with the real McCoy on display in the pavilion of the Royal and Ancient Club of St. Andrews).

For 100 years, he’s been on vacation, posing for photos and delivering drinks.

“The first thing I drank was John Smith’s Smooth Bitter,” said 2007 and 2008 Open champion Padraig Harrington. “There were a lot of other liquids in there. And ladybugs too. My son wanted ladybugs (beetles) in there, so the ladybugs ended up in the Claret Jug.

Phil Mickelson, the 2013 Open champion, drank $40,000 worth of wine.

Stewart Cink put on Guinness for his first drink. The 2009 Open champion also put a lot of other things in there. An Instagram post suggested OJ was filled to the brim. It was nearby when Cink was also barbecuing, and the barbecue sauce eventually ended up in the jug.

Rory McIlroy, the 2014 winner, poured Jagermeister, a dark, syrupy licorice liqueur. McIlroy also put on plenty of beer and wine.

And Ben Curtis isn’t quite sure what he put in it.

“It just seemed like I was drunk for the first week,” Curtis said.

Three-time Open champion Tiger Woods says the Claret Jug never left his house, but drank many different spirits from it. 1999 winner Justin Leonard got his share of his mother’s tea.

As for the food, we look to 2015 winner Zach Johnson, who ate corn from it. John Daly, winner in 1995, was not drinking at the time, so he swallowed chocolate ice cream from the pitcher,

Other players put champagne, coke, pepsi, cheap beer and wine, milk and good old-fashioned water in the Claret Jug.

But three-time Open champion Jack Nicklaus, who said holding the Claret Jug was like holding “a newborn baby,” flopped it.

“I never put anything in the Claret Jug,” he said. “I know it’s the Claret Jug, but I always thought it was disrespectful to drink from it. I’ve seen guys who have done it in the past, but I’ve always respected it. They cleaned it before I arrived and I didn’t want to get it dirty.

“I never used the Claret Jug for anything other than what it symbolized – Champion Golfer of the Year.”


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Edward L. Robinett