The following is a list of the American golfers who have won the British Open the most times. All American golfers who have won the British Open at least twice are listed. As you will see, every American on this list was a great golfer.
The British Open dates back to 1860, when it was first won by Scotsman Willie Park, Sr. The British Open was completely dominated by players from England for its first 45 years. The first non-Englishmen to win the British Open was Frenchmen Arnaud Massy, who won in 1907.
The first American to win the British Open was Jock Hutchinson in 1921. Hutchinson was actually born in Scotland, but he moved to the United States and became a citizen in 1920, so he was technically an American when he won the British Open in 1921.
The first American to win the British Open who was actually born in the United States was Walter Hagen, who won just one year later in 1922. Since 1921, golfers from the United States have dominated at the British Open.
To date, a total of 27 different Americans have won 42 British Opens. Both those numbers are well ahead of any other country since 1920. Players from the UK are in second place, with 15 different players having won 21 British Opens (that includes players from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Northern Ireland) since 1920.
American golfers who have won the British Open the most times
1. Tom Watson - 5
Tom Watson, who was born in Kansas City, Missouri, leads all Americans with five wins at the British Open. Watson won The Open in 1975 (Carnoustie), 1977 (Turnberry), 1980 (Muirfield), 1982 (Royal Troon), and 1983 (Royal Birkdale).
Tom Watson's five wins in the British Open are the second most ever by a player in the British Open to Harry Vardon's six Open wins. Watson is tied with James Braid (Scotland), John Henry Taylor (England), and Peter Thompson (Australia) who all also won the British Open five times.
2. Walter Hagen - 4
Walter Hagen, who was born in Rochester, New York, has the second most wins in the British Open by an American golfer with four. Hagen won The Open in 1922 (Royal St. George's), 1924 (Royal Liverpool), 1928 (Royal St. George's), and 1929 (Muirfield).
For his golf career, Walter Hagen won 11 majors. Hagen would likely have won even more majors but he was 42 years old when The Masters was first played in 1934.
T-3. Bobby Jones - 3
Bobby Jones, who was born in Atlanta, Georgia, won the British Open three times, all as an amateur. Jones won in 1926 (Royal Lytham and St. Annes), 1927 (St. Andrews), and 1930 (Royal Liverpool).
Bobby Jones co-founded The Masters tournament in 1934. He had retired from playing competitive golf in 1930, when he was only 28 years old.
T-3. Jack Nicklaus - 3
Jack Nicklaus, who was born in Upper Arlington, Ohio, won the British Open three times. Nicklaus won in 1966 (Muirfield), 1970 (St. Andrews), and 1978 (St. Andrews).
For his golf career, Jack Nicklaus won 18 majors. That is the most by any golfer.
T-3. Tiger Woods - 3
So far in his golf career, Tiger Woods has won three British Opens. Tiger won in 2000 (St. Andrews), 2005 (St. Andrews), and 2006 (Royal Liverpool).
Tiger Woods, who was born in Cypress, California, has won 14 majors so far in his great career. At one time, Tiger looked like he would easily surpass Jack Nicklaus for the most career majors, but he has not won a major since 2008.
T-6. Arnold Palmer - 2
Arnold Palmer, who was born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, won the British Open twice. Palmer's wins in the British Open were in consecutive years in 1961 (Royal Birkdale) and 1962 (Royal Troon).
For his career, Arnold Palmer won seven majors. He never won the PGA Championship, he finished second three times, which denied him a career slam in golf.
T-6. Lee Trevino - 2
Lee Trevino, who was born in Dallas, Texas, won the British Open twice. Like Arnold Palmer, Trevino also won in consecutive years in 1971 (Royal Birkdale) and 1972 (Muirfield).
For his career, Lee Trevino won six majors. Trevino never won The Masters, which denied him a career slam in golf.