Winning the British Open, or any major in golf, in wire to wire fashion is not easy. The fact that this list is not terribly long is testament to how tough it is to lead the British Open for all four rounds. I'm only counting the British Opens that were 72 holes, which is from 1892 on.
This list is relevant because Rory McIlroy won the 2014 British Open at Royal Liverpool after leading at the end of each of the first three rounds. So Rory McIlroy became just the seventh golfer in history to win the British Open by leading after every round.
Golfers who have won the British Open in wire to wire fashion
- Ted Ray (1912 at Muirfield)
Englishmen Ted Ray, who was born on the Isle of Jersey, was the first golfer to win the British Open in wire to wire fashion. Ted Ray led the 2012 British Open after every round at Muirfield and defeating runner-up Harry Vardon by four strokes.
- Bobby Jones (1927 at St. Andrews)
Bobby Jones led after every round to win the 1927 British Open at St. Andrews by six strokes over Aubrey Boomer and Fred Robson. The 1927 win was the second consecutive British Open for Bobby Jones, who would go on to win once more in The Open (1930).
- Gene Sarazen (1932 at Prince's Golf Club)
Gene Sarazen won the British Open for the only time in 1932 in wire to wire fashion. Sarazen had a one stroke lead after round one, a three stroke lead after round two, and a four stroke lead after round three, on way to a five stroke win over Macdonald Smith.
- Henry Cotton (1934 at Royal St. Goerge's)
Englishmen Henry Cotton won the first of his three British Open championships in wire to wire fashion in 1934. Cotton played brilliantly in the first two rounds to build a 10 stroke lead, which he maintained after the third round. In the final round, though, Henry Cotton got nervous and shot 40 on the front nine, and then bogeyed the next three holes. He steadied himself after that, though, to win by five strokes over Sid Brew.
- Tom Weiskopf (1973 at Royal Troon)
Tom Weiskopf won the only major in his career in brilliant fashion when he led wire to wire to win the 1973 British Open at Royal Troon. Weiskopf never had a big lead, he led by one after the first day, three after the second, one after the third, and then won the tournament by three strokes over Johnny Miller and Neil Coles.
- Tiger Woods (2005 at St. Andrews)
Tiger Woods won the second of his three British Opens in wire to wire fashion in 2005 at St. Andrews. Tiger had leads of one stroke after round one, four after round two, two after round three, and he beat runner-up Colin Montgomerie by five strokes.
- Rory McIlroy (2014 at Royal Liverpool)
Rory McIlroy won his first British Open championship in wire to wire fashion in 2014. McIlroy had a one shot lead after round one, a four shot lead after round two, and a six round lead after round three. Rory McIlroy won the 2014 British Open by two strokes over Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia for his wire to wire win.