"I mean, look at the list of past champions, the number of Hall of Famers that have won here,'' said Tiger Woods earlier this week.

OK, we will look.

Woods is onto something. Muirfield has played host to 15 Open Championships and produced 13 champions. Of the 13 champions, 11 are in the World Golf Hall of Fame and 12 have won multiple major championships.

Nicklaus, Hagen, Player, Trevino, Watson, Faldo, Vardon, Els. Muirfield does not produce fluke championships. If the past is any indicator, one of golf's best will claim the Claret Jug come Sunday.

From a popular film character to a nude model, here are the past champions at Muirfield.

British Open Champions At Muirfield Slideshow


Ernie Els, 2002

In 2002, Tiger Woods becomes the first player since Nicklaus in 1972 to win both the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year. Woods enters the third round two shots off the lead, but an 81 sends him to the back of the pack. On day four, Els finishes the final round tied at six-under with Thomas Levet, Stuart Appleby and Steve Elkington. Els and Levet tied after four holes, but Els took the sudden death fifth playoff hole to win his first of two Claret Jugs (Royal Lytham & St. Annes, 2012). He enters this week as both the defending Muirfield and British Open champion.


Sir Nick Faldo, 1987, 1992

The first and third of Faldo's three Open Championships were won at Muirfield. In 1987, Faldo was helped by two bogeys by leader Paul Azinger on the final two holes (Faldo beat Azinger and Rodger Davis by one stroke). Faldo cut it close again in 1992, nearly blowing a four-shot lead after three rounds. He won the tournament by one stroke over John Cook.


Tom Watson, 1980

Watson's third of five Open Championships featured a duel with Trevino. Trevino led Watson by three stokes after two rounds, but a seven-under 64 by Watson in round three pulled him into the lead by four strokes. Watson and Trevino both carded final found 69s, giving Watson, the four-shot win in the first ever Open Championship to end on a Sunday.


Lee Trevino, 1972

Trevino, the defending champion, entered the final round with a one-shot lead over Englishman Tony Jacklin. In fifth place, Nicklaus, who won the Masters and U.S. Open earlier that year, was six strokes behind Trevino. Nicklaus fired a five-under 66 to get on Trevino's toes. The Merry Mex stood firm, carding an even-par 71 to win his second Claret Jug by a stroke.


Jack Nicklaus, 1966

When Nicklaus opened his Dublin, Ohio championship golf course and community in 1974, he did not name it Muirfield Village out of coincidence (host of the Memorial Tournament since 1976). He named it after the Scottish course he won his first Open Championship at in 1966. Nicklaus held off Doug Sanders and Dave Thomas to earn his sixth of 18 career majors. The win completed the Golden Bear's career grand slam.


Gary Player, 1959

A 23-year-old Player (imagine how he would have looked in ESPN The Magazine's "The Body Issue" back then) won his first of three Claret Jugs and nine major championships at Muirfield. Trailing by four shots after three rounds, the South African blasted a four-under 68 to win the tournament by two strokes.


Sir Henry Cotton, 1948

Cotton was a star in the 1930s, claiming Open Championships in 1934 and 1937. However, his career stalled during World War II. That is, his organized golf career stalled. While serving in the Royal Air Force, Cotton played exhibition matches and shows to raise money for the Red Cross. He earned an MBE for his military contributions. In 1948, one year after serving as the British Ryder Cup team captain (he would again in 1953), Cotton won his third Open Championship.


Alf Perry, 1935

Perry trailed by five strokes after two rounds, but a 67 in round three propelled the Englishman to the top of the leaderboard. A final-round 72 held off countryman Alf Padgham by four strokes.


Walter Hagen, 1929

After a 17-year hiatus at Muirfield, the Open Championship returned and Walter Hagen became the first American to win at the links. His second round 67 became an Open Championship record at the time. Hagen (+12) held off fellow Americans Johnny Farrell (+18) and Leo Diegel (+19) in a 1-2-3 American sweep. The victory was Hagen's fourth of four Open Championships and eleventh of 11 major championships.


Ted Ray, 1912

Ray won his only Open Championship with a four-shot win over Vardon in 1912. Ray became the first non-Great Triumvirate champion at Muirfield since 1892, and he was of only five men outside of the Great Triumvirate to win an Open Championship from 1894-1914. One year later, Ray came in third at the U.S. Open and second at the British Open. He was portrayed by Stephen Marcus in The Greatest Game Ever Played.


James Braid, 1901, 1906

Braid won two of his five Open Championships at Muirfield and became the first Scot to win at the Gullane, East Lothian venue. In both tournaments, Vardon served as runner-up. Braid, Vardon and J.H. Taylor made up the "Great Triumvirate" at the turn of the century.


Harry Vardon, 1896

Vardon won his first of six Open Championships and seven majors at Muirfield in 1896. He rebounded from a four-shot deficit through 54 holes to tie two-time defending champion J.H. Taylor at the end of the final found. In the 36-hole playoff that ensued, Vardon won by four strokes. If Vardon's name sounds familiar, it may be because he served as the nemesis to Francis Ouimet in the 2005 film The Greatest Game Ever Played (played by Stephen Dillane). The film is a portrayal of then 20-year-old Ouimet's playoff victory over Vardon and Ted Ray at the 1913 U.S. Open.


Harold Hilton, 1892

Hilton is one of three amateurs to win the Open Championship, with John Ball (1890) and Bobby Jones (1926, 1937, 1930) being the other two. Hilton held off Ball and Sandy Herd for the title in 1892. He won another Open Championship in 1897, and he also won one U.S. Amateur and five British Amateurs. According to The World Atlas of Golf, the 1892 Championship was the first tournament in golf history to include four rounds of 18 holes.

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-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.