The story this younger man unknown to all had, greater than a century in the past and for the first time, unleashed passions. Victorious to everybody’s shock at the 1913 US Open, on the course of the Brookline Country Club the place the US Open is happening this 12 months, beginner Francis Ouimet allowed American golf to take off. There was a earlier than and an after.
Before, golf in the United States was solely a interest reserved for the rich courses. Britain dominated the world by its Triumvirate of JH Taylor, James Braid and Harry Vardon. Future six-time winner of the British Open, the latter is the first worldwide star of golf. He is the first to be sponsored to cross the Atlantic and compete in the US Open.
A favourite on tour: star Harry Vardon
the Tiger Woods of the time was to make quick work of its rivals because it did 13 years earlier, in 1900. But this time, some American gamers don’t hear it that manner, specifically the double defending champion John McDermott. The press is on this nascent rivalry, nevertheless it doesn’t make the headlines. Not but.
A stranger lives reverse gap 17: Francis Ouimet
As skilled, Vardon has studied the sport of his rivals, however he is aware of nothing about the native champion, a former caddy of modest means, who lives together with his dad and mom reverse gap 17 of the Country Club.
Some Francis Ouimet. Rejected by his father who disapproves of his love of golf and who urges him to do one thing else together with his life, he discovered the fundamentals of the sport on his personal.
At 20, the Massachusetts Amateur in his pocket, he has simply competed in the US Amateur, overwhelmed solely in the quarterfinals by the future winner Jerome Travers.
A movie and a guide primarily based on the occasion
As the movie of Bill Paxton A legendary journeytaken from the significantly better guide of Mark Frost The biggest half of all time, Francis Ouimet (with such a reputation, he will need to have French origins!) is just not a darkish stranger who got here from nowhere. But it’s sure that at the begin of the event, his position is that of a easy additional.
Amateur, Ouimet virtually didn’t play the event
But at the begin, the younger beginner was not even presupposed to compete! Employed in a sporting items retailer, he now not had days off, however confronted with the insistence of the USGA and the understanding of his employer (blessed be he!), Francis manages, on this Thursday 18 September 1913 to look at the begin of the US Open.
The legendary pair with its purchasing cart
It is in the center of a really sparse crowd that he performs his first two laps in the firm of a moderately whimsical 10-year-old caddy, Eddie Lowery. This union consecrated on the spot, at quick discover, will mark whole generations by an iconic photograph representing them. Rather nervous, Ouimet restricted the harm and ended the day at + 5 (the event was then performed over 4 rounds in two days), 4 lengths behind Vardon, already chief.
A birdie at 17 sends it to the play-off
On Friday, it is a totally different pair of sleeves! Knowing the course by coronary heart, thanks specifically to a birdie at 17, he pulls off in +12 (!) a play-off over 18 holes in opposition to the star, this time accompanied by his buddy Ted Ray, future winner in 1920. Victim of what was not but referred to as yips, Vardon failed to complete on the greens. The nationwide press seizes the topic which it already considers as an exploit.
Another birdie at 17 offers him the win
In the early morning, Ouimet was amazed to find the big crowd that had come to assist him. We are speaking about 10,000 folks, the largest attendance ever recorded for a golf event in the United States. In the afternoon, he’s handled as a hero after his prodigious victory marked, as soon as once more by a birdie at 17. The revolution can start.
The entrance web page of the New York Times
This improbable victory, marked by an unprecedented sense of drama in golf, made the entrance pages of native and nationwide newspapers. The New York Times even headlines “Ouimet World’s Golf Champion”, demonstrating whole ignorance of the sport and the competitors. Many Americans uncover this sport, others understand that it may be practiced by younger folks who aren’t essentially rich. The after has begun.
An explosion of US golf
In 1920, there have been greater than 1,000 programs, a quantity that had doubled in 10 years. Many are municipal golf equipment open to the public. These will make it doable to blow up the apply. According to the Ouimet Foundation, at the time of the 1913 US Open, there have been barely 350,000 golfers. This determine rose to 2.1 million in 1923!
Forever, the father of US golf
Among them, many kids and caddies started to dream. Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen and later Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson have all, sooner or later, paid tribute to Francis Ouimet who continued with class his profession punctuated by 2 US Amateurs (1914, 1931). Died in 1967, at the age of 74, he’s thought of one of the fathers of American golf.