Happy Birthday, Harry Vardon
On May 9th, 1870 Harry Vardon was born in Jersey, among the Channel Islands. He became one of golf’s most popular figures after Young Tom Morris and influenced the game well beyond his playing years. Vardon made up one-third of the the “Great Triumvirate” of golf along with J.H. Taylor and James Braid. Between these three men, they won The Open Championship 16 times in the 21 tournaments held between 1894 and 1914. In the five tournaments in this span the triumvirate did not win, one or more of them finished runner-up. Vardon has the most with six, a record that still stands today while Taylor & Braid each have five.
Vardon in the United States
During his career, Harry Vardon made three visits to North America, 1900, 1913 and 1920. During all three trips he competed in the U.S. Open finishing 1st, 2nd and tie 2nd. The most famous being his tie for second in 1913 when he lost to little known amateur Francis Ouimet.
In 1913, accompanied by Ted Ray, Vardon played in 45 exhibition matches winning 36 of them, and in 1920 at age 50, again accompanied by Ray, he played from July to the beginning of November in nearly 100 exhibition/challenge matches against the likes of Walter Hagen, Jim Barnes, Francis Ouimet and Bobby Jones.
Vardon was also well known for the Vardon Grip, or overlapping grip, the grip most popular among professional golfers. In 1974, Vardon was chosen as one of the initial group of inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame. The PGA of America created the Vardon Trophy, now awarded annually to the player on the PGA Tour with the year’s lowest adjusted scoring average. The British PGA also created the Harry Vardon Trophy which now serves as the award for the winner of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.