On this day, In 1890 Amateur John Ball Jr. wins The Open Championship by one stroke at Prestwick

John Ball Jr

John Ball Jr. made golf history 127 years ago today with his Open win

John Ball Jr. –On this day, 126 years ago in September for the first time an amateur was crowned The Open champion.  He also became the first man to win the British Amateur and the British Open in the same year (1890), a feat that was only matched by Bobby Jones in 1930.

Ball subsequently won the 1892, 1894, 1899, 1907, 1910, and 1912 Amateurs, a record eight titles in all, in addition to two runner-up finishes. Ball retired with a 99–22 record (81.8%) at The Amateur Championship. Ball was also runner-up in the 1892 Open Championship, finishing three strokes behind Harold Hilton.

Ball dominated amateur golf in Great Britain. He won all the important golf championships as well as the hearts and respect of his country. In the words of British golf historian Donald Steele, “No golfer ever came to be more of a legend in his own lifetime.”

This Golfer Was Really On the Ball at the 1890 British Open Tournament

Amateur golfer John Ball was the winner of the 1890 British Open, and he established several firsts in so doing: He was the first amateur to win the tournament. Since Ball had already won the 1890 British Amateur, by winning here he became the first to win both the Amateur and Open titles in the same year.

Josh Morris

Josh Morris is the Editor of Golf History Today. A proud USGA Volunteer and golf enthusiast. In his free time he enjoys being a weekend caddie as well as playing as much as he can.

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1 Comment

  1. Josh, I love the articles that you guys send out and this one about John Ball, Jr. is no exception. John Ball Jr. and H.H. Hilton were incredible amateur golfers who rank IMO just behind Bobby Jones as the greatest amateur golfer of all time. My only critique, which may sound a little pedantic or even pompous is when describing The Open. The Open Championship is exactly that and has always been so, not the “British Open”. There is no such golf tournament and there are very good reasons not to insert the extra noun when describing, which I am more than happy to discuss.

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