Ted Ray
1912 British Open Champion
Considered the #2 Golfer in the world


Harry Vardon
5 time British Open Champion
1900 US Open Champion
Considered the #1 Golfer in the world


Francis Ouimet
1909 Boston Interscholastic Champion
1913  Massachusetts Amateur Champion

 


US Open 1913 - The Playoff

 

 

The 1913 US Open, the most important sporting event ever played on American soil. Its  cast of characters represent an eclectic mix that would be hard to duplicate. A past president, British Royalty and its benefactors, ( Lord Northcliffe sponsored Harry Vardon, Edward Ray, golf writer Bernard Darwin and 1913 British open champion J. H. Taylor ). 

A ten year old caddie named Eddie Lowery who stepped forward to "do the loop" for his soon to be life long friend. Bunking school for four days in spite of his mother's wrath, an injured foot and hounding truant officer. He knew he would not get paid but he did it for the love of the game, knowing even at age 10, that this tournament was going to be something special. 

In the field a young golfer from Rochester New York named Walter Hagen who would go on to win the 1914 US Open and become the ultimate professional golfer whose future playing partners would range from President Harding and the Prince of Wales to Al Capone; ( Why do you think one of his exhibition tours found its way to Moose Jaw Saskatchewan ?); A very wealthy 5 time US Amateur champion Jerome Travers; a school teacher working as a sports writer while playing, John G. Anderson; and a group of local working class professionals from Myopia to Fall River. From the wealthiest to the dirt diggers, the world's greatest golfer to an amateur unable to break 100 they all descended on Brookline, bringing with them their hopes, their dreams and a competitive spirit that would rock the world. 

 

Now after two rounds of the US Open's first ever qualifier and four rounds of over the top competitive golf, under the most difficult of golfing conditions we have for the 3rd time in 4 years a three way, 18 hole playoff for the championship. Straws are drawn for the order of play on the first tee, it will be Ouimet followed by Vardon and then Ray. 

At 8 am when Francis and Eddie once again cross Clyde Street, spectators are showing up in droves, hundreds of cars and carriages jamming the streets, as thousands more make their way on foot. An estimated 20,000 in total, the largest crowd to ever watch a golf match on either side of the Atlantic. Most have never played or seen golf but it doesn't matter, one of their own has a chance to become the United States Open Champion and they want to be there to cheer him on.

The Country Club and United States Golf Association, both expecting record numbers, are caught totally unprepared for the huge crowd but somehow order is maintained in the face of utter chaos. It was important to those who were there, and they wanted things right. After all Francis is one of them. A working class man and former caddie, a gentleman, Christian and an amateur golfer.  


President Taft with a friend at The Country Club in 
Brookline viewing the 1913 US Open qualifying

10 am Golf's most famous three some takes the first tee with Francis Ouimet having drawn the long straw for 1st tee honors. Eddie hands Francis his driver. Francis takes a deep breath as he looks out at the huge crowd skirting the fairway, he'd never seen anything like it, no golfer ever had. He then addressed the ball and with his smooth and powerful swing sent a rocket long and hot down the right center. The crowd that had eagerly been anticipating this moment rocked Brookline and beyond to Boston with a thunderous wave of cheer letting all within miles know one of the greatest games to ever be played had begun. 

(These 1913 US Open scoreboard representations reflect Birdie Par Bogey Other as the 1912 USGA par system would have looked during the 1913 US Open, and gives the modern golfer a clearer picture of the great playoff scoring. Note the names are listed in the order of 1st tee honors, the fact that it is also the order of finish is coincidental. The Country Club at the time had not yet adopted the USGA par system, therefore its score cards still reflected the bogey system as illustrated by Francis Ouimet's official playoff scorecard.)

10:42 am Vardon and Ouimet gain a stroke on Ray with 4's to Ray's 5 on the third hole.

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 in TOTAL
Yards 430 300 435 300 420 275 185 380 520 3245 140 390 415 320 470 370 125 360 410 3000 6245
Par 5 4 5                                    
Ouimet 5 4 4                                    
Vardon 5 4 4                                    
Ray 5 4 5                                    

11:14 am Vardon takes the lead with 3 to Ouimet's 4 on the the sixth hole.

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 in TOTAL
Yards 430 300 435 300 420 275 185 380 520 3245 140 390 415 320 470 370 125 360 410 3000 6245
Par 5 4 5 4 4 4 3 4 5 38 3 4 4 4 5 4 3 4 4 35 73
Ouimet 5 4 4 4 5 4                              
Vardon 5 4 4 4 5 3                              
Ray 5 4 5 4 5 4                              

11:35 am Ouimet ties Vardon by making a 3 on the eighth, Ray takes his second 3 in row and after 9 holes all 3 are tied once again at par !

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 in TOTAL
Yards 430 300 435 300 420 275 185 380 520 3245 140 390 415 320 470 370 125 360 410 3000 6245
Par 5 4 5 4 4 4 3 4 5 38                      
Ouimet 5 4 4 4 5 4 4 3 5 38                      
Vardon 5 4 4 4 5 3 4 4 5 38                      
Ray 5 4 5 4 5 4 3 3 5 38                      

3 golfers, 3 days  and 81 holes. All tied. Looking at the front nine score board you would almost pick Ray to win as thus far in the play off his scoring has been the most consistent. The pressure becoming oppressive, the crowd clearly for Ouimet, cheering wildly each of his shots.




11:53 am Ouimet takes the lead with a par 3 on number ten, to Vardon and Ray's bogey 4's.

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 in TOTAL
Yards 430 300 435 300 420 275 185 380 520 3245 140 390 415 320 470 370 125 360 410 3000 6245
Par 5 4 5 4 4 4 3 4 5 38 3 4 4 4 5 4 3 4 4 35 73
Ouimet 5 4 4 4 5 4 4 3 5 38 3                    
Vardon 5 4 4 4 5 3 4 4 5 38 4                    
Ray 5 4 5 4 5 4 3 3 5 38 4                    

12:12 pm Ouimet picks up another stroke on 12, with a 4 to Ray and Vardon's 5's.

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 in TOTAL
Yards 430 300 435 300 420 275 185 380 520 3245 140 390 415 320 470 370 125 360 410 3000 6245
Par 5 4 5 4 4 4 3 4 5 38 3 4 4 4 5 4 3 4 4 35 73
Ouimet 5 4 4 4 5 4 4 3 5 38 3 4 4                
Vardon 5 4 4 4 5 3 4 4 5 38 4 4 5                
Ray 5 4 5 4 5 4 3 3 5 38 4 4 5                

12:21 pm Vardon takes one back with a 3 on 13 to Ouimet and Ray's 4's. 

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 in TOTAL
Yards 430 300 435 300 420 275 185 380 520 3245 140 390 415 320 470 370 125 360 410 3000 6245
Par 5 4 5 4 4 4 3 4 5 38 3 4 4 4 5 4 3 4 4 35 73
Ouimet 5 4 4 4 5 4 4 3 5 38 3 4 4 4              
Vardon 5 4 4 4 5 3 4 4 5 38 4 4 5 3              
Ray 5 4 5 4 5 4 3 3 5 38 4 4 5 4              

12:28 pm Ouimet clings to his one stroke lead as all take 5's on 14.

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 in TOTAL
Yards 430 300 435 300 420 275 185 380 520 3245 140 390 415 320 470 370 125 360 410 3000 6245
Par 5 4 5 4 4 4 3 4 5 38 3 4 4 4 5 4 3 4 4 35 73
Ouimet 5 4 4 4 5 4 4 3 5 38 3 4 4 4 5            
Vardon 5 4 4 4 5 3 4 4 5 38 4 4 5 3 5            
Ray 5 4 5 4 5 4 3 3 5 38 4 4 5 4 5            

12:37 pm Ouimet and Vardon pick up 2 on Ray with 4's to Ray's 6 on 15. Ouimet clings to his one stroke lead over Vardon.

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 in TOTAL
Yards 430 300 435 300 420 275 185 380 520 3245 140 390 415 320 470 370 125 360 410 3000 6245
Par 5 4 5 4 4 4 3 4 5 38 3 4 4 4 5 4       35 73
Ouimet 5 4 4 4 5 4 4 3 5 38 3 4 4 4 5 4          
Vardon 5 4 4 4 5 3 4 4 5 38 4 4 5 3 5 4          
Ray 5 4 5 4 5 4 3 3 5 38 4 4 5 4 5 6          

12:47 pm Vardon and Ouimet knock Ray out of contention with 3's to his 5 on number 16. Ouimet hanging on.

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 in TOTAL
Yards 430 300 435 300 420 275 185 380 520 3245 140 390 415 320 470 370 125 360 410 3000 6245
Par 5 4 5 4 4 4 3 4 5 38 3 4 4 4 5 4 3 4 4 35 73
Ouimet 5 4 4 4 5 4 4 3 5 38 3 4 4 4 5 4 3        
Vardon 5 4 4 4 5 3 4 4 5 38 4 4 5 3 5 4 3        
Ray 5 4 5 4 5 4 3 3 5 38 4 4 5 4 5 6 4        

1:09 pm Ouimet birdies 17 again ! Vardon bogies. Francis busts it wide open and takes 3 stroke lead over Vardon going in to 18

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 in TOTAL
Yards 430 300 435 300 420 275 185 380 520 3245 140 390 415 320 470 370 125 360 410 3000 6245
Par 5 4 5 4 4 4 3 4 5 38 3 4 4 4 5 4 3 4 4 35 73
Ouimet 5 4 4 4 5 4 4 3 5 38 3 4 4 4 5 4 3 3      
Vardon 5 4 4 4 5 3 4 4 5 38 4 4 5 3 5 4 3 5      
Ray 5 4 5 4 5 4 3 3 5 38 4 4 5 4 5 6 4 5      

1:20 pm Ouimet Wins ! A 2 putt par on 18 seals the deal !

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 in TOTAL
Yards 430 300 435 300 420 275 185 380 520 3245 140 390 415 320 470 370 125 360 410 3000 6245
Par 5 4 5 4 4 4 3 4 5 38 3 4 4 4 5 4 3 4 4 35 73
Ouimet 5 4 4 4 5 4 4 3 5 38 3 4 4 4 5 4 3 3 4 34 72
Vardon 5 4 4 4 5 3 4 4 5 38 4 4 5 3 5 4 3 5 6 39 77
Ray 5 4 5 4 5 4 3 3 5 38 4 4 5 4 5 6 4 5 3 40 78

"As soon as the putting had been done a wild burst of cheering broke out from the delighted crowd and Ouimet was hoisted high on American shoulders."  Henry Leach American Golfer. October 1913

"The greatest championship meeting ever played" Henry Leach American Golfer. October 1913

"...the wildest most enthusiastic demonstration that ever came to a golfer. Had he been a centipede he would not have had enough hands by a thousand to grasp all those that wanted to grasp the two he does posses. Had he a thousand legs they would have each had a shoulder to rest upon as the triumphal march was taken to the clubhouse."  John G. Anderson for The Boston Globe September 21, 1913

"Excited women tore bunches of flowers from their bodices and hurled them at the youthful winner" NY Times September 21, 1913

"Nothing could keep the crowd back and they pushed by the ropes and grabbed the young champion and carried him up to the clubhouse amidst the greatest cheer ever heard..." The Christian Science Monitor September 21, 1913

Within minutes the news wires started to clatter frantically resulting in sports desks around the country breaking out into spontaneous cheers as word of Ouimet's playoff victory spread. Americans had their first golfing hero. The thanks and praise that people would send would soon hit Clyde Street like an avalanche of joy. 

"He (Ouimet) certainly played a great game, and stood under the strain like the man he is. He is a credit to American golf." Harry Vardon

"It was a beautiful finish, and he (Ouimet) deserves all the cheers that he got. One of the best young golfers I ever saw." Edward Ray

"I am very glad that an American won. It was wonderful for a boy of only 20 years to be able to win a championship in a match of that length, a match that required strength, endurance and fortitude to so great a degree. I congratulate Ouimet on his victory."  Past-President of the United States William Howard Taft (the first golfing president)

"Congratulations (M. Ouimet) upon your American victory, (I) admire your ideas on temperance."   John D. Rockefeller. 

"It is the most wonderful thing that has ever been done in golf, no matter whether here or abroad. Ouimet is a superbly steady player, a fine fellow and deserves it." Oswald Kirkby 4 time Metropolitan Amateur Champion, 3 time New Jersey Amateur Champion.

"Ouimet's performance is really the most wonderful in the annals of the game (golf), for the finest players in the world were represented in the tournament just completed. "  Special to the NY Times September 20, 1913

"His victory over the seasoned British players, Vardon and Ray is regarded as astounding and without parallel." NY Times September 21, 1913

"Vardon and Ray....Admit they never had a chance." The Boston Globe September 21, 1913

"Ouimet's victory marks a new epoch in the history of the sport and sets a new high mark which will go a long way in stimulating  interest in a game that hardly needs any stimulation." New York Herald September 22, 1913

"The play of Ouimet was an example of sustained nerve which would do credit to the greatest of veterans. This will take Americans far..."  The Chicago Tribune September 23, 1913

"It was by far the most enthralling game of golf that I have ever seen. Nor do I think it is any exaggeration to say Ouimet gave an exhibition of skill, nerve and courage that, considering the the circumstances has never been equaled. His golf was astonishing. If I could find stronger language I could certainly use it. (It was) the greatest golfing struggle I have ever seen....."   Bernard Darwin for the Chicago Tribune September 21, 1913 (Darwin by this stage of his career had become quite cantankerous and hard to impress.)

"...he had won without fluke or flaw in his play, responding in perfect form to a test of nerve, stamina and knowledge of golf never before required of a player in a national tournament."  The Washington Post September 21, 1913

"Ouimet not only has a genius for the game (golf), but also the peculiar nerve and temperament with out which the genius avails little.' The London Daily Mail September 22, 1913

"No Britisher will grudge Ouimet his brilliant victory." London Chronicle September 21, 1913

"Francis Ouimet defeats English Professionals. Francis Ouimet, a schoolboy amateur of  Brookline, won today the highest golfing honors in the country, in fact the world........" Los Angeles Times September 21, 1913

"....the greatest amateur ever." The Boston Globe September 21, 1913

"Ouimet has established a record beside which every other record in the history of the game pales." The London Daily News September 21, 1913

"Golfers at this moment are engaged all the world over, in a single simultaneous and irrepressible act. They are taking off their hats to Ouimet with a flourish of profound respect." The Daily Mail September 22, 1913

"Ouimet's performance is really the most wonderful in the annals of the game, for the finest players in the world were represented in the tournament just completed."  Special to The New York Times September 21, 1913

"Mr. Ouimet's triumph was substantial and astonishing" NY Times September 21, 1913

"Never before on the history of an open golf championship has the finish been as exciting and unexpected as was the case Friday afternoon.....the greatest golf ever played."  The Christian Science Monitor September 21, 1913

"Ouimet Wins Championship In Play-Off of Tie in Brookline, American Lad, An Amateur is Victor over seasoned British Pro, UNPRECEDENTED IN HISTORY OF GOLF." Hartford Courant September 22, 1913

"Wild scenes followed the success of Ouimet....Vardon and Ray stood in open mouthed astonishment at the demonstration. England surely never produced anything like this." Hartford Courant September 22, 1913

"To win from Vardon and Ray after a tie if 72 holes is a feat which it is impossible to minimize and simply leaves one gasping" The London Sunday Times September 21, 1913

"Ouimet has proved himself not merely a really great golfer, but one of the greatest golfers of our time." New York Herald September 21, 1913

 



"Thus ended this most memorable contest which left even the most patriotic Americans stunned and gasping at the brilliance of their young champion and the greatness of his victory." Bernard Darwin for the Chicago Tribune 9/21/1913

  Francis Ouimet, 1913 United States Open Champion

 

 

1913 US Open

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