Harry Vardon and Edward Ray arrive in New York
Golf's British Invasion of 1913 begins

The American Golfer September 1913

Harry Vardon and Edward Ray landed from the Celtic on Friday night, August 15, at nine o'clock. Among those gathered on the dock to greet them was Mr. S. Boyd Carrigan, of Whitemarsh Valley, and a very uncomfortable day he had put in. The two visiting pros, were scheduled to play against the brothers Nicholls at Whitemarsh on Saturday morning, and the committee headed by Mr. Carrigan had made elaborate preparations for the day and the wires had been kept hot with the inquiry: "Any news of the Celtic yet?" The Philadelphian was a happy man as he saw the two players step ashore and they were quickly got through "Customs" and whisked away to Philadelphia. 

Your correspondent had a permit to go out on the Revenue Cutter to Quarantine to meet our visitors and I quickly found them standing together by the rail looking over the harbor. They seemed genuinely pleased as I welcomed them and as the big ship crawled up to dock they talked freely of their visit to America and our players as they knew their games.

A photo of the Celtic on which golfers Harry Varon and Ted Ray travelled to the 1913 US Open
RMS Celtic circa 1913

They were desirous of knowing the characteristics of the course at Brookline, where the Open Championship is to be played and while there was not the slightest suggestion of boasting or prophecy, there was nevertheless a very business-like manner which they showed rather than expressed. Ray was particularly anxious about the possibilities of hot weather and appeared quite relieved when I told him that at the time of the Brookline meeting they were likely to meet with favorable conditions in Massachusetts. Vardon spoke of his former visit to the States and of those he remembered during the thirteen years that had passed.


 The Country Club Course map as it would have 
been played in 1913, notice the race track
 and its impact on the 1st and 18th holes. 

As the Celtic slowly passed the down-town sky-scrapers he pointed to the gigantic Woolworth building and dryly remarked: "Ted, it's a long cleek from the top of that to the ground." 

Both men referred to the recent winning of the British Open by J. H. Taylor with the spirit of true sportsmen— frank admiration of the success of a fellow player, and they also spoke of the fine showing of our leading American—two time US Open Champion John McDermott. 

I have referred to the evident ambition of these two famous golfers to return to Great Britain with our Open title. Of course every man who will participate at Brookline has designs on the title himself, and every one naturally will play hard, but Harry Vardon and Ted Ray are not coming to America for a pleasure trip, or for the sole purpose of lining their purses. They know that British golfers expect that one of the twain will win and with the single thought that "England expects every man to do his duty," they have their eyes fixed on Brookline in such a determined way that it bodes ill for the chances of our men if they fail to gird their armor and enter the field prepared for the fight of their lives.

To learn more about Vardon and Ray, or travel in the early 1900's, continue your search here......




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