The World's Golf Title

When I came across this letter to the editor I was thrilled, and then once I read it I was dumb founded. After you have had a chance to read it yourself I will give you some facts and opinions that well, let us say present a perspective different from that of Mr. Hughes.

  To the Editor of The New York Times

"No one will begrudge Mr. Ouimet the laurels he won so brilliantly at Brookline on Saturday last. In fact the more than analyses the achievement the more wonderful it appears. But I must be allowed to make exception to the title of world's champion so generously bestowed upon him by the New York press. 

If there is such a thing as a champion of the world in golf, then the title must go to this year's winner of the open tournament in England. For the field not only included Vardon and Ray, but also Braid and Taylor who have repeatedly beat them. 

Hilton, the present amateur champion of England, and McDermott, the American 1912 holder also competed.          (McDermott played Brookline as well. ) Braid and Taylor have, like Vardon, each won the open championship five times. Edward Ray is a great player, but his record of one championship hardly puts him on the plane of the other three men.   Sidney W. Hughes New York, September 22, 1913" 

New York Times, September 20, 1913 proclaimed Francis Ouimet as  "Golf's World Champion". The LA Times proclaimed he had won the "highest golfing honors in the country, in fact the world." and The Boston Globe proclaimed him "Now World's Best Golfer. And I say Mr. Hughes I can see no fault in any of these bold proclamations.

Mr. Hughes said that title belongs to the 1913 British Open Champion, for the "field not only included Vardon and Ray, but also Braid and Taylor who have repeatedly beat them."  First Mr. Hughes you are a little redundant as J. H. Taylor was not only in the 1913 Open field, he won it. Note however that Francis Ouimet was not in the 1913 British Open field, while J. H. Taylor was in fact competing in Brookline where he finished a "humiliating" 30th place. 

As far a Taylor and Braid "repeatedly" beating Vardon is concerned it is interesting to point out that Braid and Taylor each won the British Open 5 times and never a US Open while Vardon won the British Open 6 times and the 1900 US Open.* Also worth noting is that 4 of Braid's and 2 of Taylor's Open championships came AFTER Vardon was struck down with tuberculosis, while 2 of Vardon's Open championships also came after his multi-year battle with tb. Granted Edward Ray was not Taylor or Vardon but like Vardon he won both the British and US Opens, a double neither Taylor nor Braid could claim.

*"Harry Vardon is conceded to be the greatest golfer that ever lived."  NY Times September 21, 1913

Now I will grant you that neither Braid nor Hilton played in Brookline. Braid had an acute fear of the water making an ocean voyage near impossible and Hilton in all his years of competitive golf never played a US Open for a reason I have yet to uncover. However if you take a look at the 1913 US Open field I am sure you can find equal competitors for them that did not venture to the British Open, Jerome Travers for example with his 4 US Amateur victories proved to much for Hilton in 1912, and I am pretty sure Walter Hagen ( 11 majors, 44 PGA Tour wins ) would have been able to give Mr. Braid a game. 

A photo of golfing legend J.H. Taylor, 5 time British Open Champion
JH Taylor
5 time British Open Champion

So no Mr. Hughes I disagree, if there had been a 'World Champion of Golf" proclaimed in 1913, I think Francis Ouimet would hold the title.

 

To learn more about John Henry Taylor and his life in golf, continue your search here.....

1913 US Open

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