Remembering Ouimet: Winning the 1913 Open

By Al TaysJune 5, 2013, 11:50 am

The storyline of the 1913 U.S. Open is simple: Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old amateur and former caddie who lived across the street from The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., where the Open was being played, tied British pros Harry Vardon and Ted Ray after 72 holes, then beat them in an 18-hole playoff.

It’s the tournament’s myriad subplots that make it fascinating, even 100 years later. We’ll set up the circumstances, then use the accounts of the participants and observers to help tell the story.


 Remembering Ouimet
Baggs: Who was Francis?
Baggs: Search for Ouimet
Tays: Turning point in U.S.
Mosier: Eddie Lowery story
Timeline | Trivia | Bag | Photos
Why Vardon and Ray?
The Country Club
Vardon and the Titanic
Inspiring other writers
Full Coverage



The preview: Harry Vardon from the Isle of Jersey, a British Crown Dependency located just off the coast of Normandy, France, was the biggest name in the field. He had won five British Opens and one U.S. Open. He was on a tour of the U.S. with fellow Jerseyman Ted Ray, and the USGA had agreed to postpone the Open until September so the two stars could play. It’s the only time the USGA has ever made such an accommodation.

Other notables in the field included pros John J. McDermott of Philadelphia, the two-time defending champion (and the first American to win the U.S. Open), Walter Hagen, Wilfrid Reid and Jerome Travers.

What about Ouimet? In Massachusetts, he was well known. In 1910, ’11 and ’12, he had missed qualifying for the U.S. Amateur by just one shot. In June 1913, Ouimet won the Massachusetts Amateur, then finally qualified for the U.S. Amateur but lost in the second round to eventual champion Travers. USGA president Robert Watson, who had played with Ouimet in a U.S. Amateur qualifying round in 1910, was looking for a local amateur to add to the Open field, and he settled on Ouimet, even entering him without Ouimet’s knowledge.

The course: The Country Club course played to a "bogey score" of 80, as par was a concept that was just beginning to take hold. Here are the yardages of each hole:

The Country Club course 


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Out
430 300 435 300 420 275 185 380 520 3245
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In
140 390 415 320 470 370 125 360 410 3000


Sept. 16, qualifying, first day


Vardon Beats Boston Boy. Briton’s Final Putt Does It.

Ex-President Taft Is Among Spectators.

(Boston Daily Globe, Sept. 17, 1913)

For the first time in the history of the U.S. Open, the size of the field necessitated two 36-hole qualifying rounds, with the low 64 players and ties advancing to the Open proper. Playing on the first day of qualifying, Ouimet shot 74-78–152, which looked like it was going to top the standings, until Vardon (75-76–151) sank a long putt on his final hole.

Writer D.J. McGuiness referred to Ouimet as “a player considered by experts as the golfing sensation of the year.”

“Vardon had a gallery of about 500 on his morning round,” McGuiness noted, “but after the spectators heard at the conclusion of the first 18 holes that Francis Ouimet, the only amateur who had made any kind of a showing, was leading the field by a stroke, the Woodland player (Ouimet was a junior member of nearby Woodland Golf Club) was followed by at least 700 persons in his afternoon’s play, a large majority leaving Vardon.”

John G. Anderson also covered the first-day qualifier for the Globe. (He was serving double duty as a player and newspaper correspondent.) He knew Ouimet well. A high school English teacher and golf coach in the Boston area, Anderson had inserted himself into his undermanned team’s roster for a match against Ouimet’s Brookline High team four years earlier. But Anderson was no ordinary high school coach – at the time he already had won two Massachusetts Amateurs, and in 1913 he would reach the final of a third, losing to Ouimet, and the final of the U.S. Amateur, losing to Jerome Travers, who had taken down Ouimet in the second round.

“I thought a couple of clubs would be enough for any boy I might happen to compete against,” Anderson recalled in his Globe article, “and the boy happened to be Ouimet. The first thing I knew, my young opponent was leading me three holes, and with my two clubs, I could not catch him. I’m not saying I could if I had my entire kit.”

“Within my knowledge of golf in the United States,” Anderson continued, “I know no performance by an amateur in medal play which stands out with quite such brilliancy as that of Mr. Ouimet yesterday.”



1. Harry Vardon Jersey 75-76–151
2. Mr. Francis Ouimet U.S. 74-78–152
3. Macdonald Smith Scotland 77-77–154
4. Alec Ross Scotland 76-81–157
5. Tom McNamara U.S. 78-80–158
5. Jim Barnes England 82-76–158


Sept. 17, qualifying, second day

Ted Ray led all qualifiers with a 36-hole course-record 74-74–148, and Ouimet wound up with the fifth-best qualifying score overall.

Henry Leach, an Englishman writing for The American Golfer, wrote that Ray’s scores “were the result of sound careful play in every part of the game … but it struck me that he could have driven a little further if he had wanted to do so. When he lets out, however, the rough has a great attraction for him, and at Brookline, he had developed a holy horror of the trees that line the fairway and told me that his greatest fear in regard to the championship was the dire trouble that he might get into through crooked driving.”



1. Ted Ray Jersey 74-74–148
2. Wilfrid Reid England 72-79–151
2. Robert McDonald U.S. 72-79–151
4. George Sargent U.S. 79-75–154
5. Walter Hagen U.S. 78-89–157
5. Joseph Sylvester U.S. 78-79–157




1. Ted Ray Jersey 74-74–148
2. Harry Vardon Jersey 75-76–151
2. Wilfrid Reid England 72-79–151
2. Robert McDonald U.S. 72-79–151
5. Mr. Francis Ouimet U.S. 74-78–152


Sept. 18, Rounds 1 and 2


British Golfers' Showing Is Most Formidable.

Small Chance of Heading Them Off Now.

(Boston Daily Globe, Sept. 19, 1913)

Ouimet shot 77-74–151, tied for seventh, four shots behind co-leader Vardon and two shots behind Ray. Ray, after opening with a disappointing 79, broke the course record with a 70 in his second round. After Ray’s first round, Leach wrote, “he uttered a declaration that he would do a 70 in the afternoon to make up for it. And he did it!” It could have been a 69, “had he not missed a two-foot putt on the home green,” the Globe’s McGuiness noted.

Ouimet got off to a double bogey-bogey start and turned in 41 in his opening round, but came home in 36.

With Vardon and fellow Englishman Wilfrid Reid leading after identical totals of 75-72–147, “Nothing seemed more certain then that the championship title would go abroad,” Leach wrote.



1. Wilfrid Reid England 75-72–147
1. Harry Vardon Jersey 75-72–147
3. Ted Ray Jersey 79-70–149
3. Herbert Strong England 75-74–149
5. Macdonald Smith Scotland 71-79–150
5. Jim Barnes England 74-76–150
7. Mr. Francis Ouimet U.S. 77-74–151
7. Alec Ross Scotland 71-80–151
7. George Sargent U.S. 75-76–151
7. Walter Hagen U.S. 73-78–151


Sept. 19, Rounds 3 and 4


Brookline Boy to Fore.

Ties Both Ray and Vardon.

(Boston Daily Globe, Sept. 20, 1913)

On a dreary, rainy Friday, Ouimet opened with the best round of the day, a 74, to tie Vardon (78) and Ray (76) for the lead. All three shot 79 in the final round, setting up an 18-hole playoff the following day.

Vardon and Ray both failed to break 40 in the opening nine of their fourth round, “Vardon’s putting and Ray’s short game being mainly responsible,” Leach wrote.

“Vardon very rarely smokes when playing in public, though he is as fond of his pipe as any man alive. It was an indication of his anxiety, therefore, when he lighted up at the fourteenth hole and he played better afterwards. He told me he wished he had begun to smoke earlier!”

Tied for the clubhouse lead at 304, neither Vardon nor Ray felt that score would hold up. Vardon told Leach, “There are three or four still out who will beat us. I am very sorry, but it is my putting that has let me down again. I feared it would.”

“I played rotten,” Leach quoted Ray, “and to make matters worse Harry went and did the same thing.”

The list of contenders that Vardon and Ray feared would surpass them eventually dwindled to one – Ouimet. He had turned in a disappointing 43 and started the final nine badly with a double-bogey 5 at the 10th.

The rules of the era did not allow a player to pick up a ball and clean it or loosen it from a plugged lie, even on the green. In his first-person account of the tournament for The American Golfer, Ouimet explained his strategy at the 10th: “Fearing that a high pitch might mean that the ball would bury itself on the green, as had happened a number of times during the tournament, I tried the experiment of playing the shot with a midiron, trusting to the soft turf to keep the ball from over-running, while at the same time expecting the running shot to prevent any accumulation of mud on the ball. Like a novice, I was too eager to see what happened on the shot, looked up to watch the ball and, consequently, made a bad flub.” He reached the green in two, then three-putted for his 5.

"After that wretched five, walking to the eleventh tee between a lane of spectators," Ouimet wrote in "A Game of Golf," "I heard one man say, 'It's too bad, he has blown up.' I knew he meant me, and it made me angry. It put me in the proper frame of mind to carry on."

When he reached the 13th tee, Ouimet knew he needed to play the remaining six holes in 2 under par to tie Vardon and Ray. He got the first birdie by chipping in at the 13th, the report of which caused Vardon and Ray to venture out to the 14th hole to watch the young amateur finish.

Ouimet had targeted the 125-yard 16th hole as the most likely source of a second birdie, but he could manage only a par. But at the 360-yard 17th, he holed what Leach called a “twelve yards putt for a 3. That was a great putt for America and a great 3.” Ouimet wrote, “my putt felt good from the moment I hit it.”

Needing a par 4 at the 410-yard 18th, Ouimet was just short of the green in two, chipped up and holed “a yard putt at the finish with no more hesitation than if he were practicing,” Leach wrote.

The immediate press reports were breathless. Anderson called the reaction of the crowd, estimated at 10,000, the largest for a U.S. tournament to that date, “the most enthusiastic demonstration ever accorded a golfer in this country or probably in the world.”

Citing examples of heroes in other sports “hoisted upon the shoulders of his admirers, for a jerky ride of fame,” Anderson noted that “such enthusiasm has been generally foreign to the golf links until the modest Woodland boy, Francis Ouimet, carried the gallery completely off its feet at the Country Club yesterday afternoon.”



1. Mr. Francis Ouimet U.S. 77-74-74-79–304
1. Harry Vardon Jersey 75-72-78-79–304
1. Ted Ray Jersey 79-70-76-79–304
4. Walter Hagen U.S. 73-78-76-80–307
4. Macdonald Smith Scotland 71-79-80-77–307
4. Jim Barnes England 74-76-78-79–307
4. Louis Tellier France 76-76-79-76–307


Sept. 20, 18-hole playoff




First Amateur to Win the American Open Golf Title.


Little Woman Holds Her Ground Until She Congratulates Her Son.

(The New York Times, Sept. 21, 1913)


Cards of the playoff


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



Ouimet became the first amateur to win the U.S. Open, shooting 72 to Vardon’s 77 and Ray’s 78.

“While I did not feel nervous” going into the playoff, Ouimet wrote for The American Golfer, “I did realize the formidable task in hand.” Two things and one person “helped me amazingly. The person was my little caddie, Eddie Lowrey (sic); one of the two things was the appeal which he made to my patriotism; the other thing was my determination that Vardon and Ray should not be able to say that my tying them for the championship was a fluke, which I felt they could say if I ‘went to pieces’ in the playoff.”

All three players parred the first hole in 5, but Ouimet cited it as a key to his round. “After playing four shots I was about a yard from the cup and I never felt more pleased over a putt in the entire championship than when that three-footer dropped out of sight, unless it was the putt on the home green the day before which tied me for the championship title,” he wrote.

All three players made the turn in 38, and when Vardon and Ray both three-putted the 10th, Ouimet had a lead he would never relinquish. He picked up another stroke at the 12th, with a 4 to the Englishmen's 5s. “About this time it dawned upon me that even against two such wonderful players there might be a chance of landing the title, with which thought I resolved that if they beat me it would be only by playing better than par golf,” Ouimet wrote.

Vardon closed within a stroke with a birdie at the 13th, but both Englishmen failed to capitalize on a topped brassie shot by Ouimet at the 14th, where all made 5s.

Ray fell out of contention with a double-bogey 6 at the 15th, where he needed two strokes to escape a greenside bunker. Now it was down to Ouimet and Vardon.

Both parred the par-3 16th, but when Vardon tried to cut the corner on the dogleg of the par-4 17th, he landed in a bunker, had to pitch out sideways and made 5. Ouimet took the safer straight route, reached the green in two and sank his birdie putt for a three-shot lead going to the last. A closing 4 by Ouimet, a 6 by Vardon and a too-little, too-late 3 by Ray, and the U.S. Open had its first amateur champion. Again Ouimet was hoisted on the shoulders of the crowd. A collection was taken up for Lowery.

At the awards ceremony, Vardon and Ray paid tribute to their unlikely conqueror. “I have no hesitation in saying that he played better golf the whole four days than any of us,” Ray said. “His was the best golf I have ever seen in my time in America. It has been an honor to play with him and no dishonor to lose to him.”

“We have no excuses to make today,” Vardon followed, “for we were both defeated by the highest class of golf. … America should be nothing but proud of her new champion. He has proved himself to be a superior golfer and a courageous fighter.”

The New York Times blanketed the playoff with 11 different articles. Also reported was a message of congratulations of former President William Howard Taft, who had watched Ouimet during the qualifying rounds. “I am very glad that an American won,” Taft said. “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.”

Ouimet closed his American Golfer piece with praise for Lowery, Vardon and Ray: Lowery “was a veritable inspiration all around.” As for Vardon and Ray, “I can say only that I admire them as fine golfers and good types of sportsmen, and am only sorry that all three of us could not win."

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.