History of Golf - Part Six Golf Since 1900

By George WhiteJuly 31, 2002, 4:00 pm
Americans were taking rapidly to the game of golf as the 20th century began, taught ever so enthusiastically by Scots who crossed the Atlantic for the sole purpose of instructing their Yankee cousins. Many times the knowledge of the Scot regarding golf wasnt particularly savvy, but he did know more than the fellow (or madam) he was teaching.
 
And for a while, the British were the ones who did all the winning in America. The Great Triumvirate ' Harry Vardon, J.H. Taylor and James Braid ' toured repeatedly and were consistent winners. These three ruled golf from 1894 until 1914.
 
American golf took a giant step toward world-wide recognition with the victory in the U.S. Open by 20-year-old amateur Francis Ouimet. Vardon and Ted Ray were the overwhelming favorites, but Ouimet took them into an extra day for an 18-hole playoff and beat them both.
 
An American, John J. McDermott, had made history by becoming the first home-grown winner of the U.S. Open in 1911, then repeated in 1912. Prior to 1911, the first 16 Opens were won by British golfers.
 
Brash upstart Walter Hagen became the first great American professional. Not only did he play throughout the country, but also in Europe ' in Scotland, England and France. It was almost solely through his efforts that the professional golfer achieved gentleman status. Told by haughty club members in Europe that professionals must change in the pro shop and not the country club, Hagen insisted on pulling his limousine up to the clubs front door to dress. Perplexed club members hurriedly relented, establishing a new tradition for the professionals. Hagen won two U.S. Opens, four British Opens and four PGAs.
 
The PGA of America was founded in 1916 when a group of professionals met in New York to form the organization. Their first championship was held later that year with Jim Barnes defeating Jock Hutchinson, 1-up, in match play. The PGA continued as a match-play championship until 1958, when it became stroke play.
 
Two great golfers were born in 1902, Gene Sarazen in Harrison, N.Y., on Feb. 27 and Bobby Jones in Atlanta March 17. Jones founded the Masters tournament in Augusta, Ga., in 1934, and Sarazen hit there the most famous shot ever played ' a double eagle on the 15th hole during his win in 1935.
 
Jones was a brilliant player who retired at the age of 28 after winning all four legs of the then-grand slam in 1930. He was an amateur throughout his playing career, which lasted only from 1923 to 30.
 
What was even more amazing about Jones is that he was becoming educated as he was playing. He majored in English literature while earning a degree at Georgia Tech, though he also studied mathematics, physics, engineering, geography and chemistry while there. He then went to Harvard and got his law degree. All the while, he was the best golfer in the world for the seven years from age 2l to 28.
 
Actually, Jones began playing major championships when he entered the U.S. Amateur ' then considered a major because most of the best players were amateurs ' at age 14. He exploded onto the scene with a boom when he led the field in the first qualifying round. He wouldnt actually win the Amateur until 1924, a year after he won his first U.S. Open in 1923.
Jones would win 13 major championships, highlighted by his swan song quartet in 1930. In that year, he won the British Amateur (then a major) and the British Open, as well as the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open. He then halted his tournament play and focused on buying the property upon which he would establish Augusta National. His tournament would become the Masters.
 
Because of his education and outside activities, Jones never could concentrate solely on golf. He averaged playing in championships only three months a year, and only played in seven tournaments outside of the majors between 23 and 30.
 
Three players were born in 1912 ' Byron Nelson, Sam Snead and Ben Hogan ' and each had a tremendous impact on golf in the 20th century. Nelson set an all-time record of 11 consecutive wins in 1945, a total of 18 victories that year. Snead set the all-time record of 81 wins and won the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open at the age of 52 years and 10 months ' another Tour record.
 
Hogan is regarded by some as the games best player. He won four U.S. Opens, two PGAs, two Masters and the only British Open he ever played ' setting a course record at Carnoustie though it was the only time he ever saw it. In 1953 he won three legs of the Grand Slam ' Masters, U.S. Open and British Open ' and couldnt return from Britain in time to play the fourth, the PGA.
 
Arnold Palmer began a cycle of great players born every 10 years when he was born in 1929, followed by Jack Nicklaus in 1940 and Tom Watson the latter part of 1949. Palmer had a tremendous influence on the popularity of the game, winning 60 times and boosting television coverage when it needed it most ' at the end of the 50s and start of the 60s. He, along with Nicklaus and Gary Player, became known as the Big Three of golf in the 60s and played numerous exhibitions together.
 
Nicklaus is the man generally recognized as the greatest ever to play the game. He won an astounding 70 times, including 18 professional majors, more than any other golfer. He won his final major at the age of 46 ' the 1986 Masters ' in an unbelievable career that stretched from 1962 to the Senior Tour age of 50 in 1990.
 
Watson won 34 times and dominated in the late 70s and early 80s. Player, a South African who is the most successful player on the world scene, won 21 times on the PGA Tour.
 
The stage was set for a new hero when Tiger Woods came upon the scene in 1996. He won eight times in 1999, nine times in 2000, and won the four major championships in succession in 2000-2001, starting with the U.S. Open in 2000. Should his career be as successful in his 30s and 40s as it has been in his 20s, he will assume the mantle of best player ever.
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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.