On this day, In 1913 amateur Francis Ouimet won the US Open
On this day, September 20, 1913, Francis Ouimet became the first amateur to win the United States Open at The Country Club, in Brookline, Massachusetts, in an outstanding upset over the top British top pro of the time, Harry Vardon and Edward “Ted” Ray. It was a pivotal event in the democratization of golf in the United States, later immortalized in the book and movie The Greatest Game Ever Played.
Ouimet’s own story reads like something out of a Dickens’s novel. Born and bred in Brookline, Massachusetts, Francis DeSales grew up across the street from The Country Club, in a working-class home. He learned the game with one old club his older brother, Wilfred, had procured as a caddie. They built three makeshift holes in his backyard, incorporating a gravel pit, a swamp, a brook, and a patch of long rough grass. As substituted cups, they sunk tomato cans. Francis was working at a neighborhood sports store when he qualified to compete in the U.S. Open through his victory in the Amateur Championship of Massachusetts. He was still in his teens and he was not considered a great player. But he had grown up right across the street from The Country Club of Brookline, where the Open would be played. By contrast, Vardon and Ray were the best players in the world. They had the experience the local youngest lacked.
After 36 holes, the top American-born professionals, Mike Brady and Tommy MacNamara were far behind. America’s premier amateur, Jerry Travers was not in better position than his professionals counterparts. As a result, Francis was among the few American-born players who could win.
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