Greatest Golf Game Ever Played

Without a doubt the greatest game of golf occurred during the 1913 U.S. Open at Brookline, Mass., Country Club. It pitted two professional golf champions from Great Britain against America’s best. Even if you do not enjoy golf, you should know why the 1913 U.S. Open became known as the greatest game of all times and how this tournament changed the history of golf in America.
In the early 20
th Century, golf was dominated by the English and Scots. In 1913 England was determined to win the U.S. Open and it sent its two best players, Harry Vardon and Ted Ray to bring back the trophy. In everyone’s mind these two players were unbeatable. You must also remember that back then there were no public golf courses in the United States and the game was mostly confined to wealthy members of a few country clubs. The U.S. Open allows amateurs to play, provided they qualify. A 20- year-old caddy at the Brookline C.C. by the name of Francis Ouimet was able to qualify but he could not afford his own caddy. Barred from carrying his own golf clubs, Francis asks a 10-year-old friend to be his caddy. The crowd laughed when they saw the tall skinny player with his short caddy. The sports writers also chuckled at the miss match between the young amateur and the two seasoned veterans of the game. But their chuckles turned to admiration once the game began.
Round two started with Francis Ouimet in fifth place behind the leaders Vardon and Ray. Round three ended with Ouimet in second place and at the end of the fourth round Vardon, Ray and Ouimet were all tied for first place with each having a total score of 603. The spectators were stunned by this unbelievable 5
th round play-off. How could this have possibly happen? How could a 20 year old American amateur manage to be tied with two of England’s best players? Now the sports writers went wild with their praise for Francis Ouimet.
The three players in the playoff remained tied through 12 holes. Then on the 13
th tee Ted Ray sliced his shot into the woods and fell hopelessly behind. Vardon and Ouimet were tied through the 16th hole. The 17th fairway was a short dog leg and Vardon decided to beat his formative opponent by driving his ball over the trees for the green on the other side. His tee shot cleared the trees but fell short and landed in the sand trap guarding the green. Ouimet took the long way to the green and managed to put his second shot on the green. Vardon had to waste a shot getting out of the sand trap. Ouimet was now leading by one stroke with one more hole to play. Excitement grew among the spectators. Could this young player maintain his composure or would he buckle under the pressure. On the 18th hole Ouimet remained calm and sunk his putt for a win. Harry Vardon and Ted Ray went back to England empty-handed.
Young Francis Ouimet’s victory at the 1913 U.S. Open captured the imagination of sports fans across the globe, sweeping away the notion that the game of golf was a stuffy game only for the old and rich. If a young caddy could win the most prestigious game of golf, then America was ready to embrace the game of golf. Within 10 years hundreds of public golf courses were built. Ouimet went on to win more amateur championships and in 1974 was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Disney Studios released a movie in September 2005 called
The Greatest Game Ever Played. This movie never reached the Youngstown theaters, but can now be found on rental DVD’s. This movie accurately portrays the 1913 U.S. Open and all of the excitement of the game. The DVD also contains a special interview with Francis Ouimet in 1963 as he tells his version of this greatest game that happened 50 years earlier.