Thursday, Jun. 18, 2009

Francis Ouimet vs. Harry Vardon (1913)

His caddie was a 10-year-old kid. He worked at a sporting-goods store and needed to ask his boss for time off even to play in the Open. And when American Francis Ouimet, 20, outshot British legend Harry Vardon down the stretch of the 1913 Open in Brookline, Mass., the U.S. finally fell in love with golf. An amateur who had looped at the Country Club where he was crowned champion, Ouimet had an Everyman tale that connected with duffers and nongolfers alike. In the 10 years after Ouimet's victory, the number of Americans playing the sport tripled, and public courses popped up across the country. As the World Golf Hall of Fame put it, Ouimet's win swept away "the notion that golf was a stuffy game for the old and rich."