The Great Triumvirate and the Bobby Jones Years
The Great Triumvirate
As the game continued to expand outside Scotland, so the challenge to the domination of players from the Home of Golf increased and the decades either side of the turn of the century produced a wonderful rivalry between two Englishmen and a Scot who became known as The Great Triumvirate.
Harry Vardon, J.H. Taylor and James Braid took the golfing world by storm. From 1894 to 1914 they won the Open 16 times. Braid and Taylor had five victories each and Vardon remains the only man to have claimed the title six times. One of only five other men to win the Open during this period of dominance was Frenchman Arnaud Massey, the first overseas champion.
But that was a situation which was not to last long after the first world war. Jock Hutchison, a St Andrean who had become an American citizen, was the 1921 winner in his home town and from 1924 until 1933 every Open champion was an American.
Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen were at the height of their powers during this period, but the man who captured the imagination of golfers throughout the world was Bobby Jones. The young lawyer from Atlanta had a tremendous record on either side of the Atlantic and remained an amateur.
The Bobby Jones Years
Jones won the first of his five US Amateur Championship titles in 1924 and went on to win the Open three times, the US Open twice and the British Amateur once. In the magical season of 1930 he captured all four titles and retired immediately from competitive golf at the age of 30.
There then followed an era of home wins, although after Henry Cotton had regained the honours for Britain with victory at Royal St George's in 1934 there was a greatly reduced American challenge leading up to the second world war.
In the post war years South African Bobby Locke and Australian Peter Thomson established an almost unrivalled winning combination, capturing the title four times each in a 10-year period from 1949. Thomson was to add a fifth championship win in 1965. Max Faulkner for England and Ben Hogan for America, were the only two players to interrupt the Locke-Thomson sequence.