Herefordshire golf course
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This era will always be remembered for the mark left on the game of golf by John Henry Taylor, Harry Vardon and James Braid. Known as the great triumvirate, they collected sixteen Open Championships between them and have left an indelible impression on the game of golf.
Harry Vardon hailed from the Channel Island of Jersey and Henry Taylor from Devon in England. The emergence of Vardon and Taylor before the end of the 19th century attests to the rapid spread and widespread play of the game. Both had already established themselves as Open Champions before they were joined by James Braid. The three between them collected 16 Open titles and 13 second-place finishes and almost completely excluded a host of great Scots players from the records of the game during that particular period of time.
John Henry Taylor won the first of his five Open titles in 1894 at St George's in England, now Royal St George's, while Harry Vardon pipped Taylor in a play off in 1896 to land the first of a record six titles. James Braid won his first of five Open Championships in 1901 to join Vardon and Taylor as the dominant forces of the day. Though also winning the French Open, unlike Vardon and Taylor, Braid never made the transatlantic crossing to enjoy the spoils of the newly emerged golfing scene in the USA.
While Vardon won the US Open of 1900 during a tour of America where he played in approximately 80 matches and winning 70 of them, Braid's decision to remain at home was well rewarded as an exhibition match player. Braid also established himself in course design, building Gleneagles and Nairn to name but two of his many jewels.
What started as a trickle of Scots golfers to the US, became commonplace by the turn of the century when anyone who could swing a club on a Scots links was able to find a lucrative niche as a professional in the US. The early US Open Champions were all Scots born players who, as teachers and mentors produced players that would come to further transform the game. One notable such player was Willie Anderson from North Berwick in Scotland, who won the US Open four times including a present day record of three in a row from 1903 to 1905.William Law "Willie" Anderson (21 October 1879 – 25 October 1910) was a Scottish immigrant to the United States who became the first golfer to win four U.S. Opens, with victories in 1901, 1903, 1904, and 1905. He is still the only man to win three consecutive titles, and only Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, and Jack Nicklaus have equalled his total of four championships. He is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Anderson was born in North Berwick, in East Lothian, Scotland. He emigrated from Scotland to the United States in 1896, along with his father, Thomas Anderson, and his brother Tom. He played in the U.S. Open the following year, finishing in second by one stroke after Joe Lloyd eagled the final hole.
His first significant win came in 1899 at the Southern California Open, before he started his run at the U.S. Open. In the 14 straight Opens that he played, Anderson won four, was second once, third once, fourth twice, fifth three times, 11th twice and 15th once. He won titles with both the old gutta-percha golf ball, and the rubber-cored ball which came into use in 1902. Anderson also won the Western Open in 1902, 1904, 1908, and 1909.
Anderson made his living as a golf professional, working at ten different clubs in fourteen years. He died at age 31, officially from epilepsy in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is buried in Ivy Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.
Anderson was an original member of the PGA Hall of Fame and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1975.