It was the stuff of which dreams are made; a 20-year-old shop assistant goes out and beats the two best players in the world in a US Open play-off.
For Francis Ouimet, that dream came true. Oiumet lived across the road from the Brookline Country Club in Boston, but his golfing ability appeared limited. He seldom broke 90, and failed to qualify for the US amateur championships three years in a row. When he did qualify in 1913 he was beaten in the second round. Ouimet only entered the US Open to have a closer look at Harry Vardon. The English professional set the early pace and although Ouimet shot a 74 in the third round few people gave him much chance of winning
His form began to fade in the final round and he needed to score two under par over the last six holes to force a three way play-off. A 36 foot birdie put at the 17th and a teasing 3 footer on the last enabled him to tie Vardon and Ted Ray on 304. In the play-off, the trio all reached the turn in 38 and while the Englishman fell apart over the back nine, Ouimet kept his nerve and came back in 34 to win,
Emily Wilding Davison had been one of the most militant suffragettes since she joined the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1906. She had serves several prison sentences for her violent protests, one for breaking windows in the House of Commons. She had only just been released from jail again when she received a telegram . Its content or sender have never been discovered, but on the morning of June 4th, Davison visited the offices of WSPU to collect two suffragette flags before she set out on her fateful journey to Epsom.
By the time the 15 runners in the Derby reached Tattenham Corner the field had already split into two groups with the King’s horse the little-fancied Anmer several lengths adrift of the leading bunch. Davison dashed across the course, dodged one horse and lunged at Anmer. She managed to grab the reins and hold on for a second before the horse stumbled and crashed to the ground rolling on his jockey, Herbert Jones. Davison, bleeding profusely, was taken to hospital. She never recovered consciousness and died four days later of a fractured skull.
RUGBY UNION - W J A Davies began a 22 cap career in England’s firs t Grand Slam season and was never on a losing international side.
SOCCER - Sunderland and Aston Villa cancelled each other’s Double ambition. Sunderland won the league but lost 1 - 0 to Aston Villa, (who had been league runners-up), in the FA Cup final.
King George V was the first monarch attending the cup final when Burnley beat Liverpool 1 - 0 on April 25th. With the treat of war hanging over Great Britain his presence was perceived as an attempt to forge national unity. It was alos the last cup final at Crystal Palace.
When Harry Vardon strolled up the 18th fairway at Prestwick on the final afternoon of the Open, there was no doubt that he would win a record 6th title. He was three shots ahead of his great rival, John Henry Taylor, while a little way down the field was the last man to win at Prestwick, James Braid. The Great Triumvirate, three men with vastly different swings who dominated the game from 1894 to 1914, were victorious again.
Their statistical achievements were awesome. Vardon won the open six times, and Braid and Taylor five times. The trio filled the top three positions on three occasions. But there was more to their influence than the consistency of their swings. Born 13 months apart, they promoted professional golf as a respected occupation and, as founder members of the Professional Golfers Association, established the etiquette that is the cornerstone of the modern game.
Braid, the son of a Scottish ploughman, was unimpressive in his early career. Then he found a driver more suited to his powerful hitting, changed his shallow faced iron putter to an aluminium head and virtually overnight turned into a champion.
J H Taylor was a tenacious fighter who broke the supremacy of Scottish professionals in 1894 when he won the first Open in England. The victory at Sandwich was the first of 16 major titles won by the triumvirate. His short swing and flat-footed stance stood him in good stead in poor weather, particularly in a gale at Hoylake in 1913 when he was the only player to break 80 in both rounds on the final day, winning the open by 8 shots. A sturdy man, he was the pioneer of public courses in England, a champion of the deprived hackers.
Vardon was the most successful of the three. He won his first Open in 1896 coming from six behind to beat Taylor on the final day. His last Open title was 18 years later.
His success was built on an upright stance and a flowing swing, which proved a fine example for many to copy. He once said of those attempting to emulate him: “Golfers find it a very trying matter to turn at the waist, more particularly if they have a lot of waist to turn”. Vardon was equally popular in America where he won the US Open in 1900 and 1903.
BOXING - Freddie Welsh from Pontypridd won the world lightweight title when he outpointed Willie Ritchie from San Francisco over 20 rounds in London on July 7. Welsh had only a light punch but was one of the finest defensive boxers in the division history.
TENNIS - Otto Foitzheim, the first great German player reached the all-comers final at Wimbledon and took Norman Brookes to five sets. Brookes beat Tony Wilding in the challenge round, ending the New Zealanders reign.
For many, the Great War began as no more than a game., an extension of the physical sports played at home.
Britain’s leaders had never forgotten the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton. Once again, a century later, they went to heavily populated sports stadiums for their heroes. Thus as early as the spring of 1914, King George V watched Burnley beat Liverpool in the FA Cup Final. But more significantly, there were 72,778 people in attendance. The King’s presence was seen as an attempt to forge national unity.
There were military bands, speakers and posters at sports grounds. Billboards tempted fans. “Do you want to be a Chelsea Diehard? Join the 17th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, and follow the lead given by your favourite football players” Footballers signed up in front of stands and terraces, and by early 1915 the Football Association claimed that the campaign had persuaded 500,000 people to enlist.
A Footballers Battalion was formed with its headquarters at the Richmond Athletic Ground. They became the 17th Service Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment and saw their first action in France in late 1915. Their second-in-command, Major Frank Buckley, was wounded in the shoulder and lung the next year. He recovered to become manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
After the outbreak of hostilities both football and horse racing decided to continue but after a public outcry they were largely closed down for the duration of the war.
Baseball was booming and money was pouring into the game. But many players earned low salaries, so it was hardly surprising that attempts to fix matches - something that had been common for years - were rife. Two New York Giants were banned during the season for trying to bribe other players to throw games, but not even that prepared America for the scandal of the World Series.
The Cincinnati Reds reached the World Series for the first time, but were not expected to beat the Chicago White Sox. Even when there were big bets on the Reds, and the White Sox made an inordinate number of elementary mistakes as they lost 5 - 3
The storm broke in September 1920 when Abe Attell, a former champion boxer, named eight White Sox who had accepted money to lose the ‘world series’ .
Jack Dempsey the most spectacular heavyweight since John L Sullivan, conceded 58 lbs but still battered the giant Jess Willard for three remorseless rounds before the world champion gave up and quit on July 4th. Two years earlier, Dempsey had been a small-time slugger fighting in the back rooms of saloons and dance halls, but a chance meeting with the manager Jack Kearns in San Francisco transformed his career.
Kearns was a brilliant publicist and within a year Dempsey (the Manassa Mauler) was the leading contender for the championship. When he won the world title he was not immediately popular with the public because he had not served during the war, but his exciting style- constantly attacking with savage punches, soon made him a national hero. He held the title until 1926.
Wimbledon was in for a shock when the all-England championships resumed after the war. Her name was Suzanne Lenglen. A flamboyant and fashion-conscious Frenchwoman who took the sport by storm. She possessed a powerful game perfected on the practise courts by her father. Lenglen had also thrown off the corsets and long dresses of the pre-war era to reveal a low cut. one-piece outfit that allowed her to move swiftly about the court. She advanced to the challenge round where she met Dorothea Lambert Chambers, the seven-times champion and at 40 twice her age.
It was an epic match. Chambers fought back from 1 - 4 down in the deciding set to hold two match points at 6 - 5. Lenglen came to the net. Chambers lobbed, Lenglen stretched high and tapped the ball with the top of the racket. It bounced off the net cord and fell into the champions court. The match point was saved, Chambers cracked and Lenglen took title 10 - 8, 4 - 6, 9 - 7.
A quiet man he was the first to break 70 in the Open, in the third round at Sandwich in 1904, and he won four Opens in six years. He also dominated the PGA match-play championship and was a prominent figure at Walton Heath until his death in 1950.
The eight, dubbed “The Black Sox” were tried for conspiracy. But some witnesses disappeared and other changed their stories. Documents vanished, a fire destroyed more key evidence and all of the defendants were acquitted. Judge Kenesaw Landis had been elected Baseball.‘s first commissioner in 1920, and had been charged with cleaning up the sport. So, even though the eight had been found not guilty he had no hesitation in banning them from baseball for life.
Search results published at foot of INDEX page
Did this web site interest you? If so perhaps a visit to the following by the same web master, you would also find enjoyable and informative -
Football aka Soccer - The Game - CLICK HERE
Louis XVI and the French Revolution - CLICK HERE
World War II - Epic Events - Key Players - CLICK HERE
Aviation - 1890 - 1949 The Pioneering Years - CLICK HERE
The History of the British Empire - CLICK HERE
Fall of The British Empire - CLICK HERE
Victorians and Empire, The British Way - CLICK HERE
True Tales of War, Adventure and Exploration - CLICK HERE
Greatest Highlights of Sport in the 20th Century - CLICK HERE
Milestones of the 20th Century Cinema - CLICK HERE
The fascinating story of the British Monarchy - CLICK HERE
Eyewitness to the History of America CLICK HERE
Eyewitness History of America - The Later Years - CLICK HERE
Lindfield Village - An English Classic - CLICK HERE
Start Lawn Bowls - CLICK HERE
Explore Sussex England - CLICK HERE
Gripping True Stories - CLICK HERE
Play Lawn Bowls to Win - CLICK HERE