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1978 : Francis Ouimet

1978 Memorial Tournament Honoree

Image Credit: Library of Congress

Born in 1893 in Brookline, Massachusetts, Francis D. Ouimet took whatever time he could spare from school to caddie at 28 cents an hour at the Country Club in Brookline. Little did he realize then that a few years down the road he would surge to victory in the 1913 U.S. Open and end British supremacy of championship golf in America.  

What made Ouimet’s victory so spectacular in defeating the highly favored British pair of Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in an 18-hole playoff was that he was American, an amateur and a former caddie. The British had dominated the game so completely that when the soft-spoken Bostonian defeated two of their best professionals, the American public and press became more attracted to golf and interest in the sport surged forward.

The following year, he captured the United States Amateur Championship and 17 years later, did it again.  He was a player on the U.S. Walker Cup team from 1922 to 1936 and captain from 1932 to 1949.  In tribute to what he achieved as great ambassador between American and British golf, the Royal and Ancient Club of St. Andrews invited him to become captain for 1951-52, the first “foreigner” since the club’s formation in 1754.