IRISH GOLF TIMELINE - 1913

In the news

1913 was the year of: the Lockout, the militant suffragettes 'War on the Golf Links', Harry Bradshaw's birth, the 'Greatest Game Ever Played', the foundation of the Castle Golf Club, the restructuring of the GUI into central and provincial councils and the Dyke tragic-heroic play for the Open Championship at Hoylake. The year also saw the death of Colonel James Martin McCalmont one of the founding members of the Royal Portrush Golf Club and of Alfred Blake who was often referred to as the father of golf in County Cork having being a founding member of the Cork Golf Club at Little Island which in 2013 is celebrating its 125th anniversary.

Issues of the day were not dissimilar to those of the present day with the proclivity for pot-hunting, nursing handicaps and the 'handicap snatcher' wasn't an uncommon trait for the good golfer trying to gain an advantage by playing down his prowess for the game while inflating that of his opponent. The reluctance of golf committees to use 'grousing' to curtail the handicap of someone seen to be nursing it. It was suggested that there was "little enough exercise in golf to reduce it to a leisurely stroll". Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

The militant suffragettes were in full flight as they vented their anger on the golf clubs of the United Kingdom and to a lesser extent Ireland. Their 'No Votes No Golf' was aimed defiantly at the political classes as the reeked have on venerable clubs like the Royal St. George's and Sheringham Golf Clubs amongst many others in the early hours of the morning. The Killarney Golf Club was also targeted by a suspected militant action of a suffragette as they pursued their Votes for Women and No Surrender campaigns. Precautions were put in place at the Amateur Championship to avoid any incidents with the suffragettes during the course of the event.

The caddie-master and honorary secretary of the Hermitage Golf Club were brought up against the magistrates court for employing caddies under 12 years of age during school hours. The Secretary was fined 1s while the charge against the caddie-master were dismissed.

Both Mr Vernon Macan and J. S. Matterson were making their presence felt in British Columbia having both emigrated there to set up a law practice together. Vernon Macan won the Pacific North West Golf Association Championship by defeating, the banker and Butte club champion, Mr E. J. Baker in a grueling match at Baker's home club by 8 and 6. Matterson took the golf medal for the best qualifying round in the same championship. Macan was appointed Secretary of the new exclusive Colwood Golf Club, a course which he had designed, later in the year. Macan would become a prolific designer of golf clubs having designed or remodeled up to seventy golf courses until his death in 1964 allowing him to indulge a passion for the game.

Odd as it may seem now was the dress code on the golf course included the wearing of a jacket and the issue arose as one American was asked to put his coat back on when playing an English golf course. In fact it was felt that golfers were often tyrannised into wearing coats when playing golf irrespective of the conditions. One journalist decided to face this particular dress code face-on suggesting the times are changing and golfers need to change with them.

While all eyes were on Brookline for the US Open two of the more prominent players Vardon and Ray were brewing up a storm with their exhibition fees for playing a foursomes match USD 350 (or £70). They encountered some polite, "No thank you" from The National, Garden City where the US Amateur was being staged, and from Apawamis, . Mr R. C. Watson the then President of the USGA said: "If advertising hotels are paying Vardon and Ray $350 it was no affair of his but to attempt it at The National and Garden City in this fashion won't do at all." This must be compared with the prize money of £50 for winning the British Open Championship. The presence of Vardon and Ray brings into question whether there shouldn't be international matches between the two countries along the lines of the Davis Cup tennis matches.

1913 saw the first staging of a home international match against Wales and Ireland were five up after the singles but only match to win the match by 2 up.

The Royal & Ancient were against the idea of golf being included in the Olympic Games.

On 9 October 1913 Harry Bradshaw was born and was to come within a glass bottle of winning the 1949 Open Championship at Royal St. Georges when his decision to play the ball as it lay near the bottle resulted in him dropping a shot which eventually left in tied with Bobby Locke at the end of the four rounds and lost in the playoff. A two-time Irish Open champion and ten time Irish Professional champion together with partnering Christy O'Connor snr. in the Canada Cup for Ireland in Mexico in 1958 he was undoubtedly one of Ireland's great exponents of the game.

The 6 June 1913 saw the birth of Patrick Campbell author of How to become a Scratch Golfer and Patrick Campbell's Golfing Book amongst many of his contributions to golf literature.

Publications

Edward Ray's book: Inland Golf and Aleck Bauer's Hazards both hit the shelves in 1913.

Course design and development

1913 saw the foundation of the Castle Golf Club in Rathfarnham, later the course was redesigned by the famous architect H.S. Colt in 1918/19.

Other clubs celebrating their centenaries in 2013 are: Portumna Golf Club, Letterkenny Golf Club and Clones Golf Club.

Championships

Ladies Amateur Championship 2-6 June - Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club

Miss Tobin and Miss Jackson both playing out of Greystones gave a good account of themselves at the Ladies' Amateur Championship by reaching the fifth and semifinal rounds respectively. Miss Tobin fell to Muriel Dodd the eventual winner (by 8 & 6) of the event while Miss Jackson succumbed to Miss Evelyn Chubb, a Fulwell player, by 1up

The Amateur Championship -St. Andrews 26 - 30 May 1913

Since 1910 the entries to the Amateur Championship was restricted to scratch golfers but despite this there were 398 entries.

Unfortunately all the Irish players were eliminated by the third round but it wasn't without a fight at least in the case of Lionel Munn who only bowed out at the 22nd hole against W. Greig (New St. Andrews) and Captain H. A. Boyd (Portmarnock) been knocked out on the 21st by F. C. Carr (Handsworth) both in their third round matches.

The final was between Harold Hilton (Royal Liverpool) and Robert Harris (Acton) with the former taking the 36 hole final by 6 and 5.

Irish Ladies Championship 16- 19 June - Lahinch

The championship was of note from the start as none of the Hezlet family were taking part. Miss D. Dickson (North West), Miss Janet Jackson, Florence Walker-Leigh and the previous year's champion,Miss Harrison, made up the semifinalist for the championship this year. Miss Janet Jackson won the first of her string of championships having defeated Miss Dickson and Miss Harrison in the semifinals and finals respectively both by a margin of 4 and 3 which was a clarion call for the changing of the old guard.

Irish Close Championship 6-10 August - Portmarnock Golf Club

In the closing stages of the championship W.J. Carroll made a valiant effort to topple Lionel Munn despite being dormy two down but took him to the 21st hole before final succumbing to Munn despite a clear cut chance at the previous hole to cause a major upset. In the end Munn played Captain H. A. Boyd in the final beating him by 6 and 5.

Irish Amateur Open Championship - Dollymount

The 1913 Lockout was disrupting the attendance at the Championship as would be spectators feared that disruptions in the train service would affect their travel arrangements.

W.J. Guild, the Edingburgh golfer, beat Munn in the third round and he himself was beaten in the next round by John Francis Jameson who had beaten the Hon. Michael Scott in the previous round. C. A. Palmer and A. Phillips contested the final and both had taken up golf relatively late in life. C. A. Palmer was an accomplished cyclist while Phillips had represented Wales at International rugby level. J.F. Jameson was the last Irishman standing as he reached the semifinal stage only to be beaten by Phillips by 4 and 3 while in the otherside of the draw Palmer had beaten Lockhart by 3 and 1 but was lucky to have reached that stage as Ector Munn gave him a hard fight in the quarterfinals eventually losing by a single hole.

Scenes from 1913 Irish Open Amateur Championship at Dollymount (Royal Dublin Golf Club)

Source: The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News

South of Ireland Championship Lahinch Golf Club

Mr T. Jennings and A W. Murray from Purley Downs competed for the last South of Ireland Championship before the war and Jennings was again runner-up as he lost at the 35th hole.

Professional Golf Championships

The Irish Professional Championship - Portmarnock Golf Club - 31 July - 1 August 1913

Michael Moran showing in the Open Championship added a certain gravitas to the CPC and he was playing with Peter O'Hare of Monkstown in the first day's play returning scores of 79 and 88 leaving himself five behind the leader, Hugh McNeill. Moran and McNeill were drawn together for the second day but it was Pat O'Hare who made a serious challenge for the championship and Moran was 6 strokes behind him by the time the reached the back nine of the final round. However O'Hare floundered over the first two holes on the back nine recorded two sevens and while he recover his composure somewhat it gave Moran some breathing space to make up the gap. Moran cover the back nine in 36 strokes compared to O'Hare's 44 strokes thereby snatching the championship at the final curtain.

Michael Moran: 79 88 82 75 = 324

Pat O'Hare: 82 82 79 83 = 326

In the qualifier for the News of the World competition being played at Newcastle Michael Moran beat his nearest rival P. O'Hare (Foxrock) by two strokes but when the final of the PGA sponsored event at Walton heath Moran was beaten by James Bradbeer of Porter's Park at the 20th.

Michael Moran played Pat O'Hare in an exhibition match at Kingstown on 8 November with O'Hare winning the medal round in the morning by 71 to 77 while Moran won the matchplay round in the afternoon. While Moran had "a natural aptitude and genius for the game", O'Hare is "most pleasant to watch ...their is nothing prettier than his pitch shots right up to the hole."

The Open Championship 23-24 June 1912 - Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake

Michael Moran was placed joint third in the Open Championship when the previous best place was recorded by an Irishman was eleventh by James Edmundson in 1908. It would be another thirty-four years before this position was bettered by an Irishman when Fred Daly became the first to win the event (coincidentally at Hoylake).

An all star line up (Vardon, Braid, Taylor, Massy, Gassiat, Telier, J.J. McDermott etc) teed up for the Open Championship that year with the exception of George Duncan who failed to qualify. Of the great amateur golfers of the era two of them would have been members of Hoylake. However John Ball jnr didn't play and Harold Hilton failed to make the thirty-six hole cut despite having won the Amateur Championship at St. Andrews.

Moran was in ninth place only three shots outside the lead after a 76 in the first round and with 74 in the next round he moved into third place still only three shots behind the leader, Ted Ray. The Times predicted that his "rather too pronounced Celtic temperament" would keep him out of the running for the Championship.

The disaster struck in the form of an out-of-bounds and a four shot bunker recovery on a single hole where he clocked up a ten on the first hole and while continuing the battle the wind and torrential rain he could only manage 89 strokes dropping him to thirteenth position with little chance of catching Taylor who was now fourteen strokes ahead of him.

In the final round of the championship Moran came back fighting with a 74 (39, 35) to tie with Vardon in third place nine shots behind Taylor. That score was the best round of the thirty-six holes played that day and was five and six shots better than Taylor and Vardon respectively. Moran's three round (excl. third round) total for was three shots better than anyone else in the field with Taylor next and Ted Ray was next nine strokes back and Vardon ten strokes which was a clear indication that Moran was now a match for some of the greatest players in the game.

Of the other Irish players who competed in the Open Championship this year Hugh McNeill finished in 18th place and James Edmundson in 46th place.

J. H. Taylor won the Open Championship, the last of his five Open Championship victories with a margin of eight strokes from his nearest rival, Ted Ray. Taylor counted this as his second favourite victory as it was at Hoylake and he felt he was destined never to win the Open there but the conditions suited his game with his long, straight, low and penetrating drives leading one commentator to suggest the only hazard he faced were the "guide posts".

US Championships

US Amateur Championship 1-6 September Garden City

Despite Chick Evans and Francis Ouimet being the leading qualifiers it was Jerome Travers who won the American Amateur Golf Championship beating John G. Anderson by 5 & 4 in the final matchplay stage and clocked up a fourth victory beating Walter Travis' record of three US Amateur titles.

US Women's Amateur Championship 13-18 October Wilmington Country Club

Gladys Ravenscroft won the championship at Wilmington Country Club from Marion Hollins by 2 up. Miss Harrison who had travelled to America with Miss Ravenscroft and Miss Dodd qualified for the matchplay stage and lost her quarterfinal match by 4 and 3 to Miss Hariot Curtis.

US Open Championship 16 - 20 September Brookline Country Club

The US Open in 1913 was delayed pending the arrival of the great Harry Vardon and Ted Ray.

The Boy who beat Ray and Vardon and The Greatest Game Ever Played were some of the headlines the followed Francis Ouimet's victory at the Brookline Country Club. This 'One David against two Goliaths' match became the stuff of legend and has been the subject of two books and a motion picture. Such was the pressure that Mr Ouimet was under after his victory it was said that such was the strain that he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and had to pull out of many competitions on the advise of doctors.

Ouimet was of Irish-Italian extraction, his mother, Mary Ellen Burke, was born in Belfast and his diminutive and soon to be millionaire caddie Eddie Lowery, who played such a significant role in Ouimet's victory, was also of Irish extraction, his parents John and Maria Lowery (née Curran) were Irish immigrants. There were other Irish-American's in the field including Mike Brady, Tom MacNamara and John J. McDermott but of even more significance was that Pat Doyle popped up as the professional of the Myopia Golf Club and snatching tenth place on 311, only seven strokes behind Ouimet, Vardon and Ray.

Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet and Ted Ray at Brookline

French Open Championship

The French championship was moved from Boulie to Chantilly which was then one of the longest courses in the world at 6,655 yards. Moran was on 162 at the half way mark eleven strokes behind the leader and would finish in 11th overall on 317, 13 strokes behind the eventual winner George Duncan and won 150 francs in the bargain. The course was so long that one writer suggested brassies were being used on average thirty times during a round. The Societe du Golf de Chantilly later apologised for making the course too long.

13-10-13, Chantilly, championnats de France de golf, MickaŽl Moran [joueur de golf] : [photographie de presse] / [Agence Rol]
13-10-13, Chantilly, championnats de France de golf, MickaŽl Moran [joueur de golf] : [photographie de presse] / [Agence Rol]
Source: gallica.bnf.fr

It was just over 100 miles north of Chantilly where Michael Moran would be finally laid to rest.

Sources:

Peter Ryde: Royal and Ancient Championship Records 1860-1980

The American Golfer October 1913 : [SEGL Library]

Francis Ouimet: A Game of Golf

Mark Frost: The Greatest Game Ever Played <click here>

Michael Riste: Just Call Me Mac, The Biography of A. Vernon Macan. Click here for British Columbia Golf House Society.

Publications:

Edward Ray: Inland Golf

Aleck Bauer: Hazards

 

 

 

 

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