Vardon (9 May 1870 20 March 1937) (the "Stylist")
Harry Vardon was undoubtedly
the greatest golfer in the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries and one of the all-time greatest graced these shores
on many occasions including the first professional championship
at Portrush in 1895, Newcastle in 1898 and again in Portmarnock
in 1899 and 1910. Along with exhibition matches and course designs
he also came to Ireland to recover from his well-documented
illness, the so-called white plague (tuberculosis) which at
the time was near fatal. A list of the events in Ireland in
played are summarised below.
1895 - First Professional
Golf Tournament - Royal Portrush Golf Club
- Exhibition Match: Royal Belfast Golf Club, Carnalea
- Professional tournament - Royal County Down Golf Club
- Professional tournament - Portmarnock Golf Club
- Greenore Professional Golf Tournament
- Lord Lieutenant's Golfing Party - Portmarnock Golf Club
- Believed to have designed the Lisdoonvarna course while convalescing
from his illness in County Clare at the Thomond House Hotel
which was being opened as a sanitarium. On doctors orders Vardon
had already spent the first three months of the year in La Touquet,
France so it not really known if this was part of his recovery
process. On 10 July 1906 the Lord Lieutenant, who was staying
there together with his wife the Countess of Aberdeen, drove
on the links as a formal inauguration of the golf course and
was immediately followed by Harry Vardon.
- Exhibition match
Braid played a match against Harry Vardon on 23 May 1907 to
commemorate the opening of Malone's new eighteen holes. During
the practice round Braid shot a 71 to beat Harry Kidd's, the
club professional, course record of 72.
- Exhibition match - Cork Golf Club (David Brown, Lafolley and
John MacNamara). Originally he arrived in Douglas to lay out
their new course on 20 July 1909.
1909 - Exhibition
match - Delgany Golf Club vs Michael Moran (18 September)
1910 - Exhibition
match - Rosapenna Golf Club (George Duncan, Tom Ball and Sandy
Herd) 8-9 June
1910 - Irish Open
Professional Championship - 6-9 July 1910 Portmarnock Golf Club
1911 - Exhibition
matches - Royal County Down Golf Club, Malone Golf Club and
Holywood Golf Club
Vardon (75 course record - three better than Sandy Herd)
and Mr George Combe vs Mr Crichton and Alex Robertson, Vardon
and Combe won by 3 and 2 as Robertson wasn't at his best.
30 October: Lord Annesley and Vardon vs Mr D. W.
Smyth and M. Moran but match abandoned on the 12th due to
31 October: Vardon (78 winning 3 and 2) vs best ball
of Robertson, Coates and Martin
31 October: Vardon and Mr Robinson (won 2 and 1)
vs Moran and Mr Whyte.
1 November: Vardon (72) would team up with Patrick
O'Hare (won 3 and 2) against Michael Moran and A. Robertson
1 November: Vardon (76) would team up with Robertson
(won 6 and 5) against Michael Moran (pulling shots badly)
and Mr John Ball.
Vardon (75) (won 3 and 2) vs best ball of Ball and Cairnes
2 November: Vardon (won 3 and 1) vs Moran each lost
It is recorded in the
Royal County Down centenary book that.." he received
£15 for travelling and hotel expenses, plus £8
per day when playing with ordinary members and £10 per
day for exhibition matches. The total cost of the visit was
£80.13s.0d less £25 received from Malone and Bangor
Clubs.."for the use of Vardon for two days""
Vardon to play three-ball match at Malone Golf Club
AH Paterson and A.H. Craig (Vardon lost as his putting was
Vardon to play an exhibition match at Holywood
against Harold Reade and G B Long and got the better of
1927 - First Irish
Open Championship - Portmarnock Golf Club
1927 - Exhibition
match - Bundoran Golf Club (Easter) - Vardon had been engage
to help with the course design.
1927 - William Robinson
was a fine scratch golfer partner Harry Vardon in
a match against Alex Herd and John Hamill played at Bangor.
Vardon is considered
to have designed Bundoran, Douglas, Delgany, Dunfanaghy, Lisdoonvarna
In Easter 1927 Harry
Vardon was invited to play an exhibition match at Bundoran partnering
Jack Smith, an English professional, against Willie Nolan and
Holley. While the Holley/Nolan partnership lost by 3 and 2 the
approximate scores showed Holley played the best golf of the
fourball, his 71 was two shots better than Vardon and Smith
and three better than Nolan. Vardon was likely in his fifty-sixth
year at this stage and well past his prime but still managed
a very respectably score.