The Golf Tourney : The Company Team Social
You may have wondered if your golfing predecessor existed. Was there such a person who also thought up the concept of a golf tournament for an easy day off and a chance to beat the pants off your superior?
How did golf tournaments come about / what is their history? In 1860 eight professionals competed in a golf tournament at Prestwick in Scotland playing three 12-hole rounds of golf for the prize of a red leather belt. The idea for the prize was derived from medieval knights’ tournaments, and any player who could win this golfing tournament three years running would gain permanent possession of the belt. This event was eventually won by Willie Park and this served as the forerunner of the now famous British Open Golf Championship.
The early years of the championship was dominated by one ruffian named “Old Tom Morris” and his son appropriately named “Young Tom Morris”. Tom Morris Senior was one of the most prominent figureheads in the early development of the golfing sport. Mr. Morris Senior was well known as a golfing ball and club maker at the Prestwick and St. Andrews golfing centers. And as well later became influential in golf course architecture. As well Mr. Morris Sr. went on as an expert golfer to win the British Open championships in consecutively in 1861, 1862 and 1864.
The younger son Tom Morris was even more a more skillful and polished golfer winning the four British Opens unbelievably winning three tourneys in a row from 1868 to 1870 and thus claiming possession of the coveted red belt. Three years later the Claret Jug was introduced as the Open prize, and it remains so today.
Thus the Morris clan dominated the historic golf tournament site early on, but the Open Championship and British golf was yet to be surprised. The trio of the Great Triumvirate of Harry Vardon , John Henry Taylor and James Braid unbelievably won 16 golf tournament titles in the time period between 1894 and 1914 and even played second a combined total of 12 times.
Of the three players of the group Mr. Vardon had the most significant and long standing impact on the golfing scene and game beyond his great competitive spirit. Vardon’s exhibition tours – both at home in the Isles and abroad introduced golf and the golfing sport to millions of people who otherwise would have had no interest or introduction to the passion of golf. In a marker of merchandising and marketing trends to come Vardon even introduced his own line of the then currently used gutty golf balls called the “Vardon Flyer. Mr. Vardon can be appropriately credited as the first golf professional golfer to endorse commercial products. Shades of things to more than come.
Eventually Vardon conducted an extended tour in the U.S. in 1900 to promote the new ball and used the occasion to enter and play in the U.S. Open which he handily won at the Wheaton Golf Club located in Illinois. To show the British emphasis of the British golfing trio Mr. Vardon cleared two strokes ahead of his colleague in crime John Henry Taylor. Mr. Vardon and Taylor provided the distant early championship’s start. They provided instant interest and credibility. Much interest was created by Vardon being the creator of the famous and established Vardon golf grip. You may not have realized that this overlapping golf grip may well be a standard that you are employing without knowing or appreciating its historic origins.
In the end it all comes down to the quest of human competitiveness friendly or otherwise as a means to improve ones golf game or ego that resulted in our current passion for golf tournaments and events. Then again golfing tournaments may of begun as a way to justify time off of employment duties or to beat the pants off of one’s superior without too much apparent risk.