Open winner J.H. Taylor was always a worthy and
convincing champion. His smallest winning margin
was four strokes and twice he won by as many as
eight. Taylor was also runner-up on six
occasions, including four years in a row from
1904. Compared to the elegant Harry Vardon, his
friend and rival, Taylor was not a great stylist.
But his short, punchy swing was extremely
accurate and efficient. He had the perfect game
to cope with the windy conditions associated with
British links courses.
John Henry Taylor, who
was born in Northam, Devon, in March 1871, won
the first British Open to be staged outside
Scotland. His 1894 triumph came at St George's in
Kent. After leaving school at 11, he became a
caddie at Westward Ho! where, later, he worked as
a greenskeeper. Later he was appointed
professional/greenkeeper at Burnham in Somerset.
Taylor was a founder-member of the British PGA in
1901 and was non-playing captain of Britain &
Ireland's Ryder Cup winning team at Southport
& Ainsdale in 1933. He died in 1963 at the
grand old age of 91.
Taylor also had a
great opportunity to become the first, and so far
only, golfer to win six British Open titles.
After three rounds of the 1914 Championship at
Prestwick, he held a two-stroke lead over Vardon.
But in the final round Taylor slumped to an 83,
allowing Vardon to wear the crown with a 78. So
instead of Taylor holding a record sixth title,
the name of Vardon was written into the history
was a founder member of the PGA.
was not the most graceful of golfers but his
technique certainly is effective.