Ted Ray (golfer)
Ray (right) with Harry Vardon (left)
and Francis Ouimet
|Full name||Edward Rivers J. Ray|
6 April 1877|
|Died||26 August 1943
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight||220 lb (100 kg; 16 st)|
|Turned professional||c. 1895|
|Best results in major championships
|U.S. Open||Won: 1920|
|The Open Championship||Won: 1912|
Edward Rivers J. "Ted" Ray (6 April 1877 – 26 August 1943) was a British professional golfer. He won two major championships, The Open Championship in 1912 and the U.S. Open in 1920, and contended in many others during the early years of the 20th century. Ray was also a maker of fine golf clubs and was an excellent billiards player.
Born on the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel, Ray grew up idolising fellow islander Harry Vardon, who was seven years older than Ray. Vardon became the world's top golfer in the early 1890s, while Ray was working as a caddy and developing his own golf skills at the same Jersey course where Vardon learned the game. Ray was a tall, heftily-built man who was known worldwide for his prodigious power off the tee and through the set, though his shots often landed in awful positions. In addition to his prowess on the golf course, he was also a fine billiards player.
Ray turned professional in his late teens, and took a position as a club professional at Churston Golf Club, Churston, Devon. He gradually developed his skill and reputation by participation in minor tournaments. During his time at Churston, he was encouraged by the club's committee to enter The Open Championships from 1900 to 1902, and was granted a week's leave of absence and five pounds for expenses each year. After leaving Churston, in early 1903, he became the head professional at Ganton Golf Club, replacing the legendary Harry Vardon who had left to join the South Herts Golf Club. Later, he would take up the position of golf professional at Oxhey Golf Club near Watford in Hertfordshire from 1912 to 1941, when he retired due to illness. He was also a fine clubmaker and advertised his business while the professional at Oxhey. He specialized in the production of drivers, mashies, and niblicks.
He favoured an attacking style, and had to develop phenomenal recovery skills. Cartoonists usually depicted him with a niblick in hand, festooned with clumps of heather and saplings, with an inseparable pipe clamped between his teeth. Ray was beloved by fans for his daring play, friendly, genial manner and optimistic spirit.
1913 U.S. Open
Ray was best known for participating in a playoff for the U.S. Open in 1913 with Vardon and Francis Ouimet, the winner. Ray's opening round of 79 was not particularly useful but he rebounded by carding a course record 70 in round two which electrified the gallery and got him back into contention. He narrowly missed a 5-foot putt at the last that would have given him a 69. His four cards for the tournament were 79-70-76-79=304.
The 1913 U.S. Open was the subject of a 2005 Disney movie entitled, The Greatest Game Ever Played, based on author Mark Frost's 2002 book of the same name. Ray had joined Vardon on an extensive tour of North America, promoted and financed by English media baron Lord Northcliffe. The two stars travelled the continent for two months, partnering in exhibition matches against the top players in each area they visited. The tour was very successful, attracting large crowds who came out to watch the top British players challenge emerging local golf talent at a time when golf was entering a boom period of popularity, which was further stimulated by the tour. Vardon and Ray ended their tour at the 1913 U.S. Open.
Ray, while often overshadowed by Vardon, John Henry Taylor, and James Braid, the Great Triumvirate who dominated golf for 20 years, did have many professional successes of his own. He won The Open Championship at Muirfield in 1912, and had many more near-misses in that event, with 11 more finishes in the top-10. He won the U.S. Open at Inverness in 1920. That victory, at age 43, made Ray the oldest U.S. Open champion for 66 years, until Raymond Floyd, a few months older, won in 1986 (Julius Boros also won at age 43 in 1963; Floyd was passed by Hale Irwin in 1990 at age 45). Ray also finished runner-up three times, in 1903, 1911, and 1912, in the British PGA Matchplay Championship, a significant event.
Ray was player/captain for Great Britain during the "unofficial source event" for Ryder Cup competition at the East Course, Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, Surrey, Great Britain in 1926. He was again player/captain the next year, the first official Ryder Cup. Ray played in The Open Championship as late as age 60 in 1937.
Death and legacy
- Portrayed by English actor Stephen Marcus in director Bill Paxton's 2005 film The Greatest Game Ever Played.
Note: This list is incomplete
- 1903 Leeds Cup
- 1907 Leeds Cup
- 1910 Leeds Cup, Bramshot Cup
- 1911 Leeds Cup, Cruden Bay Professional Tournament
- 1912 The Open Championship
- 1913 Tooting Bec Cup
- 1919 Leeds Cup
- 1920 U.S. Open, Tooting Bec Cup
- 1923 Daily Mail Tournament
- 1924 Roehampton Invitation
|Year||Championship||54 holes||Winning score||Margin||Runner(s)-up|
|1912||The Open Championship||5 shot lead||71-73-76-75=295||4 strokes||Harry Vardon|
|1920||U.S. Open||2 shot deficit||+7 (74-73-73-75=295)||1 stroke|| Jack Burke Sr., Leo Diegel,
Jock Hutchison, Harry Vardon
|The Open Championship||T16||13||T12||9||23||T12||T11||T8||T5||3||6|
|The Open Championship||T5||T5||1||2||T10||NT||NT||NT||NT||NT|
|The Open Championship||3||T19||T46||T12||T32||T2||T30||T30||T33||T39|
|The Open Championship||T24||CUT||T56||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||CUT|
NT = No tournament
DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10
- England–Scotland Professional Match (representing England): 1903, 1904 (tie), 1905 (tie), 1906 (winners), 1907 (winners), 1909 (winners), 1910 (winners), 1912 (tie), 1913 (winners)
- Coronation Match (representing the Professionals): 1911 (winners)
- Great Britain vs USA (representing Great Britain): 1921 (winners), 1926 (winners, captain)
- Ryder Cup (representing Great Britain): 1927 (captain)
- Seniors vs Juniors (representing the Seniors): 1928 (winners)
Ted and his golf partner Harry Vardon in Vaudevillle News, 1920
- Extract From The Registry of Births of the Parish of Grouville 1871-1879 page 43 entry number 421
- "Ray Two Strokes Away". New York Tribune. 19 September 1913. p. 10. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- "Oxhey Golf Club, Herts". golfsmissinglinks.co.uk. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
- Brenner, Morgan G. (2009). The Majors of Golf: Complete Results of the Open, the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship and the Masters, 1860-2008. 1. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-3360-5.
- Frost, Mark (2002). The Greatest Game Ever Played. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 0-7868-6920-8.
- "1912 Ted Ray". The Open. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- "Great Golf By Foulis". The New York Sun. 18 July 1896. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
- "Death of Ted Ray". The Times. 30 August 1943. p. 2.
- "Ted Ray, former British golf star, dies in London at 66". Reading Eagle. Associated Press. 29 August 1943. p. 11-sec 2. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
- "Vaudeville News". Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections. Retrieved 9 July 2015.