James Braid (1870 – 1950)
James Braid was a Scotsman from Earlsferry (not far from St. Andrews). He was a self-taught golfer, but he taught many others. He played down his own skill at the game, even though he was the first to establish a record of five British Open wins. He was a British National Champion, a clubmaker of some skill, a club professional for many years at various clubs, a course designer (nearly 350 of them), and a co-founder of the Professional Golfers Association of Britain.
James Braid was a fierce competitor, whether in stroke play, or in match play, in which he excelled. The name “Braid” in Scottish means “an attack” and that was what he did when he played the game. He set records and often won by margins akin to those of Tiger Woods today. It wasn’t uncommon for the golf correspondent covering a match play championship to report, “Braid is in the final! I believe there is someone else in it too!”
During his career he had to face the stiffest form of competition in Harry Vardon and J. H. Taylor, fondly known as The Great Triumvirate. These three British players won 16 of the 21 Open Championships between 1984 and 1914.