Harry Vardon (1870 – 1937)
Born in Grouville, Jersey, Channel Islands, Harry Vardon became one of the most famous golfers the game has seen and was known to say “Don’t play too much golf. Two rounds a day are plenty.”
He started out life as a gardener, but it was his ability on, not with, the green that made Vardon famous, and during his sporting career he won six Open Championships—a feat still unmatched.
Remembered as the leading member of golf’s “triumvirate”, he dominated the Open at the turn of the 20th century alongside J. H. Taylor and James Braid. Together, the three men won 16 of the 21 Open Championships between 1984 and 1914 and did much to establish golf as an international sport.
Despite the fact that the implements he played with were primitive by modern standards, he was the straightest player who ever lived. In one stretch, for example, he is reported to have played seven consecutive tournament rounds without once hitting the ball off the fairway. When he first visited the US at the turn of the century, his accuracy was so confounding that it nurtured the famous mythological story that Harry never liked to play the same course twice on the same day—on his afternoon round he would have to play out of the divot marks he had made that morning his first time around!
Vardon was known for his accurate drives and his introduction of the overlapping grip on the golf club. Although he did not invent the grip, he certainly popularized it. Known worldwide as the Vardon grip, it is still used by 70% of golfers.
Every year the Vardon trophy is awarded to the player on the PGA Tour with the lowest stroke average.