Doughtie Sr on Golf (May 2013)

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Willie Park Jr.

During the week of the TPC at Sawgrass,Florida,beginning May,Golf's Hall of Fame inducted 5 new members;Fred Couples and Ken Venturi of the US and 3 Scots. Colin Montgomerie,former European Tour Director,Ken Schofield and Willie Park Jr,who passed away in 1925.

Although St Andrews and North Berwick,got most of credit for the early developement of the sport,with the Morris,Strath and Anderson families getting all the headlines,Musselburgh,a few miles east of Edinburgh produced it's own golfing dynasty,who were to have a great global effect on the sports diaspora.

Old Willie Park(also known as Willie Park Sr)developed his game on the links at Musselburgh,where golf has been played since the 16th century,making it the oldest course in the world,where the sport is still played at it's original location.He won the inaugural British Open at Prestwick in 1860 and triumphed again at the same location in 1863 and 1866,achieving runner-up spots in 1861,62,65 and 67.A 3rd place in 1868 completed a remarkable decade,before a further victory in 1875.

His younger brother Mungo,won in 1874.

In 1864 Willie Jr was born,the 2nd of 10 children.After learning his trade as a caddie,he took a post of Asst Pro with his uncle and at 16 years old made his British Open debut,finishing 15th,one shot behind his father.He took the Open Championship title in 1887 and again in 1889 at his home course.Three top 10 finishes were gained before a runners-up badge in 1898.In 1910 at St Andrews, at 46 years old, he made his last apprearance,50 years after father's 1st success.In all he has 12 top 10 finishes.

As Willie Sr's health deteriorated,Young Willie took over the family business,which had expaneded to club making and course design.A branch was established in New York in 1895 and regular TransAtlantic voyages followed.On one such trip,Willie entered for the 1896 US Open at Shinnecock Hills as firm favourite.Fortunately for James Foulis formerly of St Andrews G.C.his liner arrived after the tournament had ended.

He designed the first cleeks(irons) with concave faces to give some spin and developed the first ever recovery club, known then as a "lifter".Course design or alteration in which he was involved totalled 167,including 43 in the US and 11 on Continental Europe,of which Royal Antwerp is one.Willie became the first golf pro to write a book on golf,having published "The Game of Golf"and "The Art of Putting".

There is no doubt,due to the tremendous affect Willie Park Jr had on the developement of golf ,prior to his death in 1925,he fully deserved his late inducement to The Hall of Fame.

 

 

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