Golf World

The 18 Most Important Moments In Golf

Francis Ouimet's stunning 1913 U.S. Open victory over his heavily favored foes was followed by other important moments that have shaped the sport in the last century
Inside Golf World: Listen to a podcast on the project

February 2013
Francis Ouimet

The centennial of Francis Ouimet's victory in the 1913 U.S. Open, when the unheralded amateur upset British stars Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in a playoff at The Country Club, got us thinking. Ouimet's transcendent triumph, which captivated America and set it on a path to becoming a great golf nation, is clearly one of the game's seminal occasions. What, though, about other important moments that have shaped the American golf narrative since the cheering stopped that far-away September afternoon in Massachusetts? Narrowing our list was probably a tougher task than that of a golf architect who has a great piece of land and can build only 18 holes, but we did it. Our roster consists of fantastic shots, defining championships, amazing seasons and pivotal off-course developments all resonating long after they occurred.

-- Bill Fields

Francis Ouimet

A True Underdog Story (1913)

A former caddie, Francis Ouimet shocked the golf world by winning the 1913 U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline. More stunning was the way in which the 20-year-old won, taking down British stars Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in a playoff on the very course where he used to carry club members' golf bags. Instead, Ouimet had 10-year-old Eddie Lowery (pictured, to Ouimet's right) looping for him. The unlikely plot remains one of sport's all-time inspiring underdog stories and was chronicled in Mark Frost's book, "The Greatest Game Ever Played," which was later adapted for a 2007 Disney movie by the same title.
Photo: Courtesy of USGA Archives
Subscribe to Golf Digest
Subscribe to Golf Digest
Subscribe today