Golf fans might not immediately recognize Alex Harvey's name, but chances are they know his face ... or more appropriately his hands. For years, the Scotsman was caught by television cameras at the conclusion of the British Open, if only for a few seconds, huddled away near the 18th green, engraving the name of the "champion golfer of the year" on the claret jug as the championship's winner was decided. A fixture of the lone major championship held outside the U.S., Harvey died Dec. 18 at age 83 in his home in Perth, Scotland.
"It is always a time of great pressure between the end of the championship and the presentation, and Alex always kept his head when there was so much to do, even when I was losing mine," noted R&A chief executive Peter Dawson.
Prior to Harvey's employment by the R&A, winners of the claret jug were responsible for having their names engraved on the trophy. When 1967 champion Roberto de Vicenzo forgot to have it done, the R&A took the assignment in house. In 1973, the R&A brought Harvey, a one-time 8 handicapper, on site to engrave the champion's name at the immediate conclusion of the championship.
"Probably the most difficult name I ever had to tackle was Mark Calcavecchia at Troon [in 1989]," Harvey told reporters after he retired in 2005, passing the job down to his son Garry. "I made sure I checked that out a few times."
Fittingly when Harvey retired, the R&A gave him a replica of the claret jug as a gift.