Ted Ray (golfer)

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Ted Ray
— Golfer —
Ray (right) with Harry Vardon (left)
and Francis Ouimet
Personal information
Full name Edward Rivers J. Ray
Nickname Ted
Born (1877-03-28)28 March 1877
Died 26 August 1943(1943-08-26) (aged 66)
Watford, England
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight 220 lb (100 kg; 16 st)
Nationality  Jersey
Turned professional c. 1895
Retired 1941
Professional wins 13
Best results in major championships
(wins: 2)
Masters Tournament DNP
U.S. Open Won: 1920
The Open Championship Won: 1912
PGA Championship DNP

Edward Rivers J. "Ted" Ray (28 March 1877 – 26 August 1943) was a British professional golfer. He won two major championships, The Open Championship in 1912 and the U.S. Open in 1920, and contended in many others during the early years of the 20th century. Ray was also a maker of fine golf clubs and was an excellent billiards player.

Early life

Born on the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel, Ray grew up idolising fellow islander Harry Vardon, who was seven years older than Ray. Vardon became the world's top golfer in the early 1890s, while Ray was working as a caddy and developing his own golf skills at the same Jersey course where Vardon learned the game. Ray was a tall, heftily-built man who was known worldwide for his prodigious power off the tee and through the set,[1] though his shots often landed in awful positions. In addition to his prowess on the golf course, he was also a fine billiards player.[2]

Golf career

Ray turned professional in his late teens, and took a position as a club professional at Churston Golf Club, Churston, Devon. He gradually developed his skill and reputation by participation in minor tournaments. During his time at Churston, he was encouraged by the club's committee to enter The Open Championships from 1900 to 1902, and was granted a week's leave of absence and five pounds for expenses each year. After leaving Churston, in 1903, he became the head professional at Ganton Golf Club, replacing the legendary Harry Vardon who had left to join the South Herts Golf Club. Later, he would take up the position of golf professional at Oxhey Golf Club near Watford in Hertfordshire from 1912 to 1941, when he retired due to illness. He was also a fine clubmaker and advertised his business while the professional at Oxhey. He specialized in the production of drivers, mashies, and niblicks.

Playing style

He favoured an attacking style, and had to develop phenomenal recovery skills. Cartoonists usually depicted him with a niblick in hand, festooned with clumps of heather and saplings, with an inseparable pipe clamped between his teeth. Ray was beloved by fans for his daring play, friendly, genial manner and optimistic spirit.

1913 U.S. Open

Ray was best known for participating in a playoff for the U.S. Open in 1913 with Vardon and Francis Ouimet, the winner. Ray's opening round of 79 was not particularly useful but he rebounded by carding a course record 70 in round two which electrified the gallery and got him back into contention.[1] He narrowly missed a 5-foot putt at the last that would have given him a 69.[1] His four cards for the tournament were 79-70-76-79=304.[3]

The 1913 U.S. Open was the subject of a 2005 Disney movie entitled, The Greatest Game Ever Played, based on author Mark Frost's 2002 book of the same name. Ray had joined Vardon on an extensive tour of North America, promoted and financed by English media baron Lord Northcliffe. The two stars travelled the continent for two months, partnering in exhibition matches against the top players in each area they visited. The tour was very successful, attracting large crowds who came out to watch the top British players challenge emerging local golf talent at a time when golf was entering a boom period of popularity, which was further stimulated by the tour. Vardon and Ray ended their tour at the 1913 U.S. Open.[4]

Major championships

Ray, while often overshadowed by Vardon, John Henry Taylor, and James Braid, the Great Triumvirate who dominated golf for 20 years, did have many professional successes of his own. He won The Open Championship at Muirfield in 1912,[3][5][6] and had many more near-misses in that event, with 11 more finishes in the top-10. He won the U.S. Open at Inverness in 1920.[3][6] That victory, at age 43, made Ray the oldest U.S. Open champion for 66 years, until Raymond Floyd, a few months older, won in 1986 (Julius Boros also won at age 43 in 1963; Floyd was passed by Hale Irwin in 1990 at age 45). Ray also finished runner-up three times, in 1903, 1911, and 1912, in the British PGA Matchplay Championship, a significant event.

Ryder Cup

Ray was player/captain for Great Britain during the "unofficial source event" for Ryder Cup competition at the East Course, Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, Surrey, Great Britain in 1926. He was again player/captain the next year, the first official Ryder Cup. Ray played in The Open Championship as late as age 60 in 1937.

Death and legacy

Ray died on 26 August 1943 in Watford, England.[7][8] He is remembered as one of England's all-time best golfers.[9]

Media depictions

Professional wins

A group photo of the 1903 English golf team prior to their international match against Scotland. Ray is seated front row, second from the right. J. H. Taylor and Tom Vardon are in the center of the front row, from left to right, respectively. Albert Tingey, Sr. is seated on the far right, front row. James Sherlock is standing in the back row on the far left.

Note: This list is incomplete

Major championships

Wins (2)

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner(s)-up
1912 The Open Championship 5 shot lead 71-73-76-75=295 4 strokes Jersey Harry Vardon
1920 U.S. Open 2 shot deficit +7 (74-73-73-75=295) 1 stroke United States Jack Burke, Sr., United States Leo Diegel,
Scotland United States Jock Hutchison, Jersey Harry Vardon

Results timeline

Ray played in only The Open Championship and the U.S. Open.

Tournament 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909
The Open Championship T16 13 T12 9 23 T12 T11 T8 T5 3 6
Tournament 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919
The Open Championship T5 T5 1 2 T10 NT NT NT NT NT
Tournament 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929
The Open Championship 3 T19 T46 T12 T32 T2 T30 T30 T33 T39
Tournament 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937
The Open Championship T24 CUT T56 DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT

NT = No tournament
DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Ray Two Strokes Away". New York Tribune. 19 September 1913. p. 10. Retrieved 7 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Oxhey Golf Club, Herts". golfsmissinglinks.co.uk. Retrieved 8 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Brenner, Morgan G. (2009). The Majors of Golf: Complete Results of the Open, the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship and the Masters, 1860-2008. 1. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-3360-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Frost, Mark (2002). The Greatest Game Ever Played. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 0-7868-6920-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "1912 Ted Ray". The Open. Retrieved 16 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Great Golf By Foulis". The New York Sun. 18 July 1896. Retrieved 10 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Death of Ted Ray". The Times. 30 August 1943. p. 2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/
  9. "Ted Ray, former British golf star, dies in London at 66". Reading Eagle. Associated Press. 29 August 1943. p. 11-sec 2. Retrieved 9 May 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Vaudeville News". Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections. Retrieved 9 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links