Rules Throwback: Ouimet and 1913 U.S. Open Playoff June 2, 2016

Francis Ouimet (back) and 10-year-old caddie Eddie Lowery became national heroes by winning the 1913 U.S. Open at The Country Club. (USGA Archives) 

The 1913 U.S. Open Championship was famously won by amateur Francis Ouimet over British stalwarts Harry Vardon and Ted Ray at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.

On the fifth hole of the 18-hole playoff, Ouimet hit his second shot out of bounds. At the time, the Rules of Golf called only for a penalty of distance rather than the penalty of stroke and distance that is used today.

Ouimet dropped a ball, played his third shot and ended up making a 5, the same score as Vardon and Ray. This was early in the round, but was a pivotal moment where Ouimet might have faltered and lost ground.

He ended up winning by five strokes over Vardon and six strokes over Ray, and became the first amateur to win the U.S. Open – four amateurs have since won, including four victories by Bob Jones.

You will also notice that the score card was signed only by the marker, Bernard Darwin. When Ouimet was victorious, it was not required that both marker and player sign the score card as it is today. The Rules of Golf are constantly evolving, as highlighted by these two examples from the 1913 U.S. Open.

Francis Ouimet's score card from the 1913 U.S. Open playoff. (USGA Archives)

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