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A piece of golfing history has been gifted to Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club in Richmond in the form of the putter the great JH Taylor used to win his fifth Open Championship 110 years ago.
Taylor was the first club professional the south-west London venue ever had, so this particular piece of Open history is getting a good home at the course – which is celebrating its 131st birthday this year.
And in a nice full circle moment, Taylor used his putter to win the 1913 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool – where the Claret Jug will again be won this year.
The club has been gifted the putter by the former staff and pupils of defunct Essex school Buckhurst Hill County High School, where Taylor’s son Jack was once headmaster.
“We’re absolutely delighted to have been gifted the putter that we can showcase to our members and guests from around the world, especially on the eve of The Open Championship heading back to the place where the putter was used to win the famous Claret Jug trophy 110 years ago,” said Royal Mid-Surrey General Manager, Mark Gailey.
“We pass our heartfelt thanks to the Old Buckwellians Association, as Royal Mid-Surrey is a fitting place for the putter to call home just as John Henry did for 47 years as our first-ever Club Professional.”
The celebrated golf club plans to display the prized putter in the clubhouse in a special cabinet that draws attention to JH Taylor’s playing achievements more than a century ago and his unrivalled golfing legacy.
Made by renowned St Andrews club maker and R&A professional Willie Auchterlonie, the putter was reportedly given to Taylor on the eve of the 1913 tournament by Andrew Kirkaldy, the club professional at St Andrews at the time.
And Taylor took to it straight away – winning the 53rd Open by an incredible eight shots after high winds and rain affected the scoring at Hoylake with players struggling to break 80 on the final day.
He shot 73-75-77-79 for a 304 total ahead of defending champion Ted Ray to collect the Claret Jug and the winner’s £50 prize fund.
His victory was the 15th Open triumph for The Great Triumvirate of Taylor, Harry Vardon and James Braid each with five Opens to their name at the time, until Vardon collected a record sixth title the following year to make it 16 wins in 21 Open Championships for the legendary trio.
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Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website. Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.
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