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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 238
T HIS week in 1951, Francis Ouimet became the first American chosen to captain The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. Dubbed the “Father of Amateur Golf”, Ouimet planted the flag for modern golf in America when he won the 1913 US Open as an amateur with a 10-year-old caddie, Eddie Lowery. Ouimet grew up in a time where golf was dominated by Britain and reserved almost exclusively for the wealthy – it wasn’t for the likes of him, the son of a French- Canadian immigrant. Ouimet’s victory was ultimately what made golf popular in America. Hundreds of courses were built in the ensuing years, and hundreds of thousands of people took up the game. A 20-year-old American amateur, whose only way onto a golf course was as a caddie, had defeated golfing royalty – Britain’s Harry Vardon and Ted Ray – at The Country Club at Brookline. All of this at The Country Club – a course he’d long admired from his bedroom window. “He was Christopher Columbus – he planted the flag,” author of The Greatest Game Ever Played, Mark Frost said. “Every player who came after him was in some way... the sons of Francis.” Less than 40 years later, Ouimet, who never turned professional, was asked to become the first non-British captain of the R&A, a club that had previously been led by five members of the royal family. The then 57-year-old drove himself into office this week in 1951, which is an ancient ritual you can learn about in the video below. E it happened this week in... 1951 • The R&A, USGA, Royal Canadian Golf Association and Australian Golf Union complete the first uniform code for the Rules of Golf. But the debate over the ‘correct’ size of the golf ball continues. • Legendary Baseball player Mickey Mantle hits his first home run. The New York Yankee records a further 535 in his illustrious career. • Prime Minister Robert Menzies returns to office after winning the federal election. • Australian forces in Korea halt the Chinese advance at Kapyong. 94 Australians of the 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment are either killed, wounded or captured at the Battle of Kapyong. Also making news this week in 1951 THE FIRST AMERICAN TO CAPTAIN THE R&A VIDEO: OUIMET DRIVES HIMSELF INTO OFFICE WORDS BY MICHAEL JONES
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