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Francis DeSales Ouimet (May 8, 1893 – September 3, 1967) was an Americanmarker golfer. He is widely known for winning the 1913 U.S. Open, and was the first Americanmarker elected Captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrewsmarker. He married Stella M. Sullivan on September 11, 1918, with whom he had two daughters: Jane Salvi and Barbara McLean.

Early life

Ouimet was born to Arthur and Mary Ouimet of Brookline, Massachusettsmarker. His father was a French-Canadian immigrant and his mother, was an Irish immigrant. When Francis was four years old, his family purchased a house on Cylde Street in Brookline, directly across from the 17th hole of The Country Club. The Ouimet family grew up poor and found themselves at the bottom of the economic ladder, which was hardly the position of any American golfer at the time. As far as the general public was concerned, golf was reserved for the wealthy, and Francis Ouimet was poor. Ouimet found a interest in golf at an early age and started caddying at The Country Club at the age of nine. Using clubs from his brother and balls he found around the course Ouimet taught himself the game. Soon enough his game caught the eye of many country club members and the caddie master. It wasn't long before Ouimet was the best high school golfer in the state. When he was a junior in high school, his father insisted Francis drop out and finally begin to do "something useful" with his life. He worked at a drygoods store before a stroke of good luck helped him land a job at a sporting goods store owned by the future Baseball Hall of Famer, George Wright.

Career

In 1913 Ouimet won the Massachusetts Amateur at the age of 20. Soon afterward he was asked personally by the president of the United States Golf Association, Robert Watson, if he would play in the nation's championship; the U.S. Open. The event was played at the course Ouimet knew best, The Country Club. He went on to win the 1913 U.S. Open over Britons, Harry Vardon and Ted Ray. Ouimet's victory after an 18-hole playoff against Vardon and Ray was widely hailed as a stunning upset over the strongly-favored Britons who were regarded as the top two golfers in the world. He was the first amateur to win the U.S. Open.


He also won the U.S. Amateur Championship twice, in 1914 and 1931. He played on the first eight Walker Cup Teams and was Captain of the next four for a team record of 11-1. In 1951 he became the first American elected Captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrewsmarker and in 1955 was the first-ever winner of the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf. Ouimet has been named to many golf Halls of Fame, and has a room named after him in the USGA Museum. His wish was to remain an amateur for his whole career: he decided before his U.S. Open success that he wanted to work in the world of business. However, in 1916, the USGA, in one of the most controversial decisions in their history, stripped Ouimet of his amateur status. Their reasoning was that he was using his celebrity to aid his own sports goods business, and was therefore making a living from golf. This was at the time when caddies were not allowed to continue caddying after they reached the age of sixteen years old unless they declared themselves professionals. The decision was greeted with uproar from Ouimet's fellow golfers. In 1918, Ouimet enlisted for the U.S. Army, and the USGA quietly reinstated his amateur status at the same time. He would go on to win his second U.S. Amateur Championship 13 years later in 1931. He did not bear a grudge against the Association, and served on several committees. Ouimet was also a golf member of Charles River Country Club, in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, but was a member of the Woodland Golf Club of Auburndale, Massachusettsmarker, when he won the U.S. Open in 1913.


Tournament wins (19)



Professional and amateur majors shown in bold.

Major championships

Professional wins (1)

Year Championship 54 Holes Winning Score Margin Runner(s)-up
1913 U.S. Open Tied for lead +8 (77-74-74-79=304) Playoff 1 Harry Vardon, Ted Ray
1 Defeated Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in an 18-hole playoff - Ouimet 72, Vardon 77, Ray 78

Amateur wins (2)

Year Championship Winning Score Runner-up
1914 U.S. Amateur 6 & 5 Jerome Travers
1931 U.S. Amateur 6 & 5 Jack Westland


Results timeline

As an amateur, Ouimet could not play in the PGA Championship.

Tournament 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919
Masters Tournamentmarker NYF NYF NYF NYF NYF NYF NYF NYF NYF NYF
U.S. Open DNP DNP DNP 1 T5 T35 DNP NT NT T18
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP T56 NT NT NT NT NT
U.S. Amateur DNQ DNQ DNQ R16 1 R16 DNP NT NT QF
The Amateur Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP R64 NT NT NT NT NT
Tournament 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929
Masters Tournamentmarker NYF NYF NYF NYF NYF NYF NYF NYF NYF NYF
U.S. Open DNP DNP DNP T29 DNP T3 DNP DNP DNP DNP
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
U.S. Amateur 2 R16 R16 SF SF DNQ SF SF R32 SF
The Amateur Championship DNP R128 DNP SF DNP DNP R64 DNP DNP DNP
Tournament 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941
Masters Tournamentmarker NYF NYF NYF NYF DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
U.S. Open DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP NT NT
U.S. Amateur R32 1 SF DNP R256 R256 R64 WD DNP DNQ DNQ DNP
The Amateur Championship R256 DNP DNP DNP R512 DNP DNP DNP R64 DNP NT NT


NYF = Tournament not yet founded

NT = No tournament

DNP = Did not play

WD = Withdrew

"T" indicates a tie for a place

DNQ = Did not qualify for match play portion

R256, R128, R64, R32, R16, QF, SF = Round in which player lost in match play

Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10

Source for U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur: USGA Championship Database

Effect on U.S. golf

Ouimet's U.S. Open success is credited for bringing golf into the American sporting mainstream. Before his surprising win over Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, golf was dominated by British players. In America, the sport was restricted to players with access to private facilities—there were very few public courses (the first, Van Cortlandt Golf Course in The Bronx borough of New York City, had opened in 1895). Ten years after his 1913 victory the number of American players had tripled and many new courses had been built, including numerous public ones.

Depictions

In 1988, a portrait of Ouimet appeared on a commemorative 25 cent United States Postal Service postage stamp in his honor.

In 2002, Mark Frost wrote a biographical account of Ouimet's U.S. Open victory titled The Greatest Game Ever Played: Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet, and the Birth of Modern Golf. Shortly afterward, Frost was tapped by Walt Disney Studios to write a motion picture adaptation. The Greatest Game Ever Played was released in theaters in 2005. The film starred Shia LaBeouf as Ouimet, was directed by Bill Paxton, and produced by Larry Brezner.

Appearing on the cover of The Greatest Game is a photograph of Ouimet at the U.S. Open with his ten-year-old caddy, Eddie Lowery. This iconic image is one of the best known in American golf, and was used as the logo for the United States Golf Association's Centennial celebrations. A statue of Ouimet and Lowery based on the photograph stands in Brookline, Massachusetts.

References

  • Gibson, Nevin H. The Encyclopedia of Golf (A.S. Barnes & Company, 1958)
  • Frost, Mark The Greatest Game Ever Played: Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet, and the Birth of Modern Golf (Hyperion, 2002)


Notes

  1. http://massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=272
  2. http://www.massmoments.com/moment.cfm?mid=272
  3. Frost, Mark The Greatest Game Ever Played: Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet, and the Birth of Modern Golf (Hyperion, 2002)
  4. http://www.hickoksports.com/biograph/ouimetfrancis.shtml Ouimet, Francis D.
  5. Scott catalog # 2377.


External links




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