Francis Ouimet opened the eyes of the world about golf (via Daily Mail).
Francis Ouimet lived in a house across the street from the 17th hole at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
His family was poor, and he began to caddy in order to earn some money. During that time, he taught himself to play and become the best high school golfer in Massachusetts.
In his first-ever appearance in the U.S. Open, Ouimet put on a spectacular performance, hanging with the best professionals in the game—specifically Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, with whom he found himself tied after 72 holes.
In sloppy, rainy conditions the next day, Ouimet, defying all odds, knocked in a 15-foot birdie putt on 17 to clinch the title. The victory marked the first time an amateur had won the U.S. Open.
The Historical Significance
Ouimet’s victory, along with his continued success in the game, eventually earned him the name of “Father of American Golf.”
When he won the U.S. Open in 1913, only about 350,000 Americans played golf, which was then considered elitist. In the next decade, the number grew to an estimated two million.