Francis Ouimet

Francis-Ouimet

Born: May 8th 1893 in Brookline, Massachusetts
Died: September 2nd, 1967 (at age 74) in Newton, Massachusetts
Nationality: American
Famous For: Considered the “Father of Amateur Golf”
Awards: Bob Jones Award

Francis Ouimet was born on May 8th, 1893 in Massachusetts. The son of a French-Canadian father and an Irish mother, Francis Ouimet was born in the lowest echelons of the American society. Ouimet was the pioneer of the U.S. golf scene. In the 20th Century, the game of golf was dominated by the Scots and the British. In the 1913 U.S. Open, the great Harry Vardon and his English compatriot Ted Ray were shocked by Ouimet. Francis Ouimet, an unknown 20-year old amateur, tied the two Britons.

His amazing performance captured the imagination of golf fans the world over, sweeping away the perception that golf was the game for the wealthy and the elite. Francis Ouimet was an American hero, and he remains among the most beloved figures in the sport’s history.

His Childhood

Ouimet was brought up in Brookline, Massachusetts. At an early age he learned the game of golf with an old club his older brother Wilfred had obtained as a caddy. Ouimet and his brother built 3 makeshift holes in their yard. At age 11, Ouimet started caddying at the country club, and by his later teens, he started making a name for himself in various tournaments. When he won the Massachusetts State Amateur Championship in 1913, he was motivated to take part in a National Open.

Popularity and Success

Francis Ouimet’s 1913 U.S. Open success gave the game of golf an impetus in the U.S. that has accelerated since then. His achievements extended beyond just that single event. Ouimet won the U.S. Amateur in 1914. He also won the French Amateur in 1931. He was part of the U.S. Walker Cup squad from 1922 to 1936 and was the non-playing skipper from 1936 to 1949. He was elected captain of St. Andrews’ Royal and Ancient Golf Club in 1951. He was the first American and the first non-English to receive this honor.

Other Highlights

Ouimet is among the most respect players in history. He has been named to each golf Hall of Fame. He is also one of 4 golf players to have a United States Commemorative stamp offered in his name. Also, the U.S. Senior Open Trophy was named after this world renowned golfer. The 1963 as well as 1988 U.S. Open Championships commemorated the 50th and 75th anniversaries of his spectacular U.S. Open victory. Recently, the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund created a Francis Ouimet Award for a Lifelong Contributions to Golf.

The story of Frances Ouimet is one related to the development of golf in American. While Ouimet would never acknowledge it, it would not be an exaggeration to say that without Ouimet, the game of golf in America may never have become what it is. He died on September 2nd, 1967. Gone but not forgotten, Francis Ouimet’s legacy can still be seen in most of the finer facets of the game he loved.