Harry Vardon: Born, Died, Golf Hall of Fame, Quotes, Net Worth, Trophy

Harry Vardon Born, Died, Golf Hall of Fame, Quotes, Net Worth, Trophy
Written by Jon Snow


Full Name Henry William Vardon
Nickname (s) Harry
Profession (s) Golf Player

Personal Information

Date of Birth May 9, 1870
Day of Birth Monday
Place of Birth Grouville, Jersey, Channel Islands,
Nationality Jersey
Died 20 March 1937, Whetstone, London
Spouse Jessie Bryant (d. 1946)


Turned Professional 1890
Professional Wins 49

Money Factor

Harry Vardon’s Income / Salary:

  • Per Year: $100,000
  • Per Month: $8,333.33
  • Per Week: $1,923.08
Per Day: Per Hour: Per Minute: Per Second:
$273.97 $11.42 $0.19 $0
Total worth $5 Million

Lesser known facts about Harry Vardon

Early Life

  • Henry William “Harry” Vardon was born in Grouville, Jersey, Channel Islands.
  • His mother was French and father was English. Though he did not play much golf as a youngster, he reflected his natural flair for golf as a caddie in his teens.
  • Harry and his younger brother, Tom Vardon suffered some setbacks in their golf development due to poor family circumstances. Their father was also not very supportive of his sons’ golf interest.
  • Tom moved to Jersey to England to start off his career in golf and Harry followed suit in the spring of 1890. He took a job as a greenkeeper at the age of 20 at Studley Royal Golf Club, Ripon, Yorks.
  • Harry Vardon made it into golf as a caddie along with his brothers. He was only eight when he played his first golf and during this time, he, his brothers, and other boys made a course on their own. (Most of the holes were in the 50-yard-long range.)
  • He made his own clubs: the heads of oak, the faces covered with strips of tin, the shafts of blackthorn branches. The “balls” were marbles.
  • He also had a penchant for gardening and followed suit his father’s gardening work. In his very first job, he worked under a retired army officer who was a golf buff too. He gave Vardon his first set of real golf clubs.
  • A year later he became club professional at Bury Golf Club and in 1896 the club professional at Ganton Golf Club, in Yorkshire.
  • Harry Vardon became the first professional golfer to play in knickerbockers rejecting the archetypical “proper” dress of an Englishman playing golf in an uncomfortable shirt and tie with a buttoned jacket.

Vardon’s tryst with the game of Golf

  • It was in 1896 that 26-year-old Vardon won his first British Open title. He defeated J.H. Taylor by four strokes in a 36-hole playoff.
  • He aced his game and maintained his top position for the next 25 years. His competitive records have now been surpassed but it is said that one point he had won 14 straight tournaments in Great Britain.
  • He was not very good strong at Putting: “I think I know as well as anybody how not to do it,” he once said.
  • He was a phenomenal straight shooter in both the aspects of manner as well as with his golf clubs.
  • During his career, Vardon visited North American three times, in 1900, 1913, and 1920. In all those three trips he finished 1st, 2nd, and tie 2nd in the U.S. Open. He became the first international celebrity of golf in 1900 when he was visiting the United States and Canada.
  • John Henry Taylor, the 1900 Open Champion and member of the Great Triumvirate, also traveled to the USA on a mini-tour in 1900. Vardon had played in more than 90 matches and finished off in style with a victory in the U.S. Open, where he surpassed Taylor who was second.
  • Vardon wrote that while on this tour, he lost only two matches while playing head-to-head against a single opponent, and both were against the Boston professional Bernard (Ben) Nicholls, older brother of Gilbert Nicholls.
  • When a young Bobby Jones was paired with Vardon in a qualifying round for the 1920 U.S. Open. After Jones topped a simple pitch shot, he asked Vardon, “Did you ever see a worse shot in your life?” To which Vardon answered, simply and honestly, “No.”
  • Vardon who is sometimes called as “The Greyhound” is said to be the “father of modern-day golf swing”.
  • Harry Vardon was also the first in history to formulate a science of swing and worked out its mechanics so that others can understand it and ape the concept.
  • The famous golf grip named after him, “Vardon Grip” was not even invented by him. In this grip, the little finger of the lower hand on the club overlaps on the index finger of the opposite hand. But, definitely, made it popular among the masses.
  • Today, Vardon Grip is the most used grip by the golfers all over the world. Harry Vardon was also famous for his sharp accuracy which coupled it with considerable power. But it was the latter that was loved his Americal Audience.
  • Vardon has made a recollection in a book: “At that period, the Americans were not sufficiently advanced [in golf] to appreciate the finer points of the game. They did, however, appear to thoroughly enjoy the type of ball I drove. I hit it high for carrying, which resembled a home run.”
  • In 1900, during his tour of the United States, he traveled over 20,000 miles, going as far west as Chicago and throughout the South-eastern states. Except for a break to return home to defend his British Open title (he finished second), his 1900 tour extended through most of the year.
  • At each of his halt, he played the “best ball” of the best players of the town or an ace professional in the singles match. He lost only 13 out of 65 best-ball matches and dropped only one singles match.

Strings of Wins

  • Vardon has the feat of winning 1900 U.S. Open He survived by two strokes and outdistanced the closest call of the noted American professional, David Ball, by 10 shots. His tour of 1900 has won the credits for piquing the interest of US audience in golf.
  • At his next tour of the US in 1913, he was believed to a big factor substantially contributing to the interest in golf by Americans. But in he lost a competition on this tour.
  • In the same year, Vardon and Ted Ray were defeated in a playoff for the U.S. Open by a young, unknown American amateur named Francis Ouimet. Quimet’s victory was a huge popular because he defeated the great Harry Vardon and Ray.
  • During his spectacular golf career, Vardon 48 tournaments and 21 team events. He is a record holder because, at the time, these were the most titles won by a single player to that record in the history of golf.
  • He won the German Open in 1911 and the British PGA Matchplay Championship in 1912. Between 1898 and 1899 Vardon played in 17 tournaments, winning 14 and coming 2nd in the other three.
  • Later, he became a golf course architect and also designed numerous courses in Britain to the likes of Llandrindod Wells Golf Club, Woodhall Spa, and Radcliffe-on-Trent.
  • He suffered a bout of tuberculosis as a result of which he struggled with health problems for years. But then started coaching and writing golf instruction and inspirational books.

Later Years

  • He died of pleurisy or possibly lung cancer at the age of 66 in 1937, in London. He was interred in St. Andrew’s Church cemetery in Totteridge following a funeral service on 24 March.
  • In 1937, the year Vardon died, the PGA of America created the Vardon Trophy which currently awarded annually to the player on the PGA Tour with the year’s lowest adjusted scoring average.
  • The British PGA also created the Harry Vardon Trophy which now serves as the award for the winner of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
  • In 1974, Vardon was chosen as one of the initial group of inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame. The Jersey Museum has an assemblage of his most prestigious medals, including those from his six British Open Championships,
  • In 2000, the Golf Digest Magazine ranked him as the 13th best golfer of all times.
  • He was often called “The Stylist”, “Mr. Golf” and “The Icon of Golfing”.

Harry Vardon Quotes

  • “Do not be tempted to invest in a sample of each golfing invention as soon as it makes its appearance. If you do, you will only complicate and spoil your game – and encumber your locker with useless rubbish.”
  • “The most successful way to play golf is the easiest way.”
  • “Never concede the putt that beats you.”
  • “For this game you need, above all things, to be in a tranquil frame of mind.”
  • “The advent of the rubber ball was instrumental in creating an entirely different method of striking the object. The solid ball required to be hit for carrying, whereas it was quickly apparent that the Haskell lent itself to an enormous run. I hold the firm opinion that from this date the essential attitude towards accuracy was completely lost sight of. This was the start of the craze for length and still more length.”
  • “Even in our darkest hour we must remember; never despair.”
  • “No matter what happens, keep on hitting the ball.”
  • “Don’t play too much golf. Two rounds a day are plenty.”
  • “To play well you must feel tranquil and at peace. I have never been troubled by nerves in golf because I felt I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
  • “If your opponent is playing several shots in vain attempts to extricate himself from a bunker, do not stand near him and audibly count his strokes. It would be justifiable homicide if he wound up his pitiable exhibition by applying his niblick to your head.”
  • “Never saw one worth a damn.”
  • “A great deal of unnecessarily bad golf is played in this world.”
  • “Moderation is essential in all things, madam, but never in my life have I failed to beat a teetotaller.”
  • “Don’t praise your own good shots. Leave that function to your partner who, if a good sport, will not be slow in performing it.”
  • “More matches are lost through carelessness at the beginning than any other cause.
  • I’m the best and I’ll thank you to remember that.”
  • “Golfers find it a very trying matter to turn at the waist, more particularly if they have a lot of waists to turn.”
  • “There are many ways of performing the operations successfully. I can claim, however, to be in a position to explain how not to putt. I think I know as well as anybody how not to do it.”
  • “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Harry Vardon on Michael Jordan

  • “Golf is a good walk spoiled.”

Harry Vardon on Mark Twain

  • Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”

Harry Vardon on Henry David Thoreau

  • “It’s good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling.” Harry Vardon on Mark Twain
  • “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

Awards and Honours

Tournament Wins

(Singles: 48)

  • 1896 – The Open Championship, Pau Golf Club Invitational, Cleveland Golf Club Pro Tournament.
  • 1897- Wallasey Open, Southport Open.
  • 1898 -The Open Championship, Royal Musselburgh Open Prestwick St Nicholas Tournament, Windermere Invitational, Norbury Invitational, Carnoustie Pro Event, Earlsferry & Elie Professional Tournament, County Down Professional Tournament, Barton-on-Sea Invitational, Lytham St.Annes Professional Tournament.
  • 1899- The Open Championship, Cruden Bay Professional Tournament, Irish Championship Meeting Professional Tournament, Mid-Surrey Professional Meeting
  • 1900 – U.S. Open
  • 1901- Mid-Surrey Professional Tournament, Glamorganshire Golf Club Invitational.
  • 1902- Leeds Cup, Witley Court Invitational, Edzell Golf Club Open Meeting.
  • 1903 -The Open Championship, Richmond Golf Club Invitational, Enfield Golf Club Invitational, Western Gailes Invitational.
  • 1904 -The Irvine Golf Club Match Play.
  • 1905 – Montrose Open.
  • 1906 – Musselburgh Tournament, News of the World Matchplay Southern Section qualifying at Stanmore.
  • 1907- Blackpool Park Invitational.
  • 1908 – Nice International Tournament, Costebelle Club Invitational.
  • 1909 – St Andrews Tournament.
  • 1911 -The Open Championship, Tooting Bec Cup, Bramshot Cup, German Open.
  • 1912 – Cooden Beach Open, News of the World Match Play.
  • 1913 – Sphere and Tatler Foursomes Southern Section qualifying at Denham (tie with James Batley), US Open Qualifying Tournament.
  • 1914 – The Open Championship, Sphere and Tatler Foursomes Southern Section qualifying at Worplesdon, Cruden Bay Professional Tournament.

Foursomes (1)

  • 1913 Sphere and Tatler Foursomes Tournament (Eng) – (with Tom Willamson)

Team Events

He won team events from 1899 to 1928.

  • 1899 England vs Scotland International Foursome Vardon & John Ball vs Freddie Tait & Willie Park, Jr.
  • 1905 England vs Scotland International Foursome (144 holes match play) Vardon & J.H. Taylor vs James Braid & Sandy Herd.
  • 1906 England vs Scotland at Muirfield (Sco) – England won 12 – 6.
  • 1907 England vs Scotland at Hoylake (Eng) – England won 8 – 5 (3 halved).
  • 1908 Great Britain vs France at Cagnes (Fra) – Great Britain won 3 – 0.
  • 1909 England vs Scotland at Royal Cinque Ports (Eng) England won 11 – 4 (3 halved).
  • 1910 England vs Scotland at St Andrews (Sco) – England won 11 – 5 (2 halved).
  • 1911 Coronation Match (Eng) – Professionals beat Amateurs 8 – 1.
  • 1913 England vs Scotland at Hoylake (Eng) – England won 13 – 4 (1 halved).
  • 1914 International Charity Match (England vs Scotland) at Fulwell Golf Course (Eng) – England won 8 – 6 (4 halved).
  • 1920 England vs Scotland at Moray Golf Club (Sco) – England won 7 – 5 (1 halved).
  • 1921 Great Britain vs the USA at Gleneagles (Sco) – GB won 9 – 3 (3 halved).
  • 1928 Seniors vs Juniors at Verulam (Eng) – Seniors won 7 – 1 (2 halved).
  • 2017 Player of the Week Award.

About the author

Jon Snow

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