In 1913, a 20-year-old amateur with a 10-year-old caddie stunned the legendary Harry Vardon and Ted Ray to win the U.S. Open in an 18-hole playoff at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
Now four of the irons used by Francis Ouimet in his surprising victory -- a mid-iron, mashie, mashie niblick and jigger -- have been acquired by the USGA and will be placed on display at the new Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History.
The USGA calls it the most significant acquisition in its 70-year history.
The mashie, the equivalent of a modern day five iron, was especially instrumental in Ouimet’s victory. On the 71st hole of the championship, Ouimet struck his mashie to within 15 feet and sunk the birdie to tie his formidable competitors and force the playoff. The next day, Ouimet again hit his approach shot with the mashie on the 17th hole, making birdie from 20 feet.
The young Ouimet carded an impressive 72 in a driving rain to win the playoff by five.
Over the nearly 85 years since the 1913 U.S. Open, the irons passed from Ouimet to Eddie Lowery (his boy caddie) to a friend of Lowery’s to a Connecticut couple who gave them to the USGA.
Ouimet's irons were made by Tom Stewart, a clubmaker in St. Andrews, Scotland, who also made clubs for golf legends Old Tom Morris, Harry Vardon and Bobby Jones.
As shown in the photograph, the USGA also possesses the ball and scorecard from the historic playoff.
The Armchair Golfer
(Source and photo: USGA)