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Biography of Ted Ray, Golf’s Original "Bomb and Gauger"

If you watched “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” a recent Disney movie about the victory by the young and unknown Francis Ouimet in the US Open over the greatest professional golfers in the world, you may have noticed and enjoyed the character of Ted Ray. He was portrayed as a giant man and long hitter that joined in the playoff with Harry Vardon against Francis Ouimet.

How much poetic license did Disney take with this early “giant” of golf? What did he have in common with the “bomb and gauge” style-play currently seen on the pro golf tours? Read on to learn more about Ted Ray, the original “John Daly” of golf.

Timeline of Ted Ray, Professional Golfer

1877 Born Edward R. G. Ray on March 28 in the Channel Island of Jersey in the United Kingdom, like his friend and contemporary, Harry Vardon

Random Fact – Ted was not known as a good swing teacher which was ironic given his longstanding position with the Oxney golf club. His usual advice for the golfer looking to improve their drives was to “‘it ‘em ‘ard, mate, like I do.” His follow-up advice if his previous suggestion did not work was, “Well, then, ‘it ‘em ‘arder.” End of lesson.

1903 Became a professional with the Ganton Golf Club in Yorkshire. We was appointed to succeed his friend Harry Vardon there when he left for a position with the South Herts Golf Club at Totteridge.

Random Fact – Good friends with Harry Vardon who joined him often in a tankard of beer

1912 won the British Open Championship at Muirfield
appointed professional of the Oxney Golf Club near Watford in Herrfordshire at its formation

Random Fact – Loved playful arguments and would often start them without reason, driving home his arguments with an admonitory forefinger or by shaking his pipe at his “adversary”.

1913 tied for first place in the United States Open Championship with his friend Harry Vardon and Francis Ouimet. Francis won the 18 hole playoff in improbable fashion and the feat was portrayed in the Disney Movie, The Greatest Game Ever Played.

Random Fact – Ray stood well over six feet, was large in proportion, and very strong

1920 Won the US Open Championship the first time it was played at the Inverness Club, in Toledo, Ohio

Random Fact – Had a rather unorthodox swing that was long and slow while his body stayed relatively immoble. He had an odd finish to his swing, where his right foot would be planted on the ground, while his left foot hung in the air. Of course through the impact zone, his position was completely orthodox. Golf swings like his inspired current golf videos like AJ’s “The Truth About Golf.”

1921 Played for Great Britain versus the United States

Random Fact – One of the Original “Bombers” of the golf ball, Ted had prodigious drives and was one of the longest drivers of his time.

1925 Runner up to the (British) Open Championship along with Archie Compston, at Prestwick

Random Fact – Ted’s length of the tee was tempered by his frequentn drives into the deep rough. However, Ted had incredible powers of recovery with his niblick from seemingly impossible lies that had to be seen to be believed. Mr. Ray would often dissapear from view into the trees to retrieve his ball. After some muttering, a sudden crash and explosion of tree branches, his ball would be seen on the green. He would come of the trees sans hat, but he always kept his pipe firmly in mouth. His combination of brute strength, fallibility with accuracy, and subsequent eye-popping recoveries appealed to the spectators, both in America and the British Isles. That style of play still does endear PGA Tour players to fans.

1926 Played for Great Britain versus the United States

Random Fact – Ted was also an excellent putter with a delicate touch. His deft touch also applied to billiards.

1927 Captained Geat Britain in the first Ryder Cup

Random Fact – Often caricatured by the media with his plus-fours, niblick in hand, pipe in mouth, and hat firmly crammed on his head.

1941 Retired from his position after 29 years with the Oxney golf club due to ill health

Random Fact – Ted was loved by many, and was known for being entirely straightforward in all his dealings

1943 Died, August 26th, 1943 and was buried n the Watford Parish Churchyard
DVD Movie Poster Original Book Soundtrack

 

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