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Special tribute to Jersey golfing "pioneer"

Special tribute to Jersey golfing

Friday 17 September 2021

Special tribute to Jersey golfing "pioneer"

Friday 17 September 2021

An “influential” Jersey golfer who captained the British team at the first ever Ryder Cup is to be commemorated with a plaque this weekend.

A historic panel dedicated to Ted Ray, who won both the British Open Championship and US Opens, will be unveiled today at Windsor House in Gorey Village, where he was born.

Organised by Royal Jersey Golf Club member, Peter Vincenti, and funded by the club and Grouville Parish, the plaque will be unveiled at 11:00 by Helen Horton, the wife of late local golfer Tommy Horton.

Born in Grouville in 1877 as the son of an oyster trawler, Edward "Ted" Ray honed his golfing skills on the Grouville Links.

Ted Ray Tribute

Pictured: The plaque will be unveiled in Grouville, where Ray was born.

He turned professional aged 17, working first as a club-maker, before becoming a professional near St. Malo.

He then played 1899 Open Championship finished in a tie for 16th place, and later that year took a position as a club professional at Churston Golf Club in Devon.

In 1912, he won the Open Championship in Muirfield finishing four strokes ahead of fellow Jersey-born player, Harry Vardon - indeed, he played 29 successive Open Championships from 1899 to 1932.

One of the most famous games Ray was involved in was a play-off for the US Open in 1913 with Harry Vardon and US player, Francis Ouimet, who was the winner.

Though Ray was knocked out of this game, he still played an integral role in its story, which has now become something of a legend in sport.

Video: Ray is featured as a character in Disney film, 'The Greatest Game Ever Played.'

Indeed, a Disney film based on the game, 'The Greatest Game Ever Played', was made in 2005, with Ray played by British actor, Stephen Marcus.

He later went on to win the US Open at Inverness in 1920, which was his second appearance at the championship - he played once more at this championship in 1927.

Also in 1927, Ray took on the role of British captain (before the format was changed to a European team) at the first ever Ryder Cup in Worcester, Massachusetts, part of the reason for the timing of the new plaque.

Throughout his career, he racked up 46 professional wins.

He passed away on 26 August 1943 in Watford, England, having retired in 1940 due to ill health. A tribute in US newspaper Reading Eagle at the time named him as "one of the greats" of the sport.

Ted Ray

Pictured: Ted Ray won both at the US Opens and the British Open Championship. (Bibliothèque nationale de France/Wikipedia)

Mr Vincenti, the organiser of today's unveiling, explained that a week ahead of the Ryder Cup, it seemed appropriate to create a tribute to the first ever British captain, remarking that "the history of Ted Ray is very important to the whole island."

"And Ted Ray and Harry Vardon were pioneers in golf all over the world in the US and Britain, and the fact of the matter is they come from a small island like Jersey," he said.

He highlighted that with "the history of Ted Ray being in the shadows so to speak, he should be brought to the fore because he's as much an influence as Harry Vardon."

Constable John Le Maistre and Royal Golf Captain Phil Bolton will also be in attendance at today's ceremony.

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