Harry Vardon (9th May 1870 – 20th March 1937) was a Jersey professional golfer and a member of the fabled Great Triumvirate of golf which included John Henry Taylor and James Braid.
He won The Open Championship a record six times and also won the US Open. Born in Grouville on the Island of Jersey, as a child he did not play much golf. However, inspired by his older brother Tom, he eventually took up the game and by the age of 20 was so good that he turned professional. He was the first professional to play in Knickerbockers - the proper Englishman played in a jacket with shirt and tie - but it did him no harm for within a few years he had become golf’s first superstar. In 1896 Vardon won the first of his six Open Championships a record that still stands today.
In 1900 he became golf’s first international celebrity when he toured the United States playing in more than eighty matches and capping it off with victory in the US Open. He was the runner up in the 1913 US Open, an event portrayed in the film The Greatest Game Ever Played. In 1920, at the age of 50, he repeated the feat. During his career Vardon won 62 golf tournaments, including one run of fourteen in a row. He won the German Open in 1911 and the British PGA Matchplay Championship in 1912. He popularised the grip that bears his name one still used by over ninety percent of golfers.
In his later years he became a golf course architect designing several courses in Britain of which South Staffordshire Golf Club is one. Following a bout of tuberculosis he struggled with health problems for years but still found time to coach and write golf instruction books. His game was noted for its exceptional accuracy and control with all clubs though his comeback following illness was blighted by putting yips Several commentators have said that were it not for his putting frailties he would have secured far more major championships.
Vardon died in 1937 in Totteridge, Hertfordshire. In the aftermath the PGA of America created the Vardon Trophy to be awarded annually to the player on the PGA Tour with the year’s lowest adjusted scoring average. In the annals of golf he is considered one of the greats of the game. His most prestigious medals, including his six Open Championships are on display at the Jersey Museum.