Taylor romps to second Old Course victory
The first three places in the 1900 Open Championship were filled by players who would become famous as The Great Triumvirate, but the diminutive J.H. Taylor so outplayed his two more powerful rivals that it was virtually no contest as he raced clear for his second consecutive Open at St Andrews. At that time only two players other than Taylor had scored in the seventies in rounds of the Open over the Old Course. With his ability to punch or float approach shots into the huge greens allied to consistently good putting he put together rounds of 79-77-78-75 for an unprecedented total of 309, a score which bettered his own winning score of five years earlier by no less than 13 shots.
Harry Vardon, who had captured the previous two Opens at Prestwick and Sandwich, trailed in eight shots behind and James Braid, who was about to become the third member of the Great Triumvirate, was a further five strokes adrift after one of the regular bouts of three-putting which plagued his early career. Vardon and Taylor had been battling each other for Open honours since 1894, only Harold Hilton in 1897 at Hoylake breaking their domination of the championship.
Although the three members of the Triumvirate were born within a year of each other, Braid was a slow starter, finally developing a long and powerful game and overcoming his putting problems. It is believed that switching to a driver with a flatter lie gave him great additional length off the tee and by abandoning the cleek which he habitually used on the greens and adopting an aluminium-headed putter he transformed that part of his game as well. The 1900 Open at St Andrews heralded a decade of tremendous rivalry between these three great exponents of the game.