56th Open - St Andrews 1921
Hometown hero wins... for America
Jock Hutchison became the first American citizen to win The Open at St Andrews in 1921. But it was also a home victory as Hutchison was born and bred in the town but immigrated to America prior to WWI. He had won the PGA Championship the previous year and travelled over early to re-familiarise himself with the Old Course. A 70 in the final round, the lowest score yet recorded in an Open on the Old, got him into a play-off with English amateur Roger Wethered. The Oxford undergraduate, the brother of future women’s star Joyce, had to cancel, after persuasion, his appearance in a cricket match the next day but it was the experienced professional who prevailed by nine strokes. Hutchison had rounds of 74 and 76 for a total of 150, while Wethered scored 77, 82 for 159. No British amateur has got as close to winning the Claret Jug since.
Hutchison’s victory, the second by a non-British player after Arnaud Massy in 1907, was not universally popular. One reason was his use for “ribbed” irons. They enabled him to get backspin even on the rock-hard greens but JH Taylor it was like “buying the shot out of a shop”. The R&A had already decided to ban the grooves but the new ruling would not come into effect until July 1 and Hutchison won on June 25.
There was no doubting the Champion’s pedigree, however. In his first round of 72 he holed in one at the eighth and almost did again at the ninth, his drive of around 300 yards hitting the lip of the hole and stopping three inches away. Bobby Jones made his debut in The Open but tore up his card after taking four to escape from Hill bunker in the 11th in the third round.
|2||Roger WETHERED (A)||GBR||78||75||72||71||296|