Sandy Herd was not as famous as the Great Triumvirate but the man from St Andrews was a fine player over an incredibly long career and was described as “a character – independent, uncompromising and loveable”.
He often teamed up with James Braid in Scotland-England clashes against Harry Vardon and JH Taylor. He first played in The Open in 1885 and for the last time in 1933. He was a runner-up four times over 28 years but claimed the Claret Jug in 1902 at Hoylake by a stroke from Vardon and Braid.
He often had the unfortunate habit of following a really low round with a really high one. A 73 in the third gave him a three-stroke lead but for much of his career his temperament was suspect and he closed with an 81.
This time it turned out to be good enough. Vardon three-putted the last and although Braid charged home in 34 in an attempt to make up an eight-shot deficit, his putt to tie at the last just missed.
Herd’s victory popularised the new Haskell ball with a wound rubber core. It was said to give 20 extra yards compared to the old gutty but supplies were scarce in Britain at the time and Herd, like most, was sceptical until trying one out in a practice round with his friend John Ball, the Hoylake amateur, who had already adopted the ball.
Herd won the British Professional Matchplay aged 58 and still played tournaments to a high level at nearly 70. He was a very quick player, but still had time for several ferocious waggles of the club while standing over the ball. He claimed to have made 19 holes in one, including 13 at Coombe Hill, where he was the long-time professional. Younger brother Fred won the 1898 US Open.