Ted Ray was a huge, lumbering man who had a pipe permanently clenched between his teeth and a trilby hat firmly stuck on his head. Neither moved as he swung ferociously at the ball, his swing described as like the “lurching charge of a Cape buffalo”.
Attack was all he knew. Once asked how to gain greater distance, his answer was a simple: “Hit it a bloody sight harder.”
He grew up in the same village, Grouville, on Jersey as Harry Vardon and eventually followed him into the professional life in England, succeeding Vardon as the pro at Ganton. Later he spent many years at Oxhey. In Hertfordshire. He was a high finisher in The Open for years but sneaking a win while the Great Triumvirate were at the top of their game was never easy.
His victory came in 1912 at Muirfield, which had been lengthened to a massive 6,425 yards. Ray became the first Champion to lead outright after every round since The Open had been extended to 72 holes. Rory McIlroy became the seventh to do so in 2014.
Ray led by one from George Duncan after an opening 71, had a 73 to lead by three from Vardon, then a 76 to be five ahead of James Braid and closed with a 75 to win by four from Vardon and eight from Braid. Despite his great weight, he was hoisted high by supporters as he was paraded off in triumph.
The following year he and Vardon lost in a play-off for the US Open to the unknown amateur Francis Ouimet at Brookline but in 1920 Ray joined Vardon as a winner of both transatlantic Opens, beating Vardon among others by one at Inverness. A fast player, he did not approve of deliberating at length. “To think when we ought to play is madness,” he said.