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James Braid

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James Braid

James Braid hacks a ball out of thick rough at his home course of Walton Heath in 1922.

Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Among the members of Britain's "Great Triumvirate," James Braid was the one who reached five wins in the Open Championship first.

Date of birth: February 6, 1870
Place of birth: Earlsferry, Fife, Scotland
Date of death: November 27, 1950

Major Championships:

5
• British Open: 1901, 1905, 1906, 1908, 1910

Awards and Honors:

• Member, World Golf Hall of Fame

James Braid Biography:

James Braid, along with Harry Vardon and J.H. Taylor, formed Britain's "Great Triumvirate" of early 20th-century golfers. Vardon won six Open Championships and Braid and Taylor five each.

Braid took up the game as a young child and won his first local tournament at age 8. His game developed along with an interest in clubmaking, and in 1893 he took a position as clubmaker in London.

Braid turned pro in 1896. His play, prior to the turn of the century, was marked by long driving but inconsistent putting. While Vardon and Taylor were already winning Opens, Braid's putter kept him from breaking through.

He switched to an aluminum-headed putter in 1900 (from a wooden-headed model) and his putting improved. In 1901, he won his first British Open, and he won four more by 1910 - reaching five Open titles before either Vardon or Taylor.

Through 1911, Braid also won the British Professional Match Play four times and the French Open once. He retired from competitive golf in 1912, joining Walton Heath as its club professional. He remained at Walton Heath until his death.

Braid's great passion after his retirement was course design. It it estimated that he designed or re-designed more than 200 courses around Great Britain (fear of flying and motion sickness on boat rides prevented him from ever working in the U.S.). Among the courses he helped remodel are Carnoustie, Troon, Prestwick and Ballybunion.

Many of Braid's best courses were inland parkland tracks (as opposed to seaside links), and some of these courses contain great uses of the dogleg. Although dogleg holes existed well before Braid began designing courses, he was a popularizer of that type of hole.

Braid was a founding member of the British PGA and authored an instructional book entitled Advanced Golf.

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