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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 July, 2004, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
The Great Triumvirate and inter-war years
Harry Vardon won a record six times
Harry Vardon won six times

In 1894, the Open Championship moved south of the Scottish border for the first time and three golfing legends announced their arrival on the scene.

Held at Royal St George's in Kent, it was won by Englishman John Henry Taylor in only his second appearance at the event.

His victory ended Scottish domination of the tournament and heralded the emergence of a trio of players, collectively called the Great Triumvirate.

Made up of Taylor, compatriot Harry Vardon and Scotsman James Braid, the trio took the golfing world by storm.

In 21 championships between 1894 and the outbreak of war in 1914, they won no fewer than 16 times.

Vardon was the most successful and remains the only man to triumph six times at The Open, while Taylor and Braid won five apiece as the tournament continued to add new courses to the rota.

Only five other players claimed the title during this period. One of those to buck the trend was Frenchman Arnaud Massey, the competition's first overseas champion.

Walter Hagen
Four-time winner Walter Hagen signalled America's ascendance
But changes were afoot when the tournament resumed after World War I.

First of all, the six hosting clubs decided the event should be put in the hands of one controlling body, so the Open was put under the sole auspices of the Royal and Ancient.

There was also considerable widening of the course rota with Troon added in 1923, Royal Lytham in 1926, Carnoustie in 1931 and Prince's the following year. Although crowd chaos at Prestwick in 1925 saw the Open's original club finally retired.

But the most significant change was the shift in the balance of power across the Atlantic.

In 1921, the title was won by St Andrews-born Jock Hutchinson, who had become an American citizen.

From 1924 to 1933, every Open champion was American with wins for Gene Sarazen, James Barnes, Denny Shute and Tommy Armour.

But it was Walter Hagen and five-time US Amateur champion Bobby Jones who dominated, winning seven out of the nine Opens between 1922 and 1930.

The American onslaught was finally halted at Royal St George's in 1934 when three-time winner Henry Cotton clinched the first of six successive British victories.

But the end of World War II would see the transatlantic challenge return as well as a new contender from South Africa called Bobby Locke.





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