Harry Vardon, the man that made the overlap grip famous known as the “Vardon Grip” and author of such well-known books as “The Complete Golfer.” But Vardon is best known as the most prolific golfer of the early 20th century and possibly of all time. What made this man so dominant in his era as well as arguably the best golfer in history?
Vardon’s first major win came at The Open in 1896. Exactly one century later in 1996, Tiger Woods turned pro. Ironic? Maybe even a little eerie… but one thing is certain. Vardon possessed many of the same dominating traits seen by Woods today. The seemingly endless supply of power coupled with uncanny accuracy, made both these players fierce competitors that seemed unbeatable at times. The game may be different when Vardon played in the early 20th century, but they both share many of the same attributes that all great champions posses.
Vardon won an impressive seven majors that stretched from 1896 to 1914. After winning the Open in 1896, 1898 and 1899, Vardon sailed over to the United States in 1900 to claim victory in the U.S. Open over J.H. Taylor. Yes I said sail… there were no luxury jets and 5 Star hotels back in those days, which makes Vardon’s career that much more impressive.
Many say Vardon’s career would have been even more dominant if not for Tuberculosis that stuck in 1903 and left him with significantly compromised health in the years that followed. The disease gave him obvious bouts with the “shakes” that could be seen in his putting especially. Vardon did rebound but probably never realized his true potential because of the disease. Nevertheless, Vardon was runner up in the United States Open in 1920 at age 50, which considering he had suffered with Tuberculous for years, was truly an incredible feat!
Vardon gave golfing fans many years of outstanding play. But perhaps the biggest legacy he left behind was something called the “Vardon Grip” otherwise known as the Overlap Grip, used by some 90% of golfers today. He may not have invented it but he’s the one that made it famous. He also authored many great golf books such as “The Complete Golfer” and “Gist of Golf” both true golf classics.
Harry Vardon’s legacy was one few athletes ever see. A legacy that is still used to measure golf standards today. Often referred to “Mr.Golf” and “The Icon of Golfing”, Mr. Vardon will be remembered as an all-time great.