Hailing from the Channel Islands, Harry Vardon was perhaps the most influential European golfer during his time. He lived between 1870 and 1939. Vardon did not only inspire many golfers through playing, but also via his instructional books. Harry popularised the Vardon Grip, which is also known as the overlapping grip. He tested major victories with both Haskell and Gutta-Percha golf balls.
Getting inspiration from his brother Tom, a successful professional golfer, Harry dived into the sport whilst he was a teenager and at age 20 he was already a professional golfer who showed all the signs of becoming a champion. In 1896 he recorded his first big win at the British Open, becoming the first player to play golf in knickers. On top of the knickers he wore a shirt, a buttoned jacket and a tie during the tournament – which then became Harry’s signature attire. Vardon’s cumbersome jacket did nothing to prevent this golf prodigy from executing smooth, free-swinging motions.
When Harry toured the United States in 1900, where he played at least 80 exhibition matches and won at least 70 of them, his stardom exploded. During that year he triumphed in the US Open, a tournament in which he would emerge a runner-up 20 years later.