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BACK NEXT Chapter 5 Baptism of Fire Page 38

12-handicapper, best known in horse racing circles, as a very enthusiastic golfer who would often tee off before 8.30am attired in white cricket shirt and flannels that “looked as if they were only held up by a miracle”. He recalled that his partner, one of the world’s wealthiest men, never played for more than half a crown and never gave a putt. Harry “found it best not to beat him by too much, and not until the last hole!” but he still managed to save enough from his winnings and tips to buy a motorbike.
(In 1938 the Aga Khan was to be elected to the R&A).

Following my eventful introduction to the Open Championship there was plenty to talk about on our return trip to Birmingham and Jack Mitchley was not looking forward to ‘facing the music’. I never found out how he explained the damaged wheel, but it must have been convincing for his Dad never mentioned the incident to me and Jack still had use of the car.

My performance in the Midland Professional Championship qualified me for the News of the World £1040 Matchplay championship at Moor Park. I progressed to the 2nd round, before losing to Ryder Cup player Herbert Jolly. Another two Ryder Cup players contested the final, Henry Cotton, then at Langley Park in Kent and Alfred Perry, a powerful fair-haired player from Leatherhead. Perry had impressed at the previous year’s Roehampton Tournament where he had recorded two 68s; the course record before it was later lowered to 67 by my brother Charles. Cotton won the 36-hole match by 10 & 8. It was the first of three victories in the event for one of Britain’s greatest players. His winner’s L. G. Crawleycheque was three times bigger than the one received by Sarazan at Prince’s, although that was irrelevant to Henry; it was the Claret Jug that he wanted to get his hands on; The Open winner now received £100, but the News of the World had put their first prize up to £300 plus a ‘large gold medal’. For reaching the second round I received £10 and a ‘small silver medal’.

Great Britain and Ireland lost the seventh Walker Cup match that year by 9 ½ to 2 ½ and were still waiting for their first victory. The match was played in the USA at the Country Club, Brookline, referred to as the ‘Bear Pit’ in a book by European captain, Mark James, after the controversial Ryder Cup match played there in 1999.
The more gentlemanly encounter of 1932 saw the eventful debut of L. G. Crawley of Brancepeth Castle, who had been absent from the Open that year, having recently established the Warriston Prep School near Moffat in the Scottish borders and appointed himself headmaster. (His career as a golf correspondent began after the war.)

L. G. made a lasting mark on the Walker cup - He recorded the team’s solitary victory and put a dent in the trophy with his wayward approach at the 18th hole.


Gene Sarazen driving from the first tee at Prince's, watched by partner Bert Gadd and Sarazen's caddie - Skip Daniels