Activities Sports & Athletics 1913 US Open: Ouimet's Unlikely Victory Spurs Growth of US Golf Share PINTEREST Email Print Francis Ouimet (middle) is flanked by Harry Vardon (left) and Ted Ray, his two opponents in the playoff at the 1913 US Open. Bettmann/Getty Images Sports & Athletics Golf Golf Tournaments Basics History Gear Golf Courses Famous Golfers Baseball Basketball Bicycling Billiards Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Cricket Extreme Sports Football Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Professional Wrestling Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Swimming & Diving Table Tennis Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Other Activities Learn More By Brent Kelley Brent Kelley is an award-winning sports journalist and golf expert with over 30 years in print and online journalism. our editorial process Brent Kelley Updated November 04, 2019 The 1913 U.S. Open is considered by many golf historians one of the most important developments in the history of golf in America - the most important development in the game's early history in the United States. That's because the tournament was won by a little-known amateur, a former caddie named Francis Ouimet, a native-born American who defeated two British titans in a playoff. So it was a David-vs.-Goliath(s) story that caught the public imagination. And Ouimet, being a former caddie - a "commoner" - showed that golf didn't have to be a game only for the wealthy and privileged. "Regular" people could enjoy the game, too. Golf enjoyed a huge growth spurt in America in the following years, and Ouimet's defeat of Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in a playoff to win the 1913 U.S. Open is given much of the credit for that. Ouimet was 20 years old. He had grown up near The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., and caddied at the club. That surely helped him, since The Country Club is where the 1913 U.S. Open was played. Ray and the legendary Vardon were on an exhibition tour of the United States, which is how they came to play in the U.S. Open (travel across the Atlantic for golf tournaments was very rare in these days). Vardon was favored over the field, and Vardon and Ray - and just about everyone else - were favored over Ouimet. Vardon shared the 36-hole lead with Ray two back and Ouimet four behind. Those three were tied for the lead following the third round. And in the final round - with his 10-year-old caddie, Eddie Lowery, in tow - Ouimet, against all expectations, matched Vardon and Ray again, and the trio ended 72 holes tied at 304. Ouimet forced his way into the playoff with a birdie on the 71st hole. In the playoff, Ouimet shot his best score of the week, a 72, to beat Vardon by five and Ray by six. Ray wasn't much of a factor in the playoff, but Vardon gave chase until late in the action. Ouimet's lead was only one stroke after 16, but a birdie on the 17th essentially sealed his unlikely victory. Ouimet went on to win two U.S. Amateur titles, remaining an amateur throughout his life. Two-time defending champion John McDermott finished eighth. Future 2-time U.S. Open winner and 11-time major champion Walter Hagen made his U.S. Open debut here, finishing tied for fourth. 1913 U.S. Open Golf Tournament Scores Results from the 1913 U.S. Open golf tournament played at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts (x-won playoff; a-amateur): x-a-Francis Ouimet 77-74-74-79--304 Harry Vardon 75-72-78-79--304 $300 Ted Ray 79-70-76-79--304 $150 Jim Barnes 74-76-78-79--307 $78 Walter Hagen 73-78-76-80--307 $78 Macdonald Smith 71-79-80-77--307 $78 Louis Tellier 76-76-79-76--307 $78 John McDermott 74-79-77-78--308 $50 Herbert Strong 75-74-82-79--310 $40 Pat Doyle 78-80-73-80--311 $30 a-W.C. Fownes Jr. 79-75-78-80--312 Elmer Loving 76-80-75-81--312 $20 Alex Campbell 77-80-76-80--313 Mike Brady 83-74-78-80--315 Matt Campbell 83-80-77-76--316 a-Fred Herreshoff 75-78-83-82--318 Jock Hutchison 77-76-80-85--318 Tom McNamara 73-86-75-84--318 Wilfred Reid 75-72-85-86--318 Alex Smith 82-75-82-79--318 a-Robert Andrews 83-73-83-80--319 Jack Croke 72-83-83-81--319 Charles Murray 80-80-80-79--319 Peter Robertson 79-80-78-82--319 George Sargent 75-76-79-89--319 Charles Thom 76-76-84-85--321 Jack Dowling 77-77-82-85--321 Bob Macdonald 80-79-84-79--322 a-Jerome Travers 78-78-81-85--322 Frank Belwood 79-83-80-81--323 James Donaldson 79-76-85-83--323 J.H. Taylor 81-80-78-84--323 Jack Hobens 78-79-84-83--324 Albert Murray 76-82-81-85--324 David Ogilvie 81-77-82-84--324 Herbert Barker 80-79-85-82--326 Alex Ross 71-80-93-82--326 Tom Anderson Jr. 82-83-82-80--327 Fred McLeod 80-85-82-80--327 Tom Vardon 85-78-79-85--327 John Shippen 81-73-87-87--328 James Thomson 80-80-84-84--328 Willie Maguire 85-80-82-82--329 Walter Fovargue 79-83-81-87--330 Karl Keffer 79-84-81-88--332 Joe Sylvester 81-81-87-83--332 George Cummings 81-79-88-86--334 Tom Bonnar 86-79-85-88--338 Robert Thomson 84-79-90-87--340 Back to list of U.S. Open Winners 1920 US Open: A Year of Comings and Goings Francis Ouimet Biography: The Amateur Who Energized American Golf 'The Greatest Game Ever Played' Tells Famous Underdog Golf Story 1962 US Open: 'The Big Guy Is Out of the Cage' 1994 US Open: Ernie Els Arrives on the Scene 1995 U.S. Open: Pavin Comes Through in the Clutch 12 Golfers Whose Only Tour Win Was the US Open U.S. Open Records Which Golfer Won the Most British Open Championships? 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