Jack White (1873 - 2023) The first CaddiePlayer?
Jack White won The Open at Royal St George’s in 1904... and according to our research is the "Best Overall Golfer Ever".
He was the first golfer to break the 300 barriers as a total for four rounds of eighteen holes, with scores of 80, 75, 72 and 69, for a total of 296. Each round was consecutively lower, another milestone. The format for the 1904 competition had been changed to a three-day event, with one round on the first two days, followed by two rounds on the final day. There was a total of 144 competitors for the event that year.
Highlights of the tournament at Sandwich were Harry Vardon leading at the halfway point following rounds of 76 and 73, despite recovering from a serious illness. He had a life-threatening bout of phenomena and was still tremendously weak.
James Braid shot a 69 in the third round, an eighteen-hole score never previously achieved in The Open Championship. Jack White then matched that score in his final round to set the lead at a total of 296. Both Braid and JH Taylor had the chance to tie White, but unfortunately Braid mistakenly thought he needed a four to tie, when in fact he needed a birdie three. Taylor also required a three to tie, and narrowly missed the putt on the last hole in a tremendous score of 68, which became the one round record score which stood for many years.
The other remarkable record which Jack White set in that championship was that, he not only did not take more than two putts on any green, but he also averaged four putts under level two’s in each of his rounds. He was regarded as an outstanding putter in his era. Walter Travis had become the first overseas winner of the Amateur Championship, also held at Royal St George’s that year and before The Open. Jack White had spectated and observed the play of Travis in the match play format. Interestingly, they both collaborated on a book shortly after their respective triumphs. Called
‘The Art of Putting’, it was published in 1904.
Jack White received the Gold Medal and £50 prize money for his Open win. His home club of Sunningdale marked his victory by awarding him a pay rise, a rent-free cottage with running water and £75. Jack’s anecdotes say that he ‘lunched off port wine and jelly, so that his stomach should have as little to do as possible whilst it’s owner was worried with his big affairs of trying to play well and win the championship’. White had commented, previously, that it was difficult to win because he was effectively playing against the best ball of The Great Triumverate, namely, Vardon,Taylor and Braid. Only three men broke that monopoly between 1902 and 1914. He said it was a privilege to have had to compete against three of the greatest golfers of all time.
It was said that White had neither the physique, power or consistency in the long game which other players had, but he could keep up with his fine putting skills. He must not be begrudged his triumph in The Open that year at Sandwich, because he had proven himself by achieving a second and a third finish at previous Opens.
Jack White was Professional at Sunningdale Golf Club from 1901 until 1926.
He was a famous club maker and made the driver which Bobby Jones used to win ten of his major victories and which Jones christened Jeanie Deans.
As well as being the Professional at a number of other clubs at various times, White moved his club making business in Gullane around 1928. Today his shop is still there and running... > https://www.jackwhite-gullane.com/home/woods/