Born Edward Rivers Ray in 1877, Ted was one of several top players to come from the Isle of Jersey, off the coast of England. He followed his idol Harry Vardon into professional golf, and became one of the top players of his time over a 30-year period. He was best known for his role in the 1912 U.S. Open. Playing with Harry Vardon in a playoff along with the historic winner Francis Ouimet. You may remember Ray portrayed in the Disney movie “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” In one of the scenes, he is in a bar taking a drunken bet to drive a ball through a telephone directory, which of course, he duly obliged.
Tall and stocky, people knew Ted Ray for his prodigious power off the tee (think John Daly).
Ray had a philosophy reflected in the advice he once gave a golfer who wanted to hit the ball farther: “Hit it a bloody sight harder, mate!”
Ted Ray used to play with an attacking style (think Phil), and had to develop phenomenal recovery skills to be able to compete. (think Seve). He played with a pipe invariably clenched between his teeth, and usually wore a felt trilby hat, plus fours, waistcoat and flapping jacket, making him a good target for the cartoonists of the day. And he only had six clubs in his bag, including the driver and putter; so that only left four irons, his favorite of which was his niblick (his wedge). He made a reputation for himself for the ability to play a variety of niblick shots in a major tournament conditions His recoveries with that club from seemingly impossible places was legendary.