Born: March 19, 1871
Died: February 10, 1963
Turned Pro: 1890
J.H. Taylor was a pioneer of the modern game and a member of Europe’s famed “Great Triumvirate” with James Braid and Harry Vardon.
Taylor was not born into a life of privilege. Eventually orphaned, Taylor’s introduction to the game began as an 11-year old caddy and maintenance worker at Royal North Devon Golf Club.
J.H. turned professional at the age of 19. He began contending for the Open Championship just a couple of years later and won back to back titles in 1894 (Royal St. Georges) and 1895 (St. Andrews). Taylor would be a significant contender in this tournament for more than three decades, winning three more Open Championships to bring his career total to five.
Taylor traveled across the pond in 1900 and to compete in the U.S. Open. He finished in second place in what would be his only appearance in America’s championship. With the Masters and PGA Tournaments not yet founded, the Open Championship and U.S. Open were the only professional Majors players of that era had a chance to compete in.
Taylor impacted golf beyond his role as a competitor. He was a noted golf course designer. In fact, Taylor is credited with being one of the creators of the first “dogleg” holes in golf, even though similar holes existed before on classic links courses. Early in his career, as a 30-year old, he helped create the British Professional Golfers Association, the first such organization at the time.
Taylor’s competitive record at the Open Championship was a model of consistency. He remained competitive at the Open well past his 40th birthday, finishing in the top ten six times from 1911 through 1929.
For his efforts, Taylor was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1975.