The 1902 Open Golf Championship Winner's Medal won by Alexander "Sandy" Herd By Sutherland & Horne, Edinburgh, 1902
Lot 251
The 1902 Open Golf Championship Winner's Medal won by Alexander "Sandy" Herd
By Sutherland & Horne, Edinburgh, 1902
Sold for £64,900 (US$ 86,707) inc. premium

The Sporting Sale

13 May 2015, 11:00 BST

Edinburgh

Lot Details
The 1902 Open Golf Championship Winner's Medal won by Alexander "Sandy" Herd By Sutherland & Horne, Edinburgh, 1902 The 1902 Open Golf Championship Winner's Medal won by Alexander "Sandy" Herd By Sutherland & Horne, Edinburgh, 1902 The 1902 Open Golf Championship Winner's Medal won by Alexander "Sandy" Herd By Sutherland & Horne, Edinburgh, 1902 The 1902 Open Golf Championship Winner's Medal won by Alexander "Sandy" Herd By Sutherland & Horne, Edinburgh, 1902 The 1902 Open Golf Championship Winner's Medal won by Alexander "Sandy" Herd By Sutherland & Horne, Edinburgh, 1902
The 1902 Open Golf Championship Winner's Medal won by Alexander "Sandy" Herd
By Sutherland & Horne, Edinburgh, 1902
Inscribed 'Open Golf Championship 1902 Won by Alexr Herd June 4th & 5th Winning Score 307'.
18 carat gold, diameter 44mm., weight 60g.

Footnotes

  • Provenance: Sandy Herd, thence by descent.

    VERY RARE: Open Championship winner's medals seldom come to auction, a similar medal was sold by Bonhams, Edinburgh in July 2007.

    Alexander "Sandy" Herd (24 April 1868 - 18 February 1944) was a Scottish professional golfer born in St Andrews. He learned to play golf as a young boy on the 'cobblestones of North Street, St. Andrews – bare feet, shinty sticks and champagne corks...'. He worked as a baker's apprentice for four years; but was sacked on a regular basis for being on the golf course rather than in the bake house. He then became a plaster's apprentice but continued to develop his first and only passion, golf. By his late teens had become a much sought after golfer, playing partner and caddie.

    ASSOCIATED GOLF CLUBS: Herd turned professional in 1890. His first engagement was a three month summer attachment to The County Club in Portrush. In 1891 Herd moved to the Blundellsands Golf Club (West Lancashire Golf Club), near Liverpool. This Club job was followed by another temporary posting at the Loughborough Club in Leicestershire.

    A few months later in late 1891 Huddersfield-Fixby Hall Golf Club invited him to be their professional. Herd wrote later in his autobiography My Golfing Life that 'I did not ask time to consider the offer, but took it like a hen picking up a grozet.' and he remained there until 1911. In this year Herd took up a position at Coombe Hill where one of his members was the Prince of Wales. In 1924 he moved to Moor Park in North London and retired in 1932.

    THE CORONATION CHAMPION: In 1902, Sandy Herd won The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake.

    During a practice round with local golfer John Ball (winner of the 1890 Open and, by the end of his career, eight Amateur Championships) Herd noticed that Ball was using a newly invented American-made Haskell rubber cored golf ball and how well it performed. Ball gave him one to play with and Herd immediately noted that his drives were much longer.

    After the game he went into Jack Morris's shop and bought the four last Haskells. Herd later played down the significance of the new ball in the 16 January 1920 issue of Golf Illustrated: "... the Haskell was not introduced until the spring of the next year.... I was not playing well enough to have won with the guttie...but you know there was not a great deal of difference at that time between the guttie ball and the Haskell. A good shot with the guttie gave just as satisfactory results as a good shot with a Haskell, but if you did not make the shot quite well the effect was less serious with the American ball than the guttie."

    In the Championship, played over two days, Harry Vardon led by four strokes after an opening 72, remarkably starting with a 6 at the first, after he put his first two shots out of bounds. Herd opened with rounds of 77 and 76 and was Vardon's nearest challenger at halfway, four behind. In the third round Herd was partnered with John Ball and shot a 73. 'I had the good fortune to be drawn with Mr. John Ball and I do not hesitate to say that Mr. Ball was more desirous that I should win than he should beat me. In fact, I often wonder whether I owed my victory more to John Ball than to the Haskell ball – poor joke, but let it go. I played like one inspired against a very troublesome wind and returned a score of 73.' Herd had come home in 35. Vardon and Braid had both taken 80 so Herd's lead over Vardon was three and over Braid eight.

    That afternoon Herd had an 81 in the final round. Vardon had a six-foot putt and Braid a longer one, at the final hole to force a play-off, but they missed and Herd took the Championship. As 1902 was the year of King Edward VII's Coronation so Herd was known as the Coronation Champion winning £50 and the gold medal.

    CAREER RESULTS: In 1885, aged 17, Herd entered his first Open Championship at St. Andrews and competed in 38 Open Championships until his retirement. Finishing as the runner up in 1895 at St. Andrews, Herd was particularly disappointed as his final round had to be played in a hailstorm, where as J.H. Taylor went out after the storm had subsided, and went onto beat Herd by two shots. Herd was also the runner-up in 1892, 1895, 1910 and 1920 and finished in the top ten twenty times.

    In 1903, a few days before The Open, Herd captained a Scottish team of professionals against England at Prestwick. This is recognised as being the first international golf match and Herd's Scottish team won the inaugural event. In 1906 he won the News of the World Match Play, and again in 1926. In 1920, aged 52, he became the oldest runner-up in The Open until Tom Watson replaced him in 2009.

    It is generally agreed that Herd would undoubtedly have won many more Open Championships had it not been for the fact his era coincided with the reign of the 'great triumvirate': Taylor, Vardon, Braid. He was often considered a fourth member of this group known as 'the Quartette'.

    He died in London in 1944.
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