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Why Ted Ray should be in the Hall of Fame

Friday, March 1, 2019

Former Reuters golf correspondent Tony Jimenez talked to Tony about the continued omission of the great Ted Ray from the World Golf Hall of Fame

“I’m big on history, particularly golf history. It’s fascinating to learn about the outstanding players of the past and there is a particular oversight that I’d like to see addressed by the administrators of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

England’s Ted Ray was largely responsible for introducing the game to America, yet he’s not in the Hall. He and fellow countryman Harry Vardon came over here to the States to play a series of exhibition matches all over the country in 1913.

The tour was extremely successful and attracted large crowds. The pair of them had to be sponsored to come over. They only had club jobs, no meaningful personal funds.

The tour ended at the US Open, which was the subject of the 2005 movie ‘The Greatest Game Ever Played’ featuring the remarkable story of Francis Ouimet winning the event as an amateur.

Ted Ray won The Open in 1912, the US Open in 1920 and was also captain of Britain and Ireland for the very first Ryder Cup in Massachusetts in 1927.

I think it’s a travesty that he has not been included in the Hall of Fame. I also think it’s a bad oversight that Samuel Ryder has never been inducted or indeed American Olin Dutra, who won the US Open in 1934 and the US PGA Championship in 1932.

But it’s the lack of recognition for Ted Ray that really saddens me. There are Hall of Fame inductees who have never won a major and yet this guy has never been recognised. It’s an unbelievable oversight.

Not only was he a great player, he was a great character too and made a huge difference to the game.

I rang the Hall of Fame about it some time ago and I was told, ‘Yes, some people seem to think that major championships should be important’. I thought, ‘What sort of answer is that?’. Surely, that is what golf is all about. Every player dreams of winning a major when he starts out and the amount you win defines your career.

I was inducted in 2002 for my two major wins and for my contributions to the Ryder Cup but I told Jack Nicklaus last year that Ted Ray must be included in the Hall of Fame.

There is of course a bias at the Hall leaning towards Americans but Ted Ray is a legitimate candidate and I shall continue to push for his inclusion.”