Hutchison might have underplayed the historic victory, but the press on both sides of the Atlantic ran huge headlines. They trumpeted Hutchison becoming the first player to take golf’s oldest championship trophy outside of Europe.
Hutchison’s victory at the Old Course was also notable for the heavily ribbed clubs in which he used to master the rock-hard greens in 1921. Hutchison had been playing – and setting course records – with grooved clubs he had been working on.
The R&A’s Rules of Golf Committee actually met in May of 1921 and decided that such ribbed or grooved clubs would be banned effective July 1 of that same year. Hutchison won The Open on June 25, defeating amateur Roger Wethered by nine shots in a playoff.
On the course, Hutchison was a far different man than he was off it.
“In competition,” Wind wrote, “he was dourness itself and as nervous as a mosquito. He walked around restlessly between shots. He sweated lavishly and took to waving his arms in the air to dry them. He literally twiddled his thumbs… [But] when he shifted into a brilliant streak, Jock could play one plus-perfect hole after another, each shot, like mountain views in Switzerland, seemingly more breathtaking than the one that went before.”
Hutchison, the 1920 PGA Championship winner, put on one of these legendary displays during the opening round of the 1921 Open Championship. He aced the 135-yard eighth hole and then narrowly missed back-to-back aces after driving the 278-yard ninth, catching the corner of the cup and lipping out to within inches.
Later that year Hutchison, along with reigning U.S. Open winner Barnes, began a barnstorming tour of the United States to mark the first time the two titles had been held concurrently by Americans.
Hutchison competed in 99 PGA TOUR events from 1916-1961, including 14 victories. He also won the inaugural Senior PGA Championship in 1937, which was held at Augusta National. He won a second Senior PGA in 1947.
The folks at Augusta National recognized the measure of Hutchison’s career when they made him one of the first two honorary starters of the Masters, along with Fred McLeod. Hutchison served from 1963-73.
Hutchison’s entry into the World Golf Hall of Fame is fitting — the American Triumvirate is reunited.