It was the legendary Scotsman, Andrew Kirkaldy, who first saw the greatness in John Henry Taylor. After losing a challenge match to Taylor in 1891, Kirkaldy went back to St Andrews and predicted that the young Englishman who just defeated him would win many Open Championships. “You’ll see more of Taylor,” he said. “And then you’ll know why he beat me, and why he will beat all the best of the day.”
Kirkaldy proved to be right, of course. Three years after defeating Kirkaldy, he became the first professional from England to win the Open. Taylor captured five Open Championships, joining Harry Vardon and James Braid to form the Great Triumvirate. Taylor’s accuracy was legendary. At Sandwich, where he won his first Open by five strokes in 1894, he would have the directional posts removed from the blind holes out of fear that his drives would hit them and carom into bunkers. The following year, he won by four strokes over Sandy Herd at St Andrews, with Kirkaldy six shots further back in third place.