Worcester Country Club has a long and storied history. The Club’s roots were sown with the founding of Worcester Golf Club in 1900. Worcester was a thriving manufacturing town with worldwide impact in products as diverse as abrasives, precision forgings, drawn wire of all sizes and even women’s corsets. The times were good and the city elders wanted a top-notch golf course and country club to reflect their success.

In 1913 they relocated and contracted with renowned architect Donald J. Ross, who personally oversaw the design and construction of the golf course. Ross crafted a gem that stretches to over 6,600 yards and plays to a par of 70. One unusual feature is the five par threes, which make the course play longer and tougher than the yardage indicates. Most importantly, the golf course is a source of joy for the members and their guests. Its design and character create a route that is always a challenge and never the same. Boredom is not spoken here.

The Opening Dedication on September 29, 1914 was a gala affair that few would forget. It took place on a perfect autumn afternoon with twenty five hundred people in attendance around the Tudor clubhouse. There were three big drawing cards for the event – curiosity, a high level golf match and, the biggest of all, William Howard Taft, the immediate past President of the United States. Taft, an avid golfer, had the honor of striking the first drive. Like so many golfers after him, he succumbed to golfing nerves and authored a mean duck hook about 125 yards down the fairway. Several mulligans improved the President’s performance!

Ten years later following a surge of enthusiasm for the game of golf, Worcester became the first course to hold a qualifying round for the U.S. Open. The response to the course was so enthusiastic that Worcester was offered and hosted the 1925 U.S. Open. Willie MacFarlane (the holder of 21 PGA tournament victories) won this event in a 36-hole playoff over Bobby Jones. Then, in 1960, the Women’s U.S. Open came to town. Betsy Rawls overcame Mickey Wright and a strong field to narrowly capture her fourth Open championship.

But Worcester is best known as the site of the inaugural Ryder Cup, in 1927. In this contest the United States team, captained by Walter Hagen, handily defeated Ted Ray’s squad from Great Britain 9-1/2 to 2-1/2. As such, Worcester is one of only three golf clubs (Pinehurst and Hazeltine also) to host the premier men’s, the premier women’s and the premier international tournaments.

Year
1919
1921
1925
1926
1927
1927
1931
1933
1935
1939
1947
1948
1953
1958
1960
1964
1967
1976
1978
1989
1996
2000
2003
2006
2009
2016
Event
Massachusetts Open
Massachusetts Amateur
U.S. Men’s Open
Massachusetts Open
Ryder Cup (Inaugural)
New England Amateur
Massachusetts Open
Massachusetts Amateur
New England Amateur
Massachusetts Open
Massachusetts Junior Amateur
Massachusetts Amateur
Massachusetts Open
Massachusetts Women’s Amateur
U.S. Women’s Open
Massachusetts Amateur
Massachusetts Senior
Massachusetts Open
Massachusetts Father & Son
Massachusetts Amateur
New England PGA
Massachusetts Amateur
Massachusetts Senior Four-Ball
Massachusetts Amateur
New England PGA Championship
Massachusetts Open
Winner
Jesse P. Guilford
Jesse P. Guilford
Willie MacFarlane
Donald Vinton
United States
Frederick J. Wright, Jr.
Wiffy Cox
Joseph P. Lynch
Harold H. Mandly, Jr.
Byron Nelson
John Nies, Jr.
Edward Martin
Jim Browning
Joanne Goodwin
Betsy Rawls
William Foley
Tim Holland
Paul Barkhouse
Addison + Flynt Lincoln
Jim McDermott
Dana Quigley
Jim Salinetti
Jim Ruschioni + Paul Nunez, Jr.
Ben Spitz
Paul Parajeckas
Jason Thresher

The Open at Worcester is best known for Bobby Jones’ honesty and the first 36-hole playoff in history. What is less known is the wild finish where, coming to the 72nd hole, four men had a chance at the trophy if they could birdie the last hole.

On the eleventh hole in the first round Jones found himself in the left rough – all alone. As he addressed the ball with his club Jones saw the ball move. No one else could have seen. He immediately called a one stroke penalty on himself, despite the pleas from an official and Walter Hagen to reconsider. This additional stroke would ultimately tie Jones for the lead – rather than a one stroke victory.

Leo Diegel, despite two double bogies on his back nine, needed a birdie three on the last hole to post 291, the ultimate winning score. He exploded with an eight! Dapper Johnny Farrell was next up and his routine par totaled a 292, but he was the leader in the clubhouse – until Jones and Willie MacFarlane, in the next two groups, each parred the last hole for a 291 score. Francis Ouimet, before he struck his approach shot, knew that he needed a birdie to tie but his second shot was undistinguished and a par was the result. Last came The Haig, Walter Hagen. A towering drive down the middle left him with only seventy yards to go and a good birdie chance. Ever the competitor he tried to cover the tight front pin position but dumped it into the bunker. He asked his caddie to tend the pin but the shot was slightly long and a bogey the result.

On the following day, after tying during the first playoff round, Jones and MacFarlane battled again with Jones four up after the front nine. But Willie MacFarlane, the winner of 21 PGA titles, blitzed the back nine in three under par 33 to nip one of golf’s superstars by one stroke after one hundred and eight hard fought holes.

Scroll down for scores
Willie MacFarlane 74-67-72-78 - 291
Bobby Jones 77-70-70-74 - 291
Johnny Farrell 71-74-69-78 - 292
Francis Ouimet 70-73-73-76 - 292
Gene Sarazen 72-72-75-74 - 293
Walter Hagen 72-76-71-74 - 293
Mike Brady 74-72-74-74 - 294
Leo Diegel 73-68-77-78 - 296
Al Espinosa 72-71-74-80 - 297
Laurie Ayton 75-71-73-78 - 297

Morning Playoff
Par Out 4-5-4-3-5-3-4-3-4 – 35
MacFarlane 4-6-3-3-4-3-5-4-5 – 37
Jones 4-5-4-3-5-3-4-4-6 – 38
Par In 3-4-4-3-4-5-4-5-4 – 36 – 71
MacFarlane 3-4-5-4-4-5-4-5-4 – 38 – 75
Jones 4-4-5-3-3-5-5-4-4 – 37 – 75

Afternoon Playoff
Par Out 4-5-4-3-5-3-4-3-4 – 35
MacFarlane 4-5-4-4-5-4-4-4-5 - 39
Jones 4-5-4-3-4-4-4-3-4 – 35
Par In 3-4-4-3-4-5-4-5-4 – 36 – 71
MacFarlane 2-4-4-2-4-5-4-4-4 - 33 – 72
Jones 3-4-4-4-4-6-4-4-5 – 38 - 73

Samuel Ryder’s dream of an international golf match began in 1926, following an informal match at Wentworth, England. Despite funding problems and competition for the site of the match the event began at Worcester CC on a perfect June day.

The British players never became accustomed to the lush American course or the quick greens. While Captain Ted Ray heavily praised the crowds for being non-partisan his players were troubled by the many photographers. While the results were somewhat one-sided the rousing success of the competition pleased everyone and paved the way for one of sport’s most celebrated contests.

Foursomes Matches
Walter Hagen / Johnny Golden defeated Ted Ray / Fred Robson, 2 & 1
Johnny Farrell / Joe Turnesa defeated George Duncan / Archie Compston, 8 & 6
Gene Sarazen / Al Watrous defeated Arthur Havers / Herbert Jolly, 3 & 2
Leo Diegel / Bill Mehlhorn lost to Aubrey Boomer / Charles Whitcombe, 7 & 5
United States – 3
Great Britain - 1

Singles Matches
Bill Mehlhorn defeated Archie Compston 1 up
Johnny Farrell defeated Aubrey Boomer 5 & 4
Johnny Golden defeated Herbert Jolly 8 & 7
Leo Diegel defeated Ted Ray 7 & 5
Gene Sarazen halved with Charles Whitcombe
Walter Hagen defeated Arthur Havers 2 & 1
Al Watrous defeated Fred Robson 3 & 2
Joe Turnesa lost to George Duncan 1 up
United States – 6-1/2
Great Britain – 1-1/2

Total
United States – 9-1/2
Great Britain – 2-1/2

1960 Women’s US Open
Worcester Country Club
Worcester, MA
July 21 – 23
Yardage 6,137 Par 72

In hosting this tournament Worcester, the site of the 1925 Men’s US Open, became the second club to entertain the two Open Championships – Winged Foot was the first. And with her victory, Betsy Rawls became the first person to win four Women’s Open Championships. Only Mickey Wright can claim a similar honor.

Rawls, seven back after 36 holes, stormed back with a course record 68 in round three. This tied her with Wright, the two-time defending champion. While all eyes where on these two ladies Joyce Ziske shot an even par 35 and moved in front by two over Betsy Rawls after 63 holes. But Rawls was up to the task and closed with a two under par 35 coming in. Miss Ziske, needing a par 4 on the final hole to tie, overshot the green and missed a four-foot par putt.

Miss Wright slipped badly in round four, a result she claimed due to a balky putter. But others attributed her collapse to an injured knee, which troubled her all week. Judy Torluemke (later Judy Rankin), 15 years old, was the youngest player in history to win low amateur honors, with 85-81-80-80 - 326. Florence McClusky, Worcester’s perennial Club Champion, shot 83-81-87-82 – 333 to tie for 29th place.

Betsy Rawls 76-73-68-75 – 292
Joyce Zisk 75-74-71-73 – 293
Marlene Hagge 74-74-75-75 - 298
Mary Len Faulk 75-72-76-75 – 298
Mickey Wright 71-71-75-82 – 299
Wiffi Smith 75-76-73-76 - 300
Beverly Hanson 75-77-77-72 - 301
Fay Crocker 74-76-76-76 - 302
Louise Suggs 78-77-72-77 - 304
Marilynn Smith 72-72-83-77 - 304
Kathy Whitworth 75-73-80-76 - 304