Many of us have just watched the Ryder Cup but I wonder how many have read the story of the early days and one Aubrey Basil Boomer who was born on 1st November 1897 and passed-away on 2nd October 1989.
Aubrey had become interested in golf when he watched the sis-rimes Open Champion Harry Vardon playing in Jersey during the First World War. After the war Aubrey developed his golfing career in France. Why France? He felt that in England golf professionals were employed by clubs as low-paid servants while across the Channel they were regarded as social equals of the members they served, by virtue of their skill at the game. Aubrey became the favorite professional of the rich who visited Paris. One of these was Sir Philip Sassoon who rewarded him by having suits made up for him at Saville Row! This ‘status’ appears to have upset the petty-minded officialdom that then ran the British professional game so much that, when Aubrey was chosen for the 1927 Ryder Cup match against America in America he was recorded as a Frenchman and was required to wear a beret!
The sea crossing took nearly a week; many of the team were seasick, and practice was poor to non-existent for those that could cope with conditions because they found that they had to practice their swings in time with the roll of the boat!
This was the first of two Ryder Cup matches – the 1st Ryder Cup Match was held at the Worcester County Club in Worcester in Massachusetts. That very first competition was dominated by the United States who won by the then landslide score of 9½–2½ points with the USA Captain Walter Hagen becoming the first winning captain to lift the Ryder Cup. Ted Ray was the first captain to represent the Great Britain team.
Aubrey was a profession golfer who played in the early 20th century. He had three top-10 finishes in the Open Championship and was a frequent competitor in the French Open which he won five times – in 1921, 1922, 1926 and 1929. In the 1921 French Open he won in a playoff against Arnaud Massy – his former golf teacher! Massy had been 3 shots up after 9 holes but picked up his ball on the 34th hole when he was 8 shots behind! In his 1929 victory he beat the St Cloud course record with a score of 61.
In the 1924 Open Championship held in June at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake Walter Hagan won the second of his four Open Championships, one stroke ahead of runner-up Ernest Whitcome. Aubrey Boomer finished tied for sixth place in the event.
In the 1927 championship was held in July at the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland. Amateur Bobby Jones successfully defended the title with a six-stroke victory, the second of his three victories at the Open Championship. Aubrey Boomer and Fred Robson tied for second place – once again six shots back from the winner!
Aubrey suffered a stroke in Cannes and died later in Brussels on 2nd October 1989.