James Braid, the son of a ploughman from Elie in Fife, was said to play golf with a “divine fury” yet became so successful he was rated as one of the Great Triumvirate alongside Harry Vardon and JH Taylor
A tall man, he hit the ball huge distances but struggled with his putting until adopting a heavy aluminium-head putter.
From his debut in The Open in 1894 until 1912 he was never out of the top-ten. But it took him until 1901 at Muirfield to win for the first time, beating Vardon and Taylor, who had won six of the previous seven Opens between them.
But the first decade of the 20th century belonged to Braid. In ten years he won The Open five times, was runner-up three times and was fifth on the other two occasions. He was the first player to win The Open five times, a tally soon matched by Taylor and later by Peter Thomson and Tom Watson but only ever exceeded by Vardon.
He won back-to-back titles in 1905 and ’06 and is the only Champion to win twice at both St Andrews and Muirfield. At Prestwick in 1908 he won by eight strokes and set a new Championship record total that was not beaten until 1927.
He also won the British Professional Matchplay title four times in nine years. Braid was the professional at Walton Heath from its opening in 1904 until his death 45 years later. He was a noted designer of golf courses, with the Kings and Queens at Gleneagles among his creations, while he remodelled Carnoustie prior to its Open debut in 1931.
A reserved man who did so much to raise the standing of the game and his fellow professionals, he was described as “an immensely painstaking man of few words, a warm and true friend.