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Open winner adopts Haskell ball

On this day in 1902, Alex 'Sandy' Herd won the Open Championship at Hoylake by a shot from James Braid and Harry Vardon, using the new rubber-cored and wound 'Haskell' golf ball, while nearly all his rivals—including Braid and Vardon—were still playing the older 'guttie'.

Although Herd only won by a single shot, it was his putting which mainly let him down in a final round of 81, while the advantages of the Haskell ball for the long game became obvious.

One year later, in the 1903 Open at Prestwick, nearly all of the players had adopted the new ball, and the Championship scoring average reflects the improvements it brought. In the ten years from 1892 to 1901, it was 78.5 for all competitors; for the period 1902-1926, it dropped by more than three shots to 75.1.

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