Source: VT Golf Magazine | Issue: Summer 2001 | Author: Rob Halpert
Synopsis: This article is about George Sargent and Vermont and the overwhelming success he had at the 1909 open. It also delves into the history of Hyde Manor Club that once stood in Vermont.
The U.S. Open golf championship and the state of Vermont are not commonly mentioned in the same breath. The tournament- perhaps the most prestigious in the golfing world- has never been held here, and though the state has more of its fair share of talented players and terrific courses, Vermont could never fairly be considered a hotbed of professional golfing talent. Patty Sheehan, hailing originally from Middlebury and winner of the 1994 U.S. Women’s Open, is the sole connection between Vermont and U.S. Open Championship golf in the modern era.
Vermont’s relationship to high stakes golf was all the more tenuous during the sport’s beginnings in America, a fact reflected in the newspaper accounts of the 1909 U.S. Open: “UNKNOWN PLAYER FROM UNKNOWN COURSE WINS THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP.” Unbelievably, the most famous golfers of the era- Harry Vardon, Willie Anderson and Walter Travis, among other greats- were upstaged in that years’ Open by a mysterious stranger. The New York Times June 26, 1909 summarized the stunning nature of the tournament’s outcome, proclaiming a “sudden leap to fame” for an “unknown golfer” from, of all laces, Vermont’ “An unknown golf club among the Green Mountain hills of Vermont has the honor of furnishing the new National Open golf champion for the coming year. The club is the hyde Manor Golf Club, and the new champion, who was hitherto hardly better known than the club itself, is George Sargent”