James Braid, the son of a humble Scottish plowman, went to England in 1893 at the age of 23 to embark on his golf career.
A tall man, Braid was a long hitter for his day. Early golf historian Horace Hutchinson wrote that Braid swung with "a divine fury."
Nonetheless, it took Braid a while to harness his considerable skills, and he was the last of the Great Triumvirate -- which also included Englishmen Harry Vardon and John H. Taylor -- to win a British Open.
Braid played in his first Open in 1894. In 1895, he began to make a name for himself by halving a match with Taylor, the 1894 and 1895 Open champion.
Braid finished second in the Open in 1897, then in 1899 finished fifth to begin an incredible streak.
For 14 straight Opens, Braid was never out of the top five, a feat that has never been matched to this day (Jack Nicklaus is the next best at 11, from 1970-80).
Braid also had 17 consecutive top-10s, starting in 1896, matching Taylor for the all-time record.
Braid's Open victories came in 1901 at Muirfield, 1905 at St. Andrews, 1906 at Muirfield, 1908 at Prestwick, and 1910 at St. Andrews.
The latter win made him the first to win five Opens, though Taylor later matched the total and Vardon reached six.
Braid was the first player to shoot a round in the 60s in the Open, carding a 69 in the third round at Royal St. George's in 1904. His 72-hole record of 291 set in 1908 stood for 19 years.
For the last 45 years of his life, until he died in 1950, Braid was the head professional at Walton Heath, near London.
For more information about golf, see:
- The Best Golfers of All Time
- How Golf Clubs Work