John Taylor was rejected by the British Army and Navy for poor eyesight, but their loss proved to be golf's gain.
His swing wasn't as graceful as Vardon's or as powerful as Braid's, but Taylor was considered the best putter of the three and was an excellent foul-weather player. He holds the British Open record for top-10 finishes with 23, including 17 in a row.
Taylor was born in England in 1871. He quit school at age 11 and worked at various jobs before becoming a greenskeeper. He entered his first British Open in 1893 and led after one round, then fell back.
He won the next year at Sandwich in the first Open held in England, becoming the first of the Triumvirate to claim the title, and he successfully defended in 1895 at St. Andrews. Taylor nearly made it three in a row, but he dropped a playoff to Vardon in 1896.
Taylor won his third Open in 1900 in an eight-stroke romp at St. Andrews. That year, he made an exhibition tour of the United States with Vardon; in his only U.S. Open appearance, Taylor finished second to his countryman.
Taylor became familiar with the runner-up spot in the British Open, finishing second four times in a row starting in 1904. He shot a record 68 in the final round in 1904 but fell one stroke short of Jack White. Conversely, he lost the 54-hole lead in 1906 and 1907.
Taylor regained his winning touch in 1909, taking the Open by four strokes. His final title came in 1913 when he won by eight in a driving storm. If he had played better in the final round in 1914, it would have been Taylor, not Vardon, with six Open championships. But Taylor faltered with a closing 83 as Vardon passed him.
Taylor was the only one of the Triumvirate to contend in an Open after World War I, and he finished sixth as late as 1925 at age 54.
For more information about golf, see:
- The Best Golfers of All Time
- How Golf Clubs Work