Lot # 11: Willie Park Jr.'s 1892 Musselburgh Open Champion's Gold Medal

Starting Bid: $5,000.00

Bids: 3 (Bid History)

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Item was in Auction "Summer 2018 Auction",
which ran from 8/1/2018 8:30 PM to
8/18/2018 8:00 PM

The 1892 "Open Championship"

In 1892, Musselburgh was scheduled to again host the Open Championship. The Honourable Company, however, had recently completed their new golf course at Muirfield and successfully lobbied to have the tournament moved to their new course (and away from their former home at Musselburgh). 

The remaining golfers at Musselburgh were so inflamed at this action, that they scheduled a competing Open Championship - and more than tripled the prize money of the other Open Championship. They even got hometown hero (and arguably the greatest golfer at the time) Willie Park, Jr. to pledge attendance at Musselburgh's Open Championship. 

The plan started to backfire, however, when the Open Championship committee matched the Musselburgh prize purse, and it became apparent that golfers were planning to play in Muirfield over Musselburgh.

The Honorable Company had called Musselburgh's bluff, and there was nothing to do but back down. Musselburgh scrambled and rescheduled their Open Championship to a week prior to the Muirfield Open Championship, and even accepted entries without any advance notice. It worked, and most of the country's best golfers attended both tournaments. 

Willie Park, Jr., with his caddie Fiery on the bag, was victorious in his hometown Open Championship in Musselburgh. Willie Park would finish 7th the next week at the Open Championship at Muirfield, which was won by Harold Hilton. 

This "other" Open Championship (or "shadow" tournament) is now referred to as the Musselburgh Open. It was the only time it was contested, as order was restored the following year.

The 1892 "Open Championship" Gold Medal

Offered here is Willie Park, Jr.'s original gold medal from that 1892 "Open Championship" at Musselburgh, which historians now call the Musselburgh Open. 

This fine gold medal was acquired at auction from a descendent of the Willie Park Family in 1990. 1 5/8" diameter. 2" x 1 5/8" x 1/8" with adornment bezel.