| ||Duplicating a U.S. Open
March 11, 2009
By Alex Davidson
Canterbury Golf Club is bringing the U.S. Open trophy back to
life. The original one, the trophy few have seen, except
perhaps in old photographs or as a copies in clubhouse trophy
It might not be common knowledge, but the original U.S. Open
trophy dating to 1895 was lost in 1946. Lloyd Mangrum won the
'46 Open at Canterbury, in Beachwood, Ohio, near Cleveland,
in a 36-hole playoff over Byron Nelson and Vic Ghezzi.
Mangrum took the trophy back to Tam O'Shanter, his club in
Chicago, but a fire engulfed the clubhouse and destroyed the
A new trophy was created for the 1947 championship at St.
Louis Country Club, where Lew Worsham turned back Sam Snead
in a playoff, and until 1986 that iteration was awarded to
the winner. Since then, a duplicate has been presented. The
original 1947 design now resides full-time in the USGA
Museum's Hall of Champions in Far Hills, N.J.
Canterbury hosts the 70
Senior PGA Championship this May, and in doing so becomes the
second American club to host all five of the domestic
traveling men's major championships. Oak Hill Country Club,
in Rochester, N.Y., last year became the first club to be the
site of a U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateur, PGA
Championship and Senior PGA.
To commemorate its inclusion in what is currently a highly
exclusive club Canterbury, founded in 1921, has commissioned
two silversmiths to create nearly full-scale replicas of each
of those championships' trophies so that they can be put on
display in its clubhouse (along with the green jacket awarded
to 1938 Masters champion Henry Picard, who was the club's
head professional from 1945 to 1964).
"People don't realize the heritage of this club," said Eric
Rhodes, the club's general manager. "You can take Pebble
Beach, Pinehurst â€¦ you name it, and they can't match what we
can put on display here."
The real prize, of course, is the U.S. Open Championship
trophy. Only former champions and host sites of the national
championship can request a replica of the trophy, which is
made at 90 percent of the original trophy's dimensions.
Canterbury is the last club that could request a copy of the
original, on which the winner's names were engraved in script
as opposed to the block lettering of the new model. There are
other small engraving details that were different, but the
two versions have the same dimensions.
Nicholas Winton, a silversmith from Banbury, England, is the
man who creates the replicas of the USGA championship
trophies. He also produces copies of the Claret Jug, the
prize given to the British Open champion. His handiwork also
can be found on prizes awarded in such diverse sports as
rugby, rowing and horse racing.
Winton responded that he had never produced a replica of the
original U.S. Open prize. But he relished the opportunity.
"Very much so I wanted to do it," Winton wrote via e-mail. "I
originally did the research on the engraving myself with the
help of the USGA Museum. To my knowledge, no one else has
succeeded - or even tried - to work out the original
engraving. That is a pretty neat feeling. There are only a
few photos of the original, but that gave me enough
detail to work out where the text goes and its format."
There are other clubs that might possess a copy of the older
version, Winton noted, but those copies were struck prior to
Cost of the creation was not disclosed, but Rhodes estimated
that the club could spend more than $100,000 on the various
Former USGA President Sandy Tatum, after watching Mark
O'Meara defeat John Cook in the '79 U.S. Amateur final at
Canterbury, referred to the club and its Scottish links-style
course designed by Herbert Strong as "one of the shrines of
That shrine will soon possess some shiny new memorabilia.
"It's well worth it; it's something we wanted to do in
conjunction with our clubhouse renovation and the
championship," said Rhodes. "We feel like the story of this
club is an important one. It's something we're rather proud
Alex Davidson is a freelance writer whose work has
previously appeared on usga.org.