British PGA Matchplay Championship

British PGA Matchplay Championship

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British PGA Matchplay Championship

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The British PGA Matchplay Championship was a match play golf tournament that began in 1903 and ran until 1979. Between 1903 and 1969, the event was sponsored by the now defunct British newspaper the News of the World, and was commonly known by the paper's name. Initially organised as the championship of British professionals, the event came to include invited players from other countries - in particular from around the Commonwealth (it was won on four occasions by Australia's Peter Thomson, a record number of victories shared with Dai Rees and James Braid). On occasion, American professionals also took part, notably in 1949 when the eight members of the victorious U.S. Ryder Cup side accepted invites to the event, Lloyd Mangrum reaching the semi-finals.

For many years, the event boasted the richest prize fund in British golf, and certainly in the pre-First World War era, can be considered to have been a "major" championship of its day, as at the time, the British professionals were considered the best players in the world - in 1907 the four semi-finalists were The Great Triumvirate of Harry Vardon, J.H. Taylor and James Braid, along with Ted Ray, who would go on to win both the British and U.S. Open. After World War II , the event provided several notable British and Irish players, like Christy O'Connor Snr, Eric Brown and Dave Thomas, with their greatest triumphs, and also became a showcase for the matchplay strength of Neil Coles, who was a semi-finalist eleven...
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