John Ball (1862 - 1940)
Born Hoylake near Liverpool, England, Ball is remembered as the most accomplished amateur golfer up to the turn of the century. He won the Open once and the Amateur Championship 8 times during his 40 year career.
Ball grew up in Hoylake where his father owned the Royal Hotel. The links there were open with Royal Liverpool being built many years later. Ball was introduced to golf by his father who was a skilful golfer himself.
In 1878, Ball competed in his first Open and came fourth. The Amateur Championship was considered a Major back then and Ball won it in 1888. In fact, he went on to claim an unbeaten record of 8 Amateur titles. Perhaps his finest hour came in 1890 when he won the Open - the first amateur to do so. He retired to his farm in Wales after competing in the 1921 Amateur Championship.
Ball was extremely modest and never talked up his golfing achievements - they largely spoke for themselves. He was an outstanding golfer both in terms of victories and the longevity of his career. Perhaps, his memory is over-shadowed by Bobby Jones, but he will be remembered as one of the finest British golfers ever.