The Gentleman Golfer

Johnny Farrell


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Gentleman on the Links

John Joseph Farrell was born in the Westchester County, N.Y. village of Tuckahoe in 1901, Johnny’s father died when he was very young and at the age of 13, he began his career in golf as a caddy at Fairview Country Club. He caddied for the famed Jerry Travers and learned to play the game by watching him and the other top players of the era.  He became caddy master at Siwanoy in 1916. Four years later, in 1920, he qualified for the U.S. Open at Inverness and turned professional in 1922.  In the spring of 1927, Farrell won eight consecutive tournaments, a run that was unequalled until Byron Nelson won eleven in a row in 1945.  His short career of 11 full seasons included 22 PGA TOUR victories including the 1928 US Open and played for the United States in the first three Ryder Cups – 1927, 1929, and 1931.  

Farrell was voted the 1927 and 1928 Best Golf Professional in the United States, but was also known for his impeccable dress, earning the nickname "Handsome Johnny."  Grantland Rice called him “Gentleman on the Links”.  He was twice named the game’s best dresser, by Rodman Wannamaker.

Dedicated to developing golf, Farrell served as head golf professional at the Quaker Ridge Golf Club (1919–1930) Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J. (1934–1972) and the Country Club of Florida (1956-1973) and is credited with starting numerous junior golf programs.  During the 1950’s Farrell hosted a golf television show on NBC-TV.  In 1966 Farrell and his family was named Golf Family of the Year.

Farrell had already become a noted teacher during his days at Quaker Ridge, and his fame as a teacher continued to spread beyond the limits of Baltusrol’s practice tee. Over the years, he regularly taught golf to Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon and Ford, as well as to the likes of Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Ed Sullivan, Douglas Fairbanks, and the Duke of Windsor.  He continued teaching until his death in 1988.

Johnny had many impressive career highlights.  Including:

* Tied for 25th on the PGA Tour's all-time wins list with 22 victories (Farrell won 10 more professional tournaments that are not recognized), He was also was runner-up 24 times.

* #4 on all-time Most Victories in one season list - 13 (tie)

* #2 Most Consecutive Tour wins - Won eight consecutive tournaments in 1927 (The PGA Tour recognizes six of those wins as full events.  Byron Nelson broke Johnny's 18-year long record in 1945. Tiger Woods and Ben Hogan are at 6.)

* #4 Most Tour voctories under 25 years of age with 7 wins

* Three-time member of the first U.S. Ryder Cup teams, compiling a 3-2-1 record.

* Elected to The PGA Hall of Fame in 1953 (but wasn't transferred to the World Golf Hall of Fame).

* Runner-up in 1929 British Open at Carnoustie and the 1929 PGA Championship at Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles and was third in 1925 U.S. Open at Worcester (Mass.) Country Club and 1926 U.S. Open at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio.

* Considered an all-time top 50 player by Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, Asian Golf Monthly and countless other golf writers and historians.
* 2015 voted into final 16 players for the WGHOF in the Male Competitor category.  (Surprising, as most believe he should have been nominated as a Veteran.) 


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