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Golfers Wildrid Reid and Ted Ray


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English golf professional Wilfrid Reid and Harry Vardon and Ted Ray from Jersey came to America to play golf in 1913, and were involved in the US Open Championship "The Greatest Game" at the Country Club at Brookline (where JFK was born).

While the event is famous for having been won by the local amateur and caddy Francis Ouimet, there was a famous incident where Ted Ray and Wilfrid Reid got into a fight in the clubhouse.

I always thought the argument had something to do with golf, but I only recently got Wilfrid Reid's side of the story, and thought that John Simkin and Andy would appreciate it:

Wilfrid Reid, from My Life in Golf:

....It’s funny how some things remain in your mind, while moreimportant ones are sometimes forgotten. I recall looking for Ray at the 1913Open and found him in the bar of the hotel with Alex Smith. They were having abig argument about socialism. Then I had to open my big mouth. I said, “Ted,how the hell can you argue in favor of socialism when you make as much money asyou do?”

Well, Ted really got angry at that, really upset, and hepunched me right in the face and knocked me clear over the table. My face wasswollen clear out to the ear, and the next day I had a devil of a headache.Vardon was very upset and said he was going to withdraw, but I talked him outof it....

Kellys Golf History: Wilfrid Reid - First Seaview Pro and ACCC 46-48 - My Life in Golf

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English golf professional Wilfrid Reid and Harry Vardon and Ted Ray from Jersey came to America to play golf in 1913, and were involved in the US Open Championship "The Greatest Game" at the Country Club at Brookline (where JFK was born).

While the event is famous for having been won by the local amateur and caddy Francis Ouimet, there was a famous incident where Ted Ray and Wilfrid Reid got into a fight in the clubhouse.

I always thought the argument had something to do with golf, but I only recently got Wilfrid Reid's side of the story, and thought that John Simkin and Andy would appreciate it:

Wilfrid Reid, from My Life in Golf:

....It’s funny how some things remain in your mind, while moreimportant ones are sometimes forgotten. I recall looking for Ray at the 1913Open and found him in the bar of the hotel with Alex Smith. They were having abig argument about socialism. Then I had to open my big mouth. I said, “Ted,how the hell can you argue in favor of socialism when you make as much money asyou do?”

Well, Ted really got angry at that, really upset, and hepunched me right in the face and knocked me clear over the table. My face wasswollen clear out to the ear, and the next day I had a devil of a headache.Vardon was very upset and said he was going to withdraw, but I talked him outof it....

Kellys Golf History: Wilfrid Reid - First Seaview Pro and ACCC 46-48 - My Life in Golf

I had not heard that story before. I suspect Ray was a supporter of Eugene Debs, the leader of the Socialist Party of America in 1913. Between 1901 and 1912 membership of the party grew from 13,000 to 118,000 and its journal Appeal to Reason was selling 500,000 copies a week. This provided a great platform for Debs and his running-mate, Emil Seidel, in the 1912 Presidential Election. Debs won 901,551 votes (6.0%). This was the most impressive showing of any socialist candidate in the history of the United States. In some states the vote was much higher: Oklahoma (16.6), Nevada (16.5), Montana (13.6), Washington (12.9), California (12.2) and Idaho (11.5).

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAdebs.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAsocialismP.htm

During the First World War Debs made several speeches explaining why he believed the United States should not join the war. After the USA declared war on the Central Powers in 1917, several party members were arrested for violating the Espionage Act. After making a speech in Canton, Ohio, on 16th June, 1918, criticizing the legislation, Debs was arrested and sentenced to ten years in Atlanta Penitentiary.

It was the Red Scare movement led by A. Mitchell Palmer, Woodrow Wilson's attorney general, that destroyed the party. Soon after taking office, a government list of 62 people believed to hold "dangerous, destructive and anarchistic sentiments" was leaked to the press. This list included the names of Jane Addams, Lillian Wald, Oswald Garrison Villard and Charles Beard. It was also revealled that these people had been under government surveillance for many years.

Worried by the revolution that had taken place in Russia, Palmer became convinced that Communist agents were planning to overthrow the American government. His view was reinforced by the discovery of thirty-eight bombs sent to leading politicians and the Italian anarchist who blew himself up outside Palmer's Washington home. Palmer recruited John Edgar Hoover as his special assistant and together they used the Espionage Act (1917) and the Sedition Act (1918) to launch a campaign against radicals and left-wing organizations.

A. Mitchell Palmer claimed that Communist agents from Russia were planning to overthrow the American government. On 7th November, 1919, the second anniversary of the Russian Revolution, over 10,000 suspected communists and anarchists were arrested. Palmer and Hoover found no evidence of a proposed revolution but large number of these suspects were held without trial for a long time. The vast majority were eventually released but Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, Mollie Steimer, and 245 other people, were deported to Russia.

In January, 1920, another 6,000 were arrested and held without trial. These raids took place in several cities and became known as the Palmer Raids. Palmer and Hoover found no evidence of a proposed revolution but large number of these suspects, many of them members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), continued to be held without trial. When Palmer announced that the communist revolution was likely to take place on 1st May, mass panic took place. In New York, five elected Socialists were expelled from the legislature.

James Larkin, an Irish trade unionist living in New York City, was charged with "advocating force, violence and unlawful means to overthrow the Government". Larkin's trial began on 30th January 1920. He decided to defend himself. He denied that he had advocated the overthrow of the Government. However, he admitted that he was part of the long American revolutionary tradition that included Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. He also quoted Wendell Phillips in his defence: "Government exists to protect the rights of minorities. The loved and the rich need no protection - they have many friends and few enemies."

The jury found Larkin guilty and on 3rd May 1920 he received a sentence of five to ten years in Sing Sing. In prison Larkin worked in the bootery, manufacturing and repairing shoes. Despite his inability to return to Ireland, he was annually re-elected as general secretary of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union.

As a result of this Red Scare people became worried about being members of the Socialist Party and subscribing to left-wing journals and the Appeal to Reason, which was selling 760,000 a week before the First World War, was forced to close in November, 1922.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAredscare.htm

An interesting footnote to this story is that Ted Ray was being financed by English media baron Lord Northcliffe. He was the Rupert Murdoch of his day and owned most of Britain's right-wing newspapers. I wonder if he knew Ted Ray was a socialist.

By the way, Charlie Olden, was an unsuccessful comedian in Britain until he decided to change his name to Ted Ray. He admitted he got the idea after watching Ted Ray play golf.

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