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J.H. Taylor: The only man to captain a Ryder Cup team without ever competing in the matches as a player

The late John Henry Taylor -- or "J.H. Taylor" -- of England is a World Golf Hall of Famer, whose incredible career in golf included five victories in the Open Championship between 1894 and 1913.

Taylor was a member of a trio known as golf's Great Triumvirate, which referred to the three leading British golfers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries: Harry Vardon, Taylor and James Braid.

That threesome combined to win The Open Championship 16 times in the 21 tournaments held between 1894 and 1914. Vardon won six times with Braid and Taylor winning five apiece. In the five tournaments in this span the triumvirate did not win, one or more of them finished runner-up. 

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So, yeah, Taylor was a damn good player. And he may have won more Opens were it not for the fact that after his 1913 win at Royal Liverpool, the Open went on hiatus for World War I until 1920, when Taylor finished 12th.

He has a unique distinction. Taylor is the only captain in Ryder Cup history to never compete in the matches as a player. 

In 1933, Taylor captained Great Britain to the second of just three victories over the U.S. in the Ryder Cup between 1927-1957 (the non-American team wouldn't win again until 1985, at which time all of continental Europe was included), 6.5-5.5 at Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club in Southport, England.

That year, Walter Hagen was the U.S. Captain -- his fourth of his six Ryder Cups at the helm. Hagen played in the first five of those as well.

Taylor's team included Percy Alliss, father of legendary BBC broadcaster and eight-time Ryder Cupper, Peter Alliss.

In 1933, the Ryder Cup consisted of just two sessions between the two, 10-man teams: a foursomes session on Day 1 and a singles session on Day 2.

Great Britain won the foursomes session 2.5-1.5 and the two teams played to a 4-4 draw in singles.

So why is it that Taylor never played in a Ryder Cup?

It's pretty easy, actually: His age.

Taylor was 62 years old when he captained the 1933 team and 56 when the matches were first played in 1927.

For what it's worth, American Raymond Floyd is the oldest Ryder Cup competitor in history. Floyd was a captain's selection in 1993, 24 years after his first appearance in 1969, which is also a Ryder Cup record. He was 51 years, 20 days old when those matches teed off.

Taylor's professional career spanned 56 years, from 1890-1946, and he won 19 times.  

With credentials like those, there's no doubt Taylor was more than deserving of a captaincy... it's just too bad that he never had a chance to compete.

Taylor passed at age 91 on February 10, 1963.