He ultimately never achieved the lasting fame of Harry Vardon, James Braid and J.H. Taylor, who won The Open a remarkable 16 times in the 21 tournaments held between 1894 and 1914.
However, Herd forged his own special place in Championship history as one of the five men to claim the Claret Jug during those two decades in which the legendary trio reigned supreme.
Also a runner-up at The Open on four occasions over a 28-year period, his crowning glory came at the 42nd edition in 1902 as he finally got hold of the Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool.
His victory, in addition to the many innovations he introduced during a lengthy career that spanned three decades, means he is more than worthy of his place in Open folklore.
Born into a golfing family in St Andrews, Alexander 'Sandy' Herd spent his teenage years as a baker's apprentice before also trying his hand as an apprentice to a plasterer.
Yet having learned to play as a young boy on the cobblestones of North Street, St Andrews with 'bare feet, shinty sticks and champagne corks', golf was always his first and only passion.
He eventually made the decision to turn professional in 1890 at the age of 23, taking up a position at Huddersfield Golf Club which he held from 1892 to 1911.
Herd made his Open debut in 1885 and finished runner-up for the first time seven years later, joining John Ball and Hugh Kirkaldy in a three-way tie for second behind Harold Hilton.
Another runner-up finish followed in 1895 at St Andrews, as Taylor took home the Claret Jug with a four-stroke victory, while he finished fifth at Muirfield in 1901.
As he continued to endure near misses it appeared Herd was always destined to be the bridesmaid and never the bride - that was until he arrived at Hoylake in 1902.
During a practice round with local golfer and 1890 Champion Golfer Ball, Herd was convinced to try the newly invented American-made Haskell rubber-cored golf ball.
Herd immediately hit what he called his longest drive ever and employed the ball during The Open, as opposed to the old gutty that everyone else was using.
He opened his Championship with rounds of 77 and 76 but found himself trailing a familiar name, with Vardon leading by four strokes after rounds of 72 and 79.
Yet Herd then came home in 35 for a third round of 73 to open up a three-shot lead over Vardon, who scored 80, while he also led Braid by eight going into the final 18 holes.
It was during the closing round that Herd's unfortunate habit of following a really low round with a really high one came to the surface again, as he finished with an 81 to set a target of 307.
Both Vardon and Braid were out after Herd, but this time his efforts proved to be good enough.