The 46th Open | 1906 Muirfield

The Great Triumvirate claim another 1-2-3

No one in the long history of The Open has had a stranglehold on the Claret Jug quite like The Great Triumvirate of Harry Vardon, James Braid and J.H. Taylor.

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From 1894 until 1914, the three golfing legends were virtually untouchable as they took the Championship - and the sport as a whole - by storm with their sheer dominance.

In the 21 Open Championships held in those two decades before the outbreak of the First World War, the three men combined to win the title of Champion Golfer 16 times.

And while Braid was somewhat late to the party, winning his first Claret Jug in 1901, he certainly made up for lost time, with his five titles in 10 years including an emphatic success at Muirfield in 1906.

Braid had finished a distant third in the first Open of the new century at St Andrews, five shots behind Vardon and 13 strokes adrift of that year's Champion Golfer Taylor.

Taylor's victory meant he and Vardon had combined for six wins in seven years but Braid began to leave his own indelible mark on the Championship with his first triumph a year later.

His maiden title was secured by three shots over Vardon in 1901 as Taylor finished in third, the second of three occasions in which The Great Triumvirate made up the top three.

Sandy Herd and Jack White deprived the trio of the Claret Jug in 1902 and 1904 - sandwiching another Vardon win - before Braid regained the Champion Golfer title in 1905.

Arguably his greatest success, though, was his victory at the 46th edition, when he returned to Muirfield to become the first man to defend the Claret Jug since Vardon achieved the feat in 1899.

His second win at Muirfield, something only Sir Nick Faldo has repeated since, saw Braid once again lead a one-two-three of the Great Triumvirate as Taylor finished second and Vardon third.

A huge field of 183 meant Braid ended up playing late in the afternoon on the first two days, blaming his long wait for his opening 77 as amateur John Graham took the early lead.

Braid organised a friendly foursomes on a nearby course to fill in the time the following day before posting a 76, which left him four adrift of the new leader.

Taylor remained in front after the third round, but Braid made up a shot on his rival thanks to a 74, with Vardon also in the mix alongside the Scotsman in a tie for third.

Vardon fell out of contention in the final round after four-putting the first and taking a six at the second, finishing with a 78 to leave Braid and Taylor to battle it out for the title.

Taylor's game then deserted him at the worst possible time, with his wayward driving and erratic putting leading to a final round of 80 that left him just one shot ahead of Vardon.

While Braid went out in 38, a long putt for a three at the 17th ultimately helped him ease to a 73 and seal what was a comfortable four-stroke victory over Taylor.

By the end of the 1900s, each of the Great Triumvirate had four Open titles to their name - tying the record held by Old Tom Morris, Young Tom Morris and Willie Park Snr.

However, they did not stop there. All three added to their tallies in the 1910s, with Vardon finishing as the most successful and the only man to win the Champion Golfer title six times.

Taylor and Braid both won five apiece as only five other men claimed the Claret Jug between 1894 and 1914 - a record of dominance that continues to stand the test of time.