Date: November 26, 2014
Author: Peter Stone @ The Australian

Great Scott it’s the first Open trophy

Donald and Hiliary Bowser were watching the Centenary Australian Open telecast in 2004 in the lounge room of their English home  – and were stunned as Peter Lonard was crowned the champion.

Lonard held the Stonehaven Cup aloft on the 18th green of The Australian Golf Club  – and the Bowsers looked at each other and then looked at the mantlepiece.

There was a replica of that very same trophy.

They knew what is was called obviously, but not its true significance in the history of not just Australian golf, but also world golf as it among just a handful of the oldest championships in the world.

It was played at The Australian’s original location, a links course in nearby Botany, and was won by The Hon. Michael Scott who immigrated to Australia from England in 1900.

An amateur, he bought a farm in the Warragul area in Victoria and was instrumental in the formation of the Drouin GC – and, in 1904, he was among the 46 players from England, Scotland, New Zealand who played the first open, or, as it was first referred to: The Open Championship of Australasia.

Scott returned home to England in 1911 and continued a quite brilliant amateur career that culminated in becoming the oldest winner of the British Amateur, at age 55, in 1933.

He then retired to Jersey in the Channel Islands in 1947 where he died in January, 1959, aged 81.

The Bowsers bought the trophy at a sale in Guernsey while holidaying in the Channel Islands some years before and, after watching the 2004 championship, contacted The Australian GC and offered the club an integral slice of golf history.

Obviously the club was delighted to take possession of the trophy.

Mrs Bowser said in a letter to the club: “We are glad the cup is going to its rightful home.”

One wonders just how many other of the Hon. Michael Scott’s trophies are growing dust somewhere without their true significance being known.