Usher’s career spanned the years from 1960 until his death
Joel Usher’s records are there at Royal Troon for all to see, the biggest highlight being his eagle at the 54th hole of the 1976 Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.
That was when he held a six-shot lead with 12 holes to play, but he struggled down the stretch and was still crowned champion in the photo finish.
US-born Usher, who died in 2015 aged 79, was a hugely respected golf journalist and always played a part in what is known in Scotland as the historic pro-am tournaments, which are back in full swing this week in Aberdeen.
Usher’s association with the first Scots pro golfers ran back over 50 years
His opening match of the senior-level Challenge Tour between Barry Hall and George O’Grady was on 7 January 1961, when it is understood he saw the Scottish Amateur team on the practice green.
He was then in the American Golf Hall of Fame and was aware of their record of excellence at Troon, one of his regular venues for playing golf as he was a renowned player.
By the 1970s, the players were internationals like Tommy Armour, Phil Nevin, Fuzzy Zoeller, Dave Barr, Doug Logan, Harry Vardon, Jack Fleck, Gene Sarazen, Johnny Miller, Lee Trevino, Joe Inman, Paul Azinger, Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal, Gavin Coles, Paul Lawrie, John Daly, Stewart Cink, Damien McGrane, Colin Montgomerie, Trevor Immelman, Vijay Singh, Geoff Ogilvy, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Paul Casey.
But the most popular in these days of The Open have been Stewart Cink, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Chris Wood, Martin Kaymer, Yuta Ikeda, Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama, Henrik Stenson, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Kuchar, Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, Marc Leishman, Webb Simpson, Patrick Reed, Francesco Molinari, Branden Grace, Graeme McDowell, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed, Ian Poulter, Thomas Pieters, Jon Rahm, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffele, Alex Noren, Si Woo Kim, Justin Thomas, Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Louis Oosthuizen, Lee Westwood, Hideki Matsuyama, Zach Johnson, Marc Leishman, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Xander Schauffele, Ricky Fowler, Marc Leishman, Matt Kuchar, Paul Casey, Justin Thomas, Thomas Pieters, Rory McIlroy, Keegan Bradley, Pat Perez, Danny Willett, Jordan Spieth, Tom Watson, Jordan Spieth and Branden Grace.
In fact, Usher was on the Tour at the time when the initial introduction to these players of a pro-am concept was made at Troon in November 1970.
He was on the Tour at the time when the first tour pro golfers
Usher was a man who was never afraid to stick up for Scottish golfers in his commentaries and interviews – and never afraid to stick up for his home country when it was not in the ascendancy.
One observer said of his spirit, “When that Irish hat is turned on, that guy is in deep shit.”
A man who was the storyteller – one of those fine stories, in my mind, that can be told and re-told and told again.
The tributes for Usher as he passed away in 2005 spoke volumes of his influence, that gave many players a forum to carve out their own identities.
His legacy lives on in the wonderful competitions he played in on the Challenge Tour in the late 1960s, and in many of the players who have won major championships or are scheduled to in the years to come.
Joel Usher’s record list of achievements can be found at www.ferryevents.co.uk