Max Faulkner

Flamboyant golfer who won the Open in 1951

Max Faulkner, one of the most flamboyant golfers of his generation, was also one of the most talented. Dressed in the most dazzling outfits, Faulkner won the Open Championship in 1951 at Royal Portrush. No British golfer was to do so again until Tony Jacklin in 1969.

Max Faulkner, golfer: born Bexhill, East Sussex 29 July 1916; OBE 2001; married; died 26 February 2005.

Max Faulkner, one of the most flamboyant golfers of his generation, was also one of the most talented. Dressed in the most dazzling outfits, Faulkner won the Open Championship in 1951 at Royal Portrush. No British golfer was to do so again until Tony Jacklin in 1969.

The son of a golf professional who owned his own course at Selsey, Faulkner played only one round of golf while serving in the RAF from 1939 to 1945. But after the Second World War he set about playing in tournaments with fun, adventure and a style all of his own. Once, claiming he needed to get blood to his brain, he walked from a green to the next tee on his hands.

He amassed a collection of 300 putters (many made by him), but his talent lay in his superb striking of a golf ball, whether with the driver or the long irons. It may even have been too easy; often he would experiment to give himself a new challenge.

Faulkner won 16 times around Europe, including the Portuguese Open at the age of 52, but the pinnacle of his career was winning the Open. Two rounds were then played on the final day and he had a six-stroke lead as he went in to lunch. A small boy asked for his autograph and for him to add the postscript: "Open Champion 1951". Faulkner did so and lived up to the boast by winning by two strokes.

"It was all I ever wanted," Faulkner said of his triumph. But during the following year's Open he knew he would never win it again. "Somehow the desire had gone."

Faulkner played five times in the Ryder Cup, including the rare victory by the then British team over the Americans at Lindrick in 1957. Faulkner was not playing on the last afternoon but rushed around the course offering encouragement and support to those who were.

His enthusiasm for the golf was constant throughout his life. He set up one of the first schemes for coaching aspiring young professionals and became a mentor to Brian Barnes, who would become his son-in-law, and Tommy Horton, both Ryder Cup players. He played in many exhibitions, gave many clinics and raised large sums for charity.

Until a few years before his death, he still played nine holes in 36 strokes at West Chiltington, Sussex, the club where he had a half-share. He was appointed OBE in 2001 on the 50th anniversary of his Open victory.

Andy Farrell

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'