"Some men invest in yachts ... I invest in golf tournaments." Robert A. Hudson
Henry Cotton #1 man for the British
Robert A. Hudson *Portland Golf Club Member *Sponsor: Portland Open & Western Open *Brought PGA championship to PGC in '46 *Benefactor of the PGA's Ryder Cup '47 *Creator of the PNGA's Hudson Cup *True friend of all golfers
With the Ryder Cup in full swing today at Hazeltine Golf Club in Minnesota, now is the best time to toast on of the best friends of golf in Oregon, Robert A. Husdon. While he never improved much beyond a 16 handicap, he helped usher in the golden years of professional golf in Portland, Oregon. Both the PGA, USGA and the UK's equivalent R&A cancelled all of the major opens and most golf tournaments during the WWII years. While hardship from the war extended to all parts of the globe, the UK and Europe were still struggling to regain their footing from years of fighting. The U.S. on the other hand continued to experience the boom and just entering into the golden era of the 1950's.
One of the many traditions that had ceased as a result of the war was the Ryder Cup a team match play event established in 1927 between United Kingdom (Great Britain and Ireland and Scotland) vs. United States. This bi-annual event started 9 years after Eastmoreland was founded and 13 years after Portland Golf Club - where Mr. Robert A. Hudson would serve as the benefactor and single handedly brought the Ryder Cup back from the grave. The PGA is forever indebted to his tenacity and vision to make sure this historic match across the pond would continue.
This was not the first time Mr. Hudson played the angel to the professional golf circuit in Oregon. Just a few years prior, he rescued the Portland Open by sponsoring the event through his grocery store chain Piggly Wiggly. Side note - the Piggly Wiggly was a partnership between him and Mr. Meyer (brother to the famous Portland retail mogul Frank Meyer). What's amazing is Hudson wasn't much into golf at all before he was approached to be the sponsor for the Portland Open. His unabashed joy and charity, both treating the players well and the local charities, as he pledged a guaranteed $5,000 before the gate fees were even calculated.
The Portland Golf Club was coming off a banner year, having hosted the 1946 PGA Championship - the only professional golf major to be held in Oregon. (The U.S Amatuer beung held at Alderwood in 1937, Pumkin Ridge in 1996, and the National Public Links at Eastmoreland in '37 and '91 and Heron Lakes in '71)
With Hudson firmly added to the PGA's board of influence he offered Portland Golf Club as the host for the return of the Ryder Cup. There was absolutely no money available from the PGA in UK with all the war relief still underway. So Hudson decided to pay the fare for the entire UK team to travel to America on the Queen Mary, where he met them in NYC and travelled by Train over four days to Portland Oregon.
Queen Mary 1945 coming to port in NYC
Signed 1947 Ryder Cup Dinner Banquet Card British Team
With Hudson firmly added to the PGA's board of influence he offered Portland Golf Club as the host for the return of the Ryder Cup. There was absolutely no money available from the PGA in UK with all the war relief still underway. So Hudson decided to pay the fare for the entire UK team to travel to America on the Queen Mary, where he met them in NYC and travelled by Train over four days to Portland Oregon. According to Ryder Cup history, Britain's Max Faulkner -- who had requested the specific train route in advance -- surprised his teammates by citing American history along the route.
Author's note: Imagine that train ride. Oh golly - I can just taste the single-malt scotch with putting contests in the train carpeted aisles into highball glasses. Surely followed by all night games of poker and bridge and British tales of American history.
The American side fielded one of its strongest teams ever, with the Big 3 - Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead - joined by, among others, future Hall of Famers Jimmy Demaret and Lloyd Mangrum.
I can just about guarantee many of the Eastmoreland Wolves purchased tickets to watch a few matches and get some ideas on how to play the shots. Thanks to Robert Hudson the best in the world were battling it out once again on Portland Golf Club.