S.P. Jermain

1859 - 1935

Sylvanus Pierson Jermain’s legacy to the golf world extends far beyond Inverness Club, of which he was a founding member and the first president:

  • He was a pioneer, envisioning a broad system of free, public links courses.
  • He wrote the American Code of Golf, which modernized and simplified the St. Andrews rules and was quite popular in the early part of the 20th century.
  • Jermain is also credited with envisioning the competition that has become one of the greatest rivalries in international sports – the Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup is traced to Jermain, in conversations he had with George Sargent, following the 1920 U.S. Open, at Inverness.

George Sargent, the President of the PGA of America at the time, stated, “The credit for the idea should go to Sylvanus P. Jermain of Toledo, who made the suggestion back in 1921, the year after the (U.S.) Open was staged at Inverness.” Acknowledging S.P. Jermain originally conceived the idea, the event was nearly named after another Toledoan, Walter L. Ross, president of Nickel Plate Railroad, who offered to donate a trophy for the international match between Great Britain and United States. Later of course, an English entrepreneur, who sponsored the first match and donated the trophy, became the namesake, Samuel Ryder. So, Jermain had a profound impact on the game of golf, not only in the United States, but around the world.