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Garry Harvey might not be someone with whom you are overly familiar – but you’ll certainly know his work.
The R&A’s official engraver since 2004, Garry has etched the name of each champion into the governing body’s trophies – including the Claret Jug – from Todd Hamilton to Brian Harman.
Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Rory McIlroy are just a handful of players who have won The Open since Garry took over from his father, Alex, who had done the job for 34 years before him.
But for Harvey Jr, who started to cut trophies at 14, it wasn’t always his preferred career plan.
“I had a wee bit of success with golf,” he tells bunkered at Royal Liverpool during The 151st Open. “I was runner-up at the Boys Amateur Championship in 1971 then I won it the following year at Moortown.
“I even engraved my own trophy!”
Garry turned pro in 1976 and played the majority of his golf on the European Tour, where his sole win came at the Kenya Open in 1985.
He played in one Open Championship – the 108th at Royal Lytham – a week that ended with his father scratching Seve Ballesteros’s name into golf’s most famous trophy.
So how did it all start? Originally, the Open champion would have the trophy engraved themselves. Then, in 1959, Gary Player had his name etched in a font twice the size of anyone else.
In engraver circles, Player is known as the man who “ruined the Claret Jug”, and the R&A decided to bring it in house.
And when Roberto De Vicenzo brought the trophy back to Scotland 12 months after his triumph at Hoylake, he had yet to have his name put on the Jug.
“My father used to work for a jeweller in St Andrews,” Garry explains. “Roberto brought it in and my dad did it. He forged a relationship with the R&A secretary, Keith Mackenzie, and that’s what got the ball rolling.”
It’s a common joke, particularly on social media, when the TV coverage does its traditional peek into the engraver’s office to watch his handiwork.
“I wouldn’t say it’s nerve-wracking, but it is incredibly tense,” Garry explains. “Especially when the guys are snapping the camera over your shoulder!”
“What I do insist on, though, is that they turn down the volume on the TV – because if I hear things going on that can put me off. And I prefer to work in daylight, so I need to be by a window, though that does mean you get people walking past and looking in.
“Also, where I do the engraving, the floorboards can bounce up and down slightly as people are moving about the place, I need some stability.”
So has he ever made a mistake?
“No,” he says with a smile. “Not yet, anyway. It’s just a routine. Like any other job, you just get your head down and carry on.”
It takes “around five minutes” to engrave each champion’s name, and Garry, who uses engraver tools he believes are more than 100 years old, explains that the most pressure he felt was in 2007, during the play-off between Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington.
“Harrington’s name was by far the most difficult to squeeze on the trophy.”
We can only hope, for Garry’s sake, that Jazz Janewattananond is never crowned Champion Golfer of the Year.
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