MUNGO PARK, the great-grandson of Willie Park Snr, the first Open champion in 1860, has saved, restored and preserved a rare golf book that details the very beginnings of golf in Argentina.
‘The Open Championship Committee of the River Plate’ dates back to the early 1900s and is a rare glimpse of how golf developed in that country. Mungo’s grandfather, Mungo Park Jnr, won the very first River Plate tournament in 1905.
It would go on to become the Argentine Open and is one of the oldest national golf opens.
Previous winners include Angel Cabrera and Roberto De Vicenzo.
“I am very happy that we were able to protect this rare book,” said Park. “It offers a rare insight into the growth of the game at that time. It is of personal significance for my family and I am happy to see that the heritage of the game in Argentina is now preserved for future generations.
“I would like to thank those who made this possible namely, the R&A and Masterworks Golf.”
The book was fully restored and re-covered in its original form, retaining and binding in as much of the original material as was possible, by the beginning of July 2012 - five years after Park was first told of its existence while visiting Buenos Aires.
He presented the book to Mark Lawrie, the director of the Argentine Golf Association during the Open Championship at Royal Lytham Golf Club that same month, marking the end of a journey which had started in East Hampton, Long Island, where Park, who now lives in Gloucestershire, first became interested in the foreign exploits of his grandfather (Mungo Park Jnr) and his brothers Willie Jnr and John.
All three, sons of Willie Park Snr, were exceptional golfers in their own right. Willie Park Jnr was the most famous, but his two brothers also had exciting careers at the frontiers of golf, as it became established in the late 19th century in North and South America.
The book has now been safely returned to Argentina, while a digital copy has been lodged at the British Golf Museum for research purposes.