In 1947, the future of the Ryder Cup was very much in doubt. The biennial event had been put on hold for the duration of the Second World War, but even after hostilities had ceased, it seemed a dicey prospect. While both PGAs wanted to resume, the British simply couldn’t afford it. The war had hit them very hard and golf was, frankly, pretty low on the list of national priorities.
It looked like the 1947 match, which was slated for the Portland Golf Club would be scrapped. But then an Oregon fruit grower and golf lover named Robert Hudson stepped up to the plate. In a remarkable gesure, Hudson offered to pay the British team’s expenses.
Hudson was incredibly generous. He not only paid for their boat and train tickets, but also for their lodging, meals, caddies and anything else they needed.
Going the extra mile, Hudson also took a personal interest in the British team. He met the British at the dock in New York and threw a party for them when they arrived. Hudson then escorted them on their trip by train west to Oregon.
And for many years afterwards, Hudson sent each of the British team members a large fruit basket for Christmas—a gift that apparently was greatly appreciated, especially because Britain remained under food rationing.
Hudson is remembered every year with the Oregon Golf Association’s Hudson Cup, which is styled after the Ryder Cup. He served on the PGA Advisory board from 1947 to 1968.
Hudson was a good sport, and I have an idea. I think that the Ryder Cup organizers should institute a medal to be given at the Cup to the player on either team who exhibits the best sportsmanship—and it could be called the Robert Hudson Medal. (I don’t think that they already do such a thing—at least I’ve not seen it in any material I’ve read on the matches.).