Dai Rees

For other people named Dai Rees, see Dai Rees (disambiguation).
Dai Rees
Personal information
Full name David James Rees, CBE
Born (1913-03-31)31 March 1913
Fontegary, Glamorgan
Died 15 November 1983(1983-11-15) (aged 70)
Barnet, London
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Nationality  Wales
Turned professional 1929
Former tour(s) European Tour
Professional wins 39[1]
Best results in major championships
Masters Tournament DNP
U.S. Open DNP
The Open Championship T2: 1953, 1954, 1961
PGA Championship DNP
Achievements and awards
Commander of the Order
of the British Empire
Harry Vardon Trophy 1955, 1959

David James Rees, CBE (31 March 1913 15 November 1983[2]) was one of the Britain's leading golfers either side of the Second World War.

The winner of many prestigious tournaments in Britain, Europe and farther afield, Rees is best remembered as the captain of the Great Britain Ryder Cup team which defeated the United States at Lindrick Golf Club in Yorkshire, England, in 1957.[3] It was the only defeat which the United States suffered in the competition between 1933 and 1985.

Personal life

Rees was born in Fontegary, near Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales. He was brought up around golf, with his father being the head professional and his mother a steward at The Leys Golf Club.[3] His family moved to Aberdare, where his father had taken up the position of head professional at Aberdare Golf Club.[1][4]

During World War Two, Rees served as a driver for Air vice-marshal Harry Broadhurst.[5]


Rees began his career aged 16 as an assistant professional to his father at Aberdare Golf Club.[4] Rees took over as the professional at South Herts Golf Club following the death of Harry Vardon in 1937. Like Vardon before him, he remained in the position until he died in 1983.[1][6]

Tournament golf

In important tournaments, Rees won 39 titles around the world including four News of the World Match Plays, two British Masters, the Irish, Belgian and Swiss Opens, and the South African PGA Championship.[1][7]

Rees is considered to be one of the greatest British golfers never to win The Open Championship. He finished as runner-up three times, in 1953, 1954 and 1961, but perhaps his best chance of victory came in 1946, when he shot a final round 80 to slip into a tie for 4th place.[7]

Rees continued to play at a competitive level long into what would now be considered "senior" years, and remained successful, especially in match play tournaments. He reached the final of the News of the World Match Play twice while in his fifties, in 1967 and again in 1969, on each occasion beating several players almost half his age over 18 holes. He also had some success in stroke play tournaments, including a runner-up finish in the Martini International in 1973 when aged 60.[7] By the time the formal European Tour was established in 1972, Rees' best years had passed, but he still competed on the new tour for a number of seasons.

Ryder Cup

Rees played in nine Ryder Cups in total, and was selected for the aborted 1939 Cup. He had a 7-10-1 win-loss-draw record, which was well above average for a British player in an era when the British team suffered many heavy defeats.

Rees captained the Great Britain Ryder Cup team on five occasions, in 1955, 1957, 1959, 1961 and 1967. The most memorable was the 1957 event at Lindrick where Britain scored a decisive 7½4½ victory to break the United States' stranglehold on the trophy they had held since 1933.[8] Having regained the Ryder Cup in 1959, the United States would not relinquish it again until 1985, by which time the British team had been expanded to include the rest of Europe.[4]


In 1957, following Britain's triumph in the Ryder Cup, Rees won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, perhaps Britain's best known sports award. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1958 New Year Honours.[4]


In 1983, Rees was involved in a car crash on his way back from watching an Arsenal football match. He died several months later, aged 70, having failed to recover from his injuries.[4][9]

Tournament wins

this list may be incomplete

Results in major championships

Rees only played in The Open Championship.

Tournament 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
The Open Championship T31 11 T21 T13 12
Tournament 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
The Open Championship NT NT NT NT NT NT T4 T21 T15 CUT
Tournament 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
The Open Championship T3 T12 T27 T2 T2 T27 T13 T30 T14 T9
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
The Open Championship T9 T2 CUT T42 T38 CUT 36 CUT DNP CUT
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974
The Open Championship DNP CUT DNP DNP CUT

NT = No tournament
DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut (3rd round cut in 1969 and 1971)
"T" = tied
Yellow background for top-10.

Team appearances


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Dai Rees C.B.E". South Herts Golf Club. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
  2. "Mr Dai Rees - Major Welsh Golfer", The Times, 17 November 1983; pg. 14; Issue 61692.
  3. 1 2 "Dai Rees (1913 - 1983)". Golf Europe. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "Joe's success mirrors Dai's big day". Cynon Valley Leader. 20 December 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
  5. Hamilton, Nigel (1986). Monty: The Final Years of the Field Marshall 1944-1976. McGraw-Hill Book Company. p. 181.
  6. "Dai Rees, 70, Welsh Golfer; Who Led British Ryder Team". The New York Times. 17 November 1983. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
  7. 1 2 3 Alliss, Peter (1983). The Who's Who of Golf. Orbis Publishing. p. 289. ISBN 0-85613-520-8.
  8. Corrigan, James (17 September 2006). "Team-room tantrum a forerunner to the Thomas Bjorn Affair". The Independent. London. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
  9. "Welsh Biography Online - Rees, David James". The National Library of Wales.
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