Who's who: Henry Cotton

  • Photo of Henry Cotton
  • england.png
  • Photo of Cotton, Henry
  • Photo of Henry Cotton
  • england.png
  • Photo of Cotton, Henry

Who's who: Henry Cotton

  • Name:

    Thomas Henry Cotton
  • Country:

    England
  • Lived:

    [1907-1987]. Born on Jan 26, 1907 in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire. Died on Dec 22, 1987 in Westminster, London, aged 80.
  • Original/Home Club:

    Aquarius GC, Honor Oak, London.
  • Occupation:

    Professional golfer, course designer, golf writer and instructor.
  • Turned Pro:

    1924 (aged 17)

Roll of Honour

MAJORS (3): The Open (1934, '37, '48). Ryder Cup player (1929, '37, '47); Ryder Cup captain (1947, '53). Professional tournament wins (30+). Awarded Harry Vardon Trophy as (British) PGA Order of Merit winner (1938). World Golf Hall of Fame (inducted in 1980). Appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire, MBE (1946), and a Knight Bachelor (1988), which carries the title 'Sir.'

Golf course design

Among Cotton's best known designs are: Penina, Portugal (1966); Vale do Lobo, Royal course, Portugal (1968); Felixstowe Ferry, England (1947 redesign, with Guy Campbell); La Moye, Jersey (1963, redesign).

Did you know?

Described as witty, handsome, intelligent, urbane and a non-conformist, Cotton was a very successful professional golfer, wrote 10 books, designed golf courses and was one of the most respected golf instructors of his era. He was also a lover of the high life, and was known for his debonair look and bespoke tailored clothes. In later life he enjoyed living on his estate, complete with butler and full staff, and travelled everywhere in a Rolls-Royce.

Henry Cotton MBE officially became Sir Henry Cotton (Knight Commander of the most Honourable Order of St Michael and St George) on New Year's Day (1988), one week after he died. He had already been notified of and had accepted the honour.

Top tournaments won by Henry Cotton

1954
Europe
5 & 4
£400
Penfold

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Venue

Maesdu

Score

5 & 4

Prize money

£400

Title sponsor

Penfold

Played as the Penfold Tournament (36-hole strokeplay followed by match play for the top 32 players). Cotton (Eng) beat John Jacobs (Eng) 5 and 4 in the final. [Llandudno Maesdu GC, Llandudno, N Wales].

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

353

Prize money

£350

Title sponsor

Dunlop

Played as the Dunlop 2000 Guineas Tournament (played over 90 holes). Second-placed Dai Rees (Wales) finished 5 shots behind Cotton (Eng). [West course, Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, Surrey].

1948
Majors
284 (E)
£150
R&A

Category

Majors

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

284 (E)

Prize money

£150

Title sponsor

R&A

The Open Championship (77th) (Jun 30-Jul 2). Second-placed Fred Daly (N.Ire) finished 5 shots behind Cotton (Eng). [Muirfield - The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, East Lothian].

1947
Europe
277
£150
Yorkshire Eve. News

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

277

Prize money

£150

Title sponsor

Yorkshire Eve. News

Played as the Yorkshire Evening News 1000 Guineas Professional Tournament (June 11-13). Norman Von Nida (Aus) and Henry Cotton (Eng) finished in a tie for first place. Bill Shankland (Aus) finished 6 shots further back in third place. [Moortown GC, nr Leeds, W Yorks, England].

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

288

Prize money

£300

Title sponsor

Spalding

Played as the Spalding £1,250 Tournament (June 4-6). Second-placed and defending champion Dai Rees (Wales) finished 5 shots behind Henry Cotton (Eng). [The Old Course, St Andrews, Fife].

1947
Europe
Chantilly (Veneuil)
285
x

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Venue

Chantilly (Veneuil)

Score

285

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Open de France (July 13-16). Second-placed John Knipe (Eng; Cotton's assistant professional at Monte Carlo GC) finished 3 shots behind defending champion Cotton (Eng). [Vineuil course, Golf de Chantilly, nr Paris].

1946
Europe
8 & 7
£550
News of the World

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

8 & 7

Prize money

£550

Title sponsor

News of the World

Played as the News of the World Match Play (Sept 25-28; for the first time the winner was officially recognised as the PGA's official Match Play Champion). Cotton (Eng) beat Jimmy Adams (Scot) 8 and 7 in the 36-hole final. [Royal Liverpool GC, Hoylake, Wirral, Merseyside].

1946
Europe
4 & 3
£300
The Star

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

4 & 3

Prize money

£300

Title sponsor

The Star

Played as The Star £1,500 Professional Tournament (April 25-27; 36-hole strokeplay followed by match play for the top 16 players). Henry Cotton (Eng) beat Arthur Lees (Eng) 4 and 3 in the 18-hole final. [West course, Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, Surrey].

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

269

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Open de France. Second-placed Flory Van Donck (Belg) finished 15 shots behind Cotton (Eng). [Vert course, Saint Cloud GC, Garches, nr Paris].

1940
Europe
37th hole
£300
News of the World

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

37th hole

Prize money

£300

Title sponsor

News of the World

Played as the News of the World Match Play (Jun 30-May 3). Cotton (Eng) beat Alf Padgham (Eng) at the 37th hole in the final. [Royal Mid-Surrey GC, Richmond, Surrey].

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

280

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the German Open (for the last time until 1951 due to World War II). Won for the third straight year by Cotton (Eng). [Mittelrheinischer Golfclub, Bad Ems, nr Koblenz].

1939
Europe
Queen's Park GC
292
£500
Daily Mail

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Venue

Queen's Park GC

Score

292

Prize money

£500

Title sponsor

Daily Mail

Played as the Daily Mail £2000 Tournament. Cotton (Eng) beat Archie Compston (Eng) in a 36-hole playoff (Cotton 141, Compston 145). [Queen's Park GC, Bournemouth, Dorset, England].

1939
Europe
18 pts
£1,000
Penfold

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

18 pts

Prize money

£1,000

Title sponsor

Penfold

Played as the Penfold £1,000 League Tournament (12 top British professionals played against each other in a league format; they played two matches per day). Winner Cotton (Eng) won nine of his eleven matches (and lost two) for a total of 18 pts. Second-placed Charles Whitcombe (Eng) also finished on 18 pts, but he won only eight matches and halved two. Defending champion Percy Alliss (Eng) came last out of the 12 players, winning only one of his matches. [Little Aston GC, Streetly, Sutton Coldfield, Warwicks].

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

282

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Czechoslovak Open (Aug 24-26; the last Czechoslovak Open). Second-placed Bill Laidlaw (Scot) finished 11 shots behind defending champion Henry Cotton (Eng). [Karlovy Vary GC, Carlsbad, western Bohemia, Czech].

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

277

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Belgian Open (July 12-14). Arthur Lacey (Eng) finished 13 shots behind Cotton (Eng), who recorded his third win in this event. Cotton had been the club professional at Waterloo GC (1933-36). [Royal Waterloo GC, Ferme Blaret, Rhode-Saint-Genese, nr Brussels. This course closed following the Club's move to a new location].

1938
Awards
72.87
British PGA

Category

Awards

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Venue

Score

72.87

Prize money

Title sponsor

British PGA

Cotton (Eng) won the Harry Vardon Trophy as the British PGA Tour 1938 Order of Merit winner. Award based on lowest scoring average in the season's top six professional events. Cotton's 72.87 was based on 16 rounds played; he entered four of the six events. Reg Whitcombe (Eng) was second with 73.35.

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

285

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the German Open. Won by defending champion Cotton (Eng). [Frankfurter GC, Niederrad, Frankfurt am Main].

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

279

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Czechoslovak Open (Aug 21-23). Second-placed Arthur Lees (Eng) finished 5 shots behind Henry Cotton (Eng). [Royal GC Mariánské Lázně, Marienbad, Karlovy Vary, Czech; at the time known as GC Mariánské Lázně].

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

274

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the German Open. Won by Cotton (Eng). [Mittelrheinischer Golfclub, Bad Ems, nr Koblenz].

Category

Majors

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

290

Prize money

£100

Title sponsor

R&A

The Open Championship (72nd) (July 7-9). Second-placed Reg Whitcombe (Eng) finished 2 shots behind Cotton (Eng). [Championship Course, Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus].

1937
Europe
279
£200
Silvertown Co.

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

279

Prize money

£200

Title sponsor

Silvertown Co.

Played as the Silver King Tournament. Second-placed Paddy Mahon (Ire) finished 1 shot behind Cotton (Eng). [High course, Moor Park GC, Rickmansworth, Herts].

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

281

Prize money

£150

Title sponsor

Dunlop

Played as the Dunlop-Metropolitan £500 Tournament. Second-placed Arthur Lacey (Eng) and defending champion Ernest Whitcombe (Eng) finished 3 shots behind Cotton (Eng). [West course, Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, Surrey].

1936
Europe
Sestrieres
268
x

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Venue

Sestrieres

Score

268

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Italian Open. Won by Henry Cotton (Eng). [GC Sestrieres, Sestrieres, Italian Alps].

1935
Europe
3 & 2
£150
Yorkshire Eve. News

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

3 & 2

Prize money

£150

Title sponsor

Yorkshire Eve. News

Played as the Yorkshire Evening News £750 Tournament (June 6-8). Henry Cotton (Eng) beat Percy Alliss (Eng) 3 and 2 in the 36-hole final. [Sand Moor GC, Leeds, W Yorks, England].

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

279

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Belgian Open (Aug 13-15). Second-placed Percy Alliss (Eng) finished 3 shots behind Cotton (Eng), who won this event for the second time. Cotton was the club professional at Waterloo GC at the time. [Royal Waterloo GC, Ferme Blaret, Rhode-Saint-Genese, nr Brussels. This course closed following the Club's move to a new location].

Category

Majors

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

283

Prize money

£100

Title sponsor

R&A

The Open Championship (69th) (June 27-29). Second-placed Sydney "Sid" Brews (RSA) finished 5 shots behind Cotton (Eng), despite Cotton's closing round of 79. [Royal St George's GC, Sandwich, Kent].

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Venue

Hesketh

Score

281

Prize money

£360

Title sponsor

Dunlop

Played as the Dunlop-Southport 1500 Guineas Tournament. Defending champion Cotton (Eng) beat Bill Twine (Eng) by 1 shot in a 36-hole playoff (Cotton 145, Twine 146). [Hesketh GC, Southport, Merseyside].

1932
Europe
10 & 8
£300
News of the World

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

10 & 8

Prize money

£300

Title sponsor

News of the World

Played as the News of the World Match Play (Sept 20-23). 25-year-old Cotton (Eng) beat Alf Perry (Eng) by a tournament record score of 10 and 8 in the 36-hole final. [Moor Park GC, Rickmansworth, Herts].

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

287

Prize money

£360

Title sponsor

Dunlop

Played as the Dunlop-Southport 1500 Guineas Tournament. Second-placed and defending champion Archie Compston (Eng) finished 2 shots behind Cotton (Eng). [Southport & Ainsdale GC, Southport, Merseyside].

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Cotton, Henry

Score

281

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Belgian Open (June 27-29). Second-placed Archie Compston (Eng) finished 11 shots behind Cotton (Eng). [Royal GC of Belgium (Ravenstein), Tervuren, nr Brussels].

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