Who's who: Willie Park Sr

  • Photo of Willie Park Sr
  • scotland.png
  • Photo of Willie Park Sr
  • scotland.png

Who's who: Willie Park Sr

  • Name:

    William "Willie" Park Sr
  • Country:

    Scotland
  • Lived:

    [1833-1903]. Born in 1833 in Wallyford, near Musselburgh, East Lothian. Died on July 25, 1903 in East Lothian (age 70).
  • Original/Home Club:

    Musselburgh Links (Old course)
  • Occupation:

    Professional golfer, club and ball maker.
  • Turned Pro:

    c.1850

Roll of Honour

MAJORS (4): The Open Championship 1860, '63, '66, '75. World Golf Hall of Fame (inducted in 2005).

Did you know?

Willie Park Sr, son of James Park (agricultural labourer & gardener) and Euphemia Park (née Kerr), was a member of a famous Scottish golfing family. He was regarded as one of the top golfers of his day, and won the first Open Championship in 1860, and three more Opens in 1863, 1866 and 1875. His son Willie Park Jr won the Open Championship twice (1887, 1889), while his younger brother Mungo lifted the Claret Jug in 1874.

Like several other early professional golfers, Park started out as a caddie. He later ran a golf equipment making business. On the course, he made his money in challenge matches, often played against other top professionals of the day, most notably Willie Dunn (also from Musselburgh) and the "invincible" pair from St Andrews, Allan Robertson and Old Tom Morris. Park was strong and tall, a long hitter and an excellent putter.

When Allan Robertson died in 1859, he left a void for the mantle of Scotland's "Champion Golfer." In 1860, the country's top eight golfers gathered in Prestwick to find Robertson's successor. That honour was surely shared between Willie Park Sr, who won the inaugural Open Championship in 1860 (and three more in 1863, '66 and '75) and Old Tom Morris (winner in 1861, '62, '64, '67). In the same year as winning his first Open Championship title, Willie Park married Susanne Law. The went on to have 11 children, among them Willie Park Jr, who became a golf professional, Open Championship winner, instructor and writer, and renowned course designer.

Top tournaments won by Willie Park Sr

1875
Majors
166
£8
R&A

Category

Majors

Winner (holder)

Park, Willie Sr

Score

166

Prize money

£8

Title sponsor

R&A

The Open Championship (15th) (Sept 10). Second-placed Bob Martin (Scot) finished 2 shots behind Park (Scot). This was the last of Park's four Open Championship wins. [Prestwick GC, Ayrshire, Scotland].

1866
Majors
169
£6
R&A

Category

Majors

Winner (holder)

Park, Willie Sr

Score

169

Prize money

£6

Title sponsor

R&A

The Open Championship (7th) (Sept 13). Second-placed David Park (Scot) finished 2 shots behind Park (Scot). This was the third of Park's four Open Championship wins. [Prestwick GC, Ayrshire, Scotland].

Category

Majors

Winner (holder)

Park, Willie Sr

Score

168

Prize money

Title sponsor

R&A

The Open Championship (4th) (Sept 18). Second-placed and defending champion Old Tom Morris (Scot) finished 2 shots behind Park (Scot). This was the second of Park's four Open Championship wins. [Prestwick GC, Ayrshire, Scotland].

Category

Majors

Winner (holder)

Park, Willie Sr

Score

174

Prize money

Title sponsor

R&A

The inaugural Open Championship (Oct 17). Second-placed Old Tom Morris (Scot) finished 2 shots behind Park (Scot). This was the first of Park's four Open Championship wins. He was presented with a red Moroccan leather belt; the famous Claret Jug was not introduced until 1872. With only professional golfers able to enter, the field was limited to just 8 players. [Prestwick GC, Ayrshire, Scotland].

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