Who's who: Young Tom Morris

  • Photo of Young Tom Morris
  • scotland.png
  • Photo of Young Tom Morris
  • scotland.png

Who's who: Young Tom Morris

  • Name:

    Thomas Morris (aka "Young Tom Morris")
  • Country:

    Scotland
  • Lived:

    [1851-1875]. Born on April 20, 1851 in St Andrews, Fife. Died on Dec 25, 1875 in St Andrews (age 24).
  • Original/Home Club:

    Prestwick GC, Ayrshire.
  • Occupation:

    Professional golfer.
  • Turned Pro:

    1864 (aged 12)

Roll of Honour

MAJORS (4): The Open Championship 1868, '69, '70, '72. Youngest winner of the Open Championship and of a golf major championship (age 17). World Golf Hall of Fame (inducted in 1975).

Did you know?

Young Tom Morris, as he is best known, was the son of Old Tom Morris, one of golf's greatest legends. A year after Morris Sr became the oldest player ever to win The Open Championship (in 1867, aged 46), Morris Jr became the youngest ever winner, aged just 17. Young Tom won the next three Open Championships, making him the only four-time consecutive winner of the Open.

When Old Tom Morris accepted the position of golf professional and greenkeeper at Prestwick GC, Young Tom moved with his family from St Andrews to Scotland's west coast. At the prestigious Ayr Academy, Young Tom studied alongside the sons of wealthy businessmen and noblemen. Here he built personal skills and relationships that would stand him in good stead in future years. He started playing golf at a young age on the Prestwick Links, and based on his father's growing wealth, skipped the traditional route to becoming a professional golfer, which in those days usually involved an apprenticeship as a club-maker and/or caddy.

Young Tom's extraordinary golfing prowess and novel ball-striking techniques (such as deliberately shaping shots with a fade or draw, and using a rut iron to create backspin) gave him four straight wins in The Open Championship. This feat has not yet been equalled. In his first Open Championship he recorded a hole in one, probably the first in tournament golf history. In 1869 his father finished second to him, creating a unique family occurence in the Open Championship. After winning his first three Opens (1868-70), he was allowed to keep the original red Moroccan-leather Championship belt. The tournament was not played in 1871, but when it resumed in 1872 the famous Claret Jug was presented to the winner. Young Tom's name was the first to be inscribed on the world's most venerable golf trophy.

In September 1875 tragedy struck, when Tom's wife Margaret (née Drinnen) died during the birth of their first child; the baby also died. Four months later, on Christmas Day, Young Tom Morris also died. The cause of his death was given as a heart attack, possibly brought on by having played a lengthy challenge match in terrible weather a few days earlier. Many say he died of a "broken heart" following his wife's death.

Top tournaments won by Young Tom Morris

Category

Majors

Winner (holder)

Morris, Young Tom

Score

166

Prize money

£8

Title sponsor

R&A

The Open Championship (12th) (Sept 13). Second-placed David Strath (Scot) finished 3 shots behind 21-year-old Morris Jr (Scot), who won this title for the fourth straight time. This was the last of Young Tom Morris's four Open Championship wins, and the first year the famous Claret Jug was presented to the winner. [Prestwick GC, Ayrshire, Scotland].

Category

Majors

Winner (holder)

Morris, Young Tom

Score

149

Prize money

£6

Title sponsor

R&A

The Open Championship (11th) (Sept 15). Second-placed Bob Kirk (Scot) and David Strath (Scot) finished 12 shots behind Morris Jr (Scot), who won this title for the third straight year. Having won three times, Morris was allowed to keep the red Moroccan leather belt, presented each year to the winner. In 1871 the Championship was not played. The famous Claret Jug was introduced when the Championship re-started in 1872. [Prestwick GC, Ayrshire, Scotland].

Category

Majors

Winner (holder)

Morris, Young Tom

Score

154

Prize money

£6

Title sponsor

R&A

The Open Championship (10th) (Sept 16). Second-placed Old Tom Morris (Scot) finished 3 shots behind his son and defending champion Young Tom Morris (Scot). This second of Young Tom Morris's four Open Championship wins. [Prestwick GC, Ayrshire, Scotland].

Category

Majors

Winner (holder)

Morris, Young Tom

Score

157

Prize money

£6

Title sponsor

R&A

The Open Championship (9th) (Sept 23). Second-placed Robert Andrew (Scot) finished 2 shots behind Morris Jr (Scot), who was aged only 17. This was the first of Young Tom Morris's four Open Championship wins. [Prestwick GC, Ayrshire, Scotland].

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