Who's who in golf - Henry Cotton

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Name: - Thomas Henry Cotton
Country: - England
Lived : - [1907-1987]. Born on January 26, 1907 in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire. Died on December 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 (age 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

1954Men EuropePenfold TournamentMaesdu5 & 4£400
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].
1953Men EuropeDunlop TournamentWentworth Club353£350
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].
1948Men MajorsThe OpenMuirfield284 (E)£150
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].
1947Men EuropeFrench OpenChantilly285
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].
1947Men EuropeSpalding TournamentSt Andrews288£300
Played as the Spalding £1,250 Tournament. Second-placed and defending champion Dai Rees (Wales) finished 5 shots behind Cotton (Eng). [The Old Course, St Andrews, Fife].
1947Men EuropeYorkshire Evening NewsMoortown277£150
Played as the Yorkshire Evening News 1000 Guineas Professional Tournament. 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].
1946Men EuropeBritish Match PlayRoyal Liverpool8 & 7£550
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].
1946Men EuropeFrench OpenSaint Cloud269x
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].
1946Men EuropeStar TournamentWentworth Club4 & 3£300
Played as The Star £1,500 Professional Tournament (36-hole strokeplay followed by match play for the top 16 players). Cotton (Eng) beat Arthur Lees (Eng) 4 and 3 in the 18-hole final. [West course, Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, Surrey].
1940Men EuropeBritish Match PlayRoyal Mid-Surrey37th hole£300
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].
1939Men EuropeDaily Mail T'mentQueen's Park GC292£500
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].
1939Men EuropeGerman OpenMGC Bad Ems280x
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].
1939Men EuropePenfold LeagueLittle Aston18 pts£1,000
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].
1938Men EuropeBelgian OpenRoyal Waterloo277
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].
1938Men EuropeCzechoslovak OpenKarlovy Vary GC282
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].
1938Men EuropeGerman OpenFrankfurter GC285x
Played as the German Open. Won by defending champion Cotton (Eng). [Frankfurter GC, Niederrad, Frankfurt am Main].
1938Men AwardsOrder of Merit - Eurpn Tr72.87x
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.
1937Men EuropeCzechoslovak OpenMarianske Lazne279
Played as the Czechoslovak Open (Aug 21-23). Second-placed Arthur Lees (Eng) finished 5 shots behind Henry Cotton (Eng). [GC Mariánské Lázně, Marienbad, Karlovy Vary, Czech. From 2003 Royal GC Mariánské Lázně].
1937Men EuropeGerman OpenMGC Bad Ems274x
Played as the German Open. Won by Cotton (Eng). [Mittelrheinischer Golfclub, Bad Ems, nr Koblenz].
1937Men EuropeSilver King T'mentMoor Park279£200
Played as the Silver King Tournament. Second-placed Paddy Mahon (Ire) finished 1 shot behind Cotton (Eng). [High course, Moor Park GC, Rickmansworth, Herts].
1937Men MajorsThe OpenCarnoustie290£100
The Open Championship (72nd) (July 7-9). Second-placed Reg Whitcombe (Eng) finished 2 shots behind Cotton (Eng). [Championship Course, Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus].
1936Men EuropeDunlop-MetropolitanWentworth Club281£150
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].
1936Men EuropeItalian OpenSestrieres268x
Played as the Italian Open. Won by Henry Cotton (Eng). [GC Sestrieres, Sestrieres, Italian Alps].
1935Men EuropeYorkshire Evening NewsSand Moor3 & 2£150
Played as the Yorkshire Evening News £750 Tournament. Cotton (Eng) beat Percy Alliss (Eng) 3 and 2 in the 36-hole final. [Sand Moor GC, Leeds, W Yorks, England].
1934Men EuropeBelgian OpenRoyal Waterloo279
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].
1934Men MajorsThe OpenRoyal St George's283£100
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].
1932Men EuropeBritish Match PlayMoor Park10 & 8£300
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].
1932Men EuropeDunlop-Southport T'mentHesketh GC281£360
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].
1931Men EuropeDunlop-Southport T'mentSouthport & Ainsdale287£360
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].
1930Men EuropeBelgian OpenRoyal GC of Belgium281
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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