Top 10 Brits
The British may have invented the game, but they've hardly been excelling at in recent times – particularly in the majors. Mak Lok-lin trawls through the archives to discover who really were the finest golfers from these windswept isles
(2) Old Tom Morris
Thomas Mitchell Morris was born in St Andrews in 1821 and was a pivotal character in the development of the modern game of golf. He lived to be 86-years-old and witnessed the evolution of the courses, equipment and players themselves into the new century. Morris was involved in the development of every aspect of the game. As a player he was a central figure in the creation of the Open Championship, and struck the first ball played in the competition in 1860. He subsequently won four Opens. As a club and ball maker, he helped develop the innovations of the day, including being fired by his employer Allan Roberston for playing with the new “guttie” ball, which he started manufacturing himself. As a greenkeeper, he developed techniques for course maintenance that transformed playing conditions. He also developed the concept of entirely separate tees and greens. He also became the first dedicated course architect, travelling extensively to lay out routings all over the British Isles. After leaving St Andrews to design and build Prestwick, he was then instrumental in bringing the Open Championship to his new club, where it was held for the next twelve years. Finally, for the richest salary in the game, he was enticed back to his hometown and brought the Open with him. It was Old Tom’s presence and influence that made St Andrews the “Home of Golf” and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club the game’s dominant force, over its older rival, the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.
Written by Mak Lok-lin
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