Aug. 4, 1904, in Leatherhead, England
Oct. 17, 2000
"Lighthorse Harry," or sometimes "Pipeline."
Awards and Honors:
Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
Vardon Trophy winner, 1937
PGA Tour money leader, 1937
Harry Cooper: "First you've got to be good. But then you've got to be lucky."
"Lighthorse" Harry Cooper Biography:
Harry Cooper is best known for two things: that great nickname, "Lighthorse Harry"; and for never winning a major championship.
Make no mistake, Harry Cooper was a fantastic golfer. He won 31 times on the PGA Tour, one of only 16 golfers to win 30 or more PGA Tour events. Cooper also posted 37 second-place finishes and 25 third-place finishes in his career. And while he came close in several majors, he could never actually bag one.
At the 1927 U.S. Open, he lost an 18-hole playoff to Tommy Armour. He also finished second at the 1936 U.S. Open, and in the 1936 and 1938 Masters.
As for the nickname: The famous sportswriter Damon Runyon tabbed Cooper "Lighthorse" because of his fast playing style.
Cooper was born in England, where his father had spent time as an apprentice to Old Tom Morris at St. Andrews. The family moved to Texas when Cooper was young, with his father serving as head pro at Cedar Crest Country Club in Dallas.
Cooper was a terrific young player, winning big events in Texas before he turned 20. He started winning bigger tournaments in 1926, and for the next 15 to 20 years was a familiar figure on PGA Tour leaderboards.
His best season was 1937, when he won 8 times and led the tour in money earnings.
Following his PGA Tour career, Cooper was a teaching pro at Metropolis Country Club in New York for 26 years. Following that, he taught at Westchester Country Club until age 93.
When he died at age 96 in the year 2000, he was the longest serving member of the PGA of America, having joined in 1923.