Died: Dec. 22, 1987
European Tour: 30
British Open: 1934, 1937, 1948
Awards and Honors:
Member, 4 Great Britain Ryder Cup teams
Captain, Great Britain Ryder Cup team, 1947 and 1953
Henry Cotton: "To be a champion, you must act like one."
Henry Cotton Biography:
Cotton was primarily a cricket player in his youth, but switched to golf at age 12. Five short years later, at age 17 in 1924, he turned pro.
While he rarely played in America during his career, he became known to golf fans round the world with his 1934 British Open victory.
He anchored four British Ryder Cup teams, and in 1937 - with the entire U.S. Ryder Cup team playing - he won his second British Open. That season was his best, as he also won several other national championships across Europe.
Cotton played in only one U.S. Open during his best years in the 1930s, and was denied more opportunities by World War II. During WWII, Cotton served in the Royal Air Force. He organized exhibition matches with other professionals to raise money for the Red Cross, and following the war was presented with the M.B.E.
At war's end, he returned to golf, winning the Open Championship again in 1948. Along the way, he had also won the British PGA three times. He had played his first British Open in 1927, and his last came 50 years later in 1977.
Cotton was known for working extremely hard at his game, sometimes practicing until his hands bled, but also for his high living. He was a lover of champagne, caviar and tailored clothes; he lived for a while in a suite in a 5-star hotel, and later bought an estate complete with butler and full staff, traveling everywhere in a Rolls-Royce.
In his later years, Cotton designed golf courses and wrote 10 books. He also founded the Golf Foundation, which helped thousands of young boys and girls get started in golf.
He was knighted, becoming Sir Henry Cotton, in 1987 shortly before his death.
Henry Cotton was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1980.