Date of birth: June 16, 1821
Place of birth: St. Andrews, Scotland
Date of death: May 24, 1908
Nickname: "Old Tom," of course. Tom Morris Sr. is called "Old Tom" to distinguish him from his son, who is most commonly referred to as Young Tom Morris.
British Open: 1861, 1862, 1864, 1867
Awards and Honors:
Old Tom Morris Biography:
Morris was born in St. Andrews and apprenticed himself to Allan Robertson, considered by golf historians to be the first golf professional. Robertson made featherie golf balls, and taught Morris the trade. The two often paired together in matches, and according to legend, were never beaten.
When the gutta percha golf ball arrived on the scene, however, the two split. Robertson demanded that Morris join him in condeming the new ball, thus protecting the featherie business. Morris recognized the guttie as the future, and left Robertson's side in 1849.
Morris left St. Andrews to join Prestwick, where he served as "keeper of the greens." Prestwick hosted the first British Open in 1860, where Morris finished second. But Morris would win four Open Championships during the decade.
In 1865, he returned to St. Andrews as greenskeeper - a position he held until 1904 - and established a clubmaking shop near the 18th green. The 18th green is today named in honor of Old Tom Morris.
Morris pioneered many of what are now considered the first modern approaches to greenskeeping. He also was one of the first great course designers, taking a role in designing or remodeling around 75 courses according to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Old Tom Morris still holds two British Open records: oldest champion (age 46 in 1867) and largest margin of victory (13 in 1862). He played in every British Open until 1895.
Morris' son, who would win four British Opens himself, was born in 1851. But Young Tom Morris died on Christmas Day, 1875, just a few months after his wife and child died during childbirth.