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Tom Weiskopf

By

Tom Weiskopf

Tom Weiskopf plants a kiss on the Claret Jug after winning the 1973 British Open.

Arthur Jones/Getty Images

Tom Weiskopf was one of the best-known golfers of the 1970s, and he later became a successful golf course designer.

Date of birth: November 9, 1942
Place of birth: Massillon, Ohio
Nickname: "Towering Inferno," because he was one of the taller players of his era, and because he had one of the worst tempers of his era.

Tour Victories:

PGA Tour: 16
Champions Tour: 4

Major Championships:

1
British Open: 1973

Awards and Honors:

Member, U.S. Ryder Cup team, 1973, 1975

Quote, Unquote:

• Tom Weiskopf: "My game never has been too bad. It's all just a state of mind. That's all it is for any of us."

• Tom Weiskopf: "I would run out of patience and try to do things that were outside my ability. I would beat myself occasionally."

Trivia:

• Tom Weiskopf shares (with Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus) the record for most runner-up finishes at The Masters with four.

• Weiskopf led the PGA Tour in scoring average in 1971, but did not receive the Vardon Trophy because of a rule in place at the time that only Class A PGA Professionals were eligible. Weiskopf's paperwork to get that certification was mishandled, so he was not yet certified and therefore ineligible.

Tom Weiskopf Biography:

Tom Weiskopf was known for having one of the best swings of his era, and his career was pretty good - 16 wins and a British Open championship. But just about everyone, including Weiskopf, felt his career should have been even better.

Golf Digest described him as having "a golf swing to die for, a mixture of grace and power." But a bad temper and his knack for becoming easily flustered cost him. "He was one of the most tormented players of all time, a linear perfectionist who somehow didn't attain the greatness expected of him," according to Golf Digest.

How does Weiskopf respond to such descriptions? When asked in that Golf Digest interview if he had made the most of his talent, Weiskopf replied, "Emphatically, no."

Still, Weiskopf's career was a very good one. "I had power, I had control, I had finesse and I had some guts," he said. He just didn't have the maturity on the golf course, in the late 1960s and 1970s, to make the most of those abilities.

Weiskopf was born a couple years after Jack Nicklaus, and followed Nicklaus through the Ohio golf ranks, winning many of the same titles Nicklaus had. He attended Ohio State University as Nicklaus had.

Weiskopf won the 1963 Western Amateur, turned pro in 1964, and first played full-time on the PGA Tour in 1965. His first tour win was at the 1968 Andy Williams-San Diego Open.

Weiskopf had four multiple-win seasons and finished as high as third on the money list three times before he retired from full-time touring at the age of 40.

His best year was 1973, when he won four tournaments in an 8-week stretch, including the Open Championship. He won seven times around the world that year.

Weiskopf's last victory was the 1983 Western Open, the same tournament where he made his professional debut in 1964.

Weiskopf was an avid big-game hunter who played on two U.S. Ryder Cup teams. What do those two things have in common? His best-known association with the Ryder Cup is the fact that he declined his selection to the 1977 team in order to go on a hunting trip.

He later played on the Champions Tour, although he admitted to not enjoying it much. He did win the 1995 U.S. Senior Open, however.

Late in his career and for a brief time after, Weiskopf worked as a television analyst with CBS. Broadcasting the 1986 Masters, Weiskopf was asked what Nicklaus might be thinking during Nicklaus' famous charge to a sixth Green Jacket. Weiskopf replied, "If I knew the way he thought, I would have won this tournament."

Weiskopf got into golf course design working with architect Jay Morrish. The two created many highly regarded courses together. Weiskopf now works on his own, and has many highly regarded independent designs, as well. His best-known courses include Loch Lomond in Scotland; Troon Golf and Country Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.; and The Ridge at Castle Pines North in Castle Rock, Colo.

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