Hugh Kirkaldy beats big brother Andrew
There was many a fine contest between outspoken Andrew Kirkaldy and Hugh, his younger brother by five years, but none better than the 1891 Open over their home territory at St Andrews. On a day of bitterly cold east winds and driving rain the scores of the leading players were remarkably good, the winning aggregate of 166 setting a new record five shots lower than any previous Opens over the Old Course. But Hugh Kirkaldy’s two rounds of 83, which beat his brother and Willie Fernie of Troon by two shots, were nothing like the record 74 he had set earlier, when he had reached the turn in 33. That would be a good score by any leading professional today, but was achieved with the gutta ball and hickory shafted clubs.
Although big brother Andra beat Fernie in the play-off for second place, it was unfortunate that sibling rivalry had stopped him from claiming the coveted trophy. He had already finished second three times, losing a play-off for the title against Willie Park junior at Musselburgh two years earlier, and continued to challenge strongly until the end of the century, finishing third three times and fourth twice.
Although he was destined never to win the championship he played successfully for many years and became the first honorary professional appointed to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, a position he held until his death in 1934. By contrast his brother Hugh, Open champion of 1891, died of lung disease only three years after his victory, at the age of 29.