Bob Ferguson

Bob Ferguson won the first of his three Open titles within sight of the house in which he was born in Musselburgh.
  • He specialized in 'run up' shots with his putter

    Did you know?

  • 7

    Open Runner-up finishes

  • His prize for his first Open victory in 1880 was £7

    Fun fact

Bob Ferguson won the first of his three Open titles within sight of the house in which he was born in Musselburgh.

He was a caddie on the course by the age of eight and at the age of 18 had his first big success, winning the Leith tournament against all the best players of the day with a borrowed set of clubs.

He was supported strongly in big money, head-to-head matches and in 1868-69 beat Old Tom Morris six times in a row, but then lost three of out four to Young Tommy.

Ferguson was a softly-spoken man who hit cleek shots with thunderous force and putted so well from off the green that the stroke became known as the “Musselburgh iron”. He had to wait until he was almost 32 in 1880 before winning his first Open by five strokes.

The following year in appalling conditions of gales, rain and even snow at Prestwick, he beat Jamie Anderson by three and at St Andrews in 1882 he won by three again, this time from Willie Fernie.

He had now matched Anderson in winning a hat-trick of titles but his attempt to replicate Young Tommy Morris’s record of four in a row ended in a play-off defeat to Fernie back at Musselburgh.

In eight loops of the nine-hole course, taking in regulation play and extra holes, he lost by a single stroke. Shortly afterwards he suffered a bout of typhoid fever and though he lived another three decades, his ill health prevented him playing golf regularly.

He went back to caddying and tending his home links. “To be great in golf requires the gift,” he wrote. “If there is no golf in a person it cannot be driven in. He might as well be told to give it up.”

Venue
Finish
R1
R2
R3
R4
Total
Par
Musselburgh 1889
15
-
-
-
-
-
M/C
Musselburgh 1886
4
82
79
-
-
161
M/C
Musselburgh 1883
2
78
80
-
-
158
M/C
St Andrews 1882
1
83
88
-
-
171
M/C
Prestwick 1881
1
53
60
57
-
170
-
Musselburgh 1880
1
81
81
-
-
162
M/C
St Andrews 1879
6
89
87
-
-
176
M/C
Musselburgh 1877
3
80
84
-
-
164
M/C
Prestwick 1875
4
58
56
58
-
172
-
Musselburgh 1874
8
83
84
-
-
167
M/C
Prestwick 1868
5
57
54
54
-
165
-

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