When Henry Cotton won the 1934 Open, it ended a decade of American domination in The Open. It also started a run of six British winners in a row, including Cotton again in 1937 and ended by Dick Burton at St Andrews in 1939.
Played before the outbreak of war, it was the last Open to be staged until 1946 so Burton held the Claret Jug for seven years. Perhaps the best years of his career were lost to the war – within weeks of winning he joined the RAF – but as a down-to-earth Lancastrian he was just grateful to survive.
“I was lucky,” he said. “A lot of those who watched me at St Andrews also went off to war and they never came back. Some of my friends didn’t make it either, I did.”
He went on to become the long-time professional at Coombe Hill in London. One of two golfing brothers, he was a big-hitter. That helped no end playing in the wind on the Old Course and he came to the 18th needing a 4 to win.
A long drive left only a pitch to the green and he hit his approach to 15 feet. He started walking after his putt when it looked like rolling a yard past the hole, but suddenly it dropped and he had won by two strokes from American Johnny Bulla.
Returning to St Andrews to defend his title in the 1946 Open, he went out of bounds on the first hole and finished 12th, 12 strokes behind Sam Snead. The following year he was fifth, having been fourth in 1938. For many years he held the record aggregate for a leading British 72-hole tournament of 266 after rounds of 68, 66, 64 and 68. He played in three Ryder Cups.