Born and educated in Edinburgh, Tommy Armour lost the sight of an eye due to mustard gas during WWI. His golf career really took off when he went to America.
He won the US Open in 1927 at Oakmont with a 3 at the last to tie “Light Horse” Harry Cooper, who he then beat in a play-off. In 1930 he won the major that the great amateur Bobby Jones could not enter, the PGA Championship.
The following year he claimed the Claret Jug in the first Open staged at Carnoustie. At a monster 6,900 yards, James Braid had turned the course into a stern examination. Yet Armour equalled the course record with a 71 in the final round.
Like Jim Barnes six years earlier, Armour came back from five behind after 54 holes. Barnes, however, was lying second to Macdonald Smith who collapsed amid Prestwick being overrun with spectators.
Armour was tied for sixth after 54 holes and needed a special round to overtake all of those ahead of him, including Argentina’s Jose Jurado, who laid up at the last hole and missed from nine feet for the 4 he required to tie.
The “Silver Scot”, although a naturalised American by then, was the last Scottish-born player to win The Open until Paul Lawrie back at Carnoustie in 1999. Armour was a fine driver of the ball but putting was a weakness and he coined the term the “yips”, which he described as “that ghastly time when, with the first movement of the putter, the golfer blacks out.”
He became a fine teacher of the game and wrote two best-selling books, How to Play Your Best Golf All the Time and A Round of Golf with Tommy Armour. He was a deliberately slow player, saying: “Whoever said golf was supposed to be played fast?”