George Duncan (golfer)

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George Duncan
George Duncan golf c1920.jpg
Duncan, c.1920
Personal information
Born(1883-09-16)16 September 1883
Methlick, Scotland
Died15 January 1964(1964-01-15) (aged 80)
Leeds, England
Sporting nationalityFlag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
Professional wins22
Best results in major championships
(wins: 1)
Masters Tournament DNP
PGA Championship DNP
U.S. Open 6th: 1922
The Open Championship Won: 1920

George Duncan (16 September 1883 – 15 January 1964) was a Scottish professional golfer. He was also a golf course designer. His much sought-after professional teaching and swing analysis skills lead to him being referred to as "the pro's pro." He won the 1920 Open Championship.


Early life

Duncan was born in Methlick, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on 16 September 1883. [1] He was first apprenticed as a carpenter and rejected a chance to become a professional footballer at Aberdeen to become a golf professional.

Golf career

Duncan was well known for his fast pace of play; he would simply walk to his ball, drop his limbs into his stance immediately, and hit the ball. If he ever studied the line and shape of his shot, he had done it before he reached his ball, for there was no pause when he got to it. As for practice swings, he regarded them as totally unnecessary and barely legal – close to practising on the course. [2]

1920 Open Championship

Duncan in the 1920s George Duncan golf c1920c.jpg
Duncan in the 1920s

In 1920, he won the first post World War I Open Championship at Royal Cinque Ports in Kent, in one of the greatest comebacks in Open Championship history. After shooting 80 in his first two rounds, Duncan was thirteen shots behind the leader, Abe Mitchell, before the final two rounds were played, but made up the deficit to win by two shots from Sandy Herd. [3] His rounds were 80-80-71-72=303. He is the last player to win a golf major with a score of 80 for a round. [4]

1922 Open Championship

Although he did not win the British Open in 1922, his third round of that Open was included as one of the 25 greatest rounds of golf ever played in the Guinness Book of Golf Records Facts and Champions. His third round 69 was only the third round shot under 70 in British Open history; a major achievement given the limitations of the golf technology of the day. He just failed to win the 1922 Open, eventually losing to Walter Hagen by a margin of one stroke. The scene of his demise was a dip in the fairway in front of the 18th green from which he fluffed a chip shot to a position five yards short of the pin. He eventually missed the crucial putt for a tie with Hagen, which led to the short position in front of the 18th being ironically named "Duncan's Hollow."

Ryder Cup

He played for Great Britain in the Ryder Cup in 1927, 1929, and 1931. He was playing captain in 1929 when Great Britain was the victorious side.

Death and legacy

Duncan died on 15 January 1964 in Leeds, England. [5] He is best remembered for winning the 1920 Open Championship.

Tournament wins (22)

Note: This list may be incomplete.

Major championship is shown in bold.

Major championships

Wins (1)

YearChampionship54 holesWinning scoreMarginRunner-up
1920 The Open Championship 2 shot deficit80-80-71-72=3032 strokes Flag of Scotland.svg Sandy Herd

Results timeline

U.S. Open
The Open Championship CUTCUTCUTT8T7T18T21
U.S. Open NTNT
The Open Championship 384T10NTNTNTNTNT
U.S. Open T86CUT
The Open Championship 15T2T6T6T28T21T1822
U.S. Open CUT
The Open Championship CUTT36CUTCUTCUTCUT

Note: Duncan only played in The Open Championship and the U.S. Open.

  Top 10
  Did not play

NT = No tournament
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place

Team appearances

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  1. "Births in the Parish of Methlick in the County of Aberdeen" . Statutory Births 221/00 0048. ScotlandsPeople . Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  2. Caddie in the Golden Age – Ernest Hargreaves
  3. Zullo, Allan (2001) Astonishing but True Golf Facts. Andrew McMeels Publishing, Forest Fairview, North Carolina. ISBN   0740714260.
  4. Bush, John (17 July 2010). "Notebook, Round 3: British Open". PGA Tour. Archived from the original on 5 January 2011.
  5. "Former British Golf Star Dies". The Age . Melbourne, Australia. 17 January 1964. p. 18. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
  6. "1920 George Duncan". The Open. Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013.