Tommy Armour

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Tommy Armour
Armour in 1927
Personal information
Full nameThomas Dickson Armour
NicknameThe Silver Scot
Born(1896-09-24)24 September 1896
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died11 September 1968(1968-09-11) (aged 71)
Larchmont, New York
NationalityFlag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
Flag of the United States.svg  United States
College Fettes College
University of Edinburgh
Turned professional1924
Former tour(s) PGA Tour
Professional wins27
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour25
Best results in major championships
(wins: 3)
Masters Tournament T8: 1937
PGA Championship Won: 1930
U.S. Open Won: 1927
The Open Championship Won: 1931
U.S. Amateur T5: 1920
British Amateur T33: 1920, 1921
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame 1976 (member page)

Thomas Dickson Armour (24 September 1896 [1] – 11 September 1968) was a Scottish-American professional golfer. He was nicknamed The Silver Scot. He was the winner of three of golf's major championships: 1927 U.S. Open, 1930 PGA, and 1931 Open Championship. Armour popularized the term yips , the colloquial term for a sudden and unexplained loss of skills in experienced athletes. [2]


Early life

Armour was born on 24 September 1896 in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of Martha Dickson and her husband George Armour, a baker. He went to school at Boroughmuir High School, Edinburgh, (formerly Boroughmuir Senior Secondary School) and studied at the University of Edinburgh. [3] At the outbreak of World War I enlisted with the Black Watch and was a machine-gunner, he rose from a private to Staff Major in the Tank Corps. His conduct earned him an audience with George V. However, he lost his sight to a mustard gas explosion and surgeons had to add a metal plate to his head and left arm. During his convalescence, he regained the sight of his right eye, and began playing much more golf. [4]

Golf career

Armour won the French Amateur tournament in 1920. He moved to the United States and met Walter Hagen who gave him a job as secretary of the Westchester-Biltmore Club. [3] He competed in important amateur tournaments in the U.S. before turning professional in 1924.

Armour won the 1927 U.S. Open, 1930 PGA Championship, and the 1931 Open Championship. With Jim Barnes and Rory McIlroy, he is one of three natives of The United Kingdom to win three different professional majors. [5] His 1930 campaign was overshadowed by Bobby Jones' Grand Slam, and Armour seems to have been overlooked[ clarification needed ].

Armour also won the Canadian Open three times, a feat exceeded only by Leo Diegel, who won four.

At the Shawnee Open in 1927, Armour scored the first ever "archaeopteryx" (15 or more over par) when he made a 23 on a par 5, for 18 over par. It still stands as the highest score on a hole in PGA history. This historic performance happened just one week after he'd won the U.S. Open.

Retirement and later life

Armour retired from full-time professional golf after the 1935 season, although he competed periodically in top-class events for several years afterwards. He taught at the Boca Raton Club in Florida from 1926 to 1955, [6] for $50 a lesson. His pupils included Babe Didrikson Zaharias and Lawson Little. He was also a member at the Winged Foot Golf Club in suburban New York City, where he spent much of his summers. [7]

After becoming an American citizen in November 1942, [8] Armour played in exhibitions for USO and Red Cross during World War II.

Armour co-wrote a book How to Play Your Best Golf All the Time (1953) with Herb Graffis. It became a best-seller and for many years was the biggest-selling book ever authored on golf. A series of 8mm films based on the book was released by Castle Films including Short Game Parts I and II, Long Hitting Clubs, Grip, and Stance.

Armour is succeeded by his grandson, Tommy Armour III, who is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour.

Death and legacy

Armour died in Larchmont, New York and was cremated at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York but not interred there. Some modern golf equipment is still marketed in his name. Armour was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1976.

Amateur wins

Professional wins

PGA Tour wins (25)

Major championships are shown in bold.

Other wins

Major championships

Wins (3)

YearChampionship54 holesWinning scoreMarginRunner-up
1927 U.S. Open 1 shot deficit+13 (78-71-76-76=301)Playoff 1 Flag of the United States.svg Harry Cooper
1930 PGA Championship n/a1 up Flag of the United States.svg Gene Sarazen
1931 The Open Championship 5 shot deficit+8 (73-75-77-71=296)1 stroke Flag of Argentina.svg José Jurado

1 Defeated Harry Cooper in an 18-hole playoff: Armour 76 (+4), Cooper 79 (+7).
Note: The PGA Championship was match play until 1958

Results timeline

U.S. Open T48WDT13T38T9116T5
The Open Championship T5313CUT10
PGA Championship QFQFR32
U.S. Amateur QFR16R32
The Amateur Championship R64R64
Masters Tournament NYFNYFNYFNYFT37T20T8T12
U.S. Open 6T46T21T4T50WDT22CUT23T22
The Open Championship 1T17
PGA Championship 1QFR162R64R64
Masters Tournament 3838T28NTNTNT
The Open Championship NTNTNTNTNTNT
PGA Championship NT
  Top 10
  Did not play

NYF = tournament not yet founded
NT = no tournament
WD = withdrew
CUT = missed the half-way cut
R64, R32, R16, QF, SF = round in which player lost in match play
"T" indicates a tie for a place

Sources: U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur, [9] Amateur Championship:1920, [10] 1921 [11]

Team appearances



See also


  1. "Births in the District of Newington in the City of Edinburgh" . Statutory Births 685/05 1134. ScotlandsPeople . Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  2. Barkow, Al (1998). Golf Legends of All Time. Publications International. ISBN   978-0785328483.
  3. 1 2 Vamplew, Vray (23 September 2014). "Armour, Thomas Dickson [Tommy] (1896–1968), golfer". doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/65141.
  4. Davidson, Jack (11 August 2015). "Tommy Armour: the Scotsman who won the US PGA". The Scotsman. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  5. "1931 Tommy Armour". The Open. Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  6. May, Mike. "Golf @ The Boca Resort: Living, Breathing History". Go Golf and Travel.
  7. Harmon, Butch (2006). The Pro . Crown Publishers.
  8. "U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992" via
  9. USGA Championship Database Archived 21 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  10. "Amateur Golf: The Muirfield Week: Many Favourites Out". The Glasgow Herald . Glasgow, Scotland. 9 June 1920. p. 11. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
  11. "Golf at Hoylake: Amateur Championship". The Glasgow Herald . Glasgow, Scotland. 25 May 1921. p. 6. Retrieved 9 March 2011.

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