Life of Tom Morris Chapter XIV - Young and Old
Tom in match play
WE have seen how Young Tommy
a boy made his public debut as a golfer at
Perth, and how, as a lad of only sixteen years of
age, he first came to the front in the professional
ranks at Carnoustie in 1867, where he played
against and defeated all comers. Soon after this he beat Willie Park, and began a triumphant
progress, which culminated in his winning the
Champion Belt three times in succession at
Prestwick. In his short but all-victorious
career he made what the Rev. Robert Forgan,
in the latest edition of his The Golfer's
Manual (a most admirable book in every way)
calls "the most brilliant display of golfing ever
known, and ultimately constituted him, not only
by the result, but by the performance, 'The Champion.'"
During these years of phenomenal success he
lived with his father at St Andrews, and many a
great match they played in partnership or as
opponents. Often, too, they would be out on
the links at the same time, playing in different
matches with some of the members of the Royal
and Ancient Club and their visitors, who were
proud to enjoy alike their play, their talk, and
their friendship. And at night father and son would talk over their matches.
Their comradeship was delightful and charming. The father
was proud of his son, and the son was full of
affection and reverence for the father, though he
could chaff him when he missed one of the short
putts which would have been easy of negotiation
to the lad. To chronicle their various matches
would be an endless task, so I shall content
myself with giving a selection of the matches
they played at St Andrews in the summer of 1872, many of which I myself
witnessed, or if I
was not an actual spectator I was playing on the
links from time to time during the summer.
On 4th July of that year Mr J. L. Small and
Old Tom played Mr Alexander Bethune, of Blebo.
Mr Small and Old Tom were successful in both
rounds, in the first by j, and in the second by
5 holes; they also won both the short matches.
On the same day Mr F. B. Elliot and Young Tom
"vanquished" Captain now Sir Alex. Kinloch
and Jamie Anderson in a round by 5 holes; the
short match was halved.
On Monday, the 8th, Mr J. Whyte Melville
and Young Tom beat Capt. Kinloch in 2 rounds,
in the first by 6 and in the second by 1 hole.
The short match in the first round tell to the
On the 9th Captain Oswald, of Dunnikeir, and
Tom Kidd had a round with Colonel Babington
and Old Tom, which the former won by 1 hole.
On the 10th an excellent foursome was played
between Sir Robert Hay, Bart., and Mr Gilbert
Mitchell Innes against Mr F. B. Elliot and Young
Tom. Two rounds were played and were well
contested; the first round ended even, but Mr
Elliot and Tommy gained the match in the second
round but only by I hole.
On the 11th Mr Elliot and Old Tom beat Mr
Charles Tennant, of the Glen, by 2 holes in a
match of 1 round.
On the 13th a fine foursome was played by Mr
John Blackwood and Old Tom with Mr Gilbert
Mitchell Innes and Capt. Kinloch. The former
couple lost the first round by 2, gained the second
by one, and lost the third (a short match of 8
holes) by 1 hole.
On the 15th Mr F. B. Elliot and Tommy won
2 rounds from Mr Campbell, of Ormsary, and
Davie Strath, the latter couple getting 3 strokes.
Next day Capt. Jackson lost 2 rounds to Old
On the 17th Capt. Jackson and Tommy played
a foursome with Mr Mitchell Innes and Davie
Strath. In the first round the latter were 3 up
and in the second 5 up, making them victors by
On the 18th Capt. Kinloch and Old Tom
gained 2 matches from Mr Blackwood and Tom
Kidd. Capt. Jackson beat Mr Elliot and Tommy
by 3 holes, and also beat with odds Tommy by
On the 20th a fine match was played by Capt.
Kinloch and Davie Strath against Mr Gilbert
Innes and Old Tom. Three rounds were played.
The first went to the former couple by 5 and 4
to play, their opponents winning the bye. Mr
Innes and Tom won the second round by 3, but
lost the third by the same number. Capt.
Kinloch and Davie were therefore victors on the
day's play. On the 22nd Mr Charles Tennant,
of the Glen, lost 2 rounds to Old Tom. On the 23rd Mr D. B. Wauchope and Jamie Anderson
played Mr John Blackwood and Old Tom,
winning the first round by 2 holes, the second by
6, and a short match of 8 holes.
On the 24th an interesting match was played, of which I give The Field's
report. It is interesting on account of the players and as showing the
style of reporting over thirty years ago, as well
as the attention which was then being given to
big matches. It is headed:-
GREAT PROFESSIONAL MATCH.
A splendid professional
foursome, which excited much
interest, was played on Wednesday over the St Andrews
links between the Morrises, senior and junior, v. Davit-Strath and Tom Kidd, the latter a young professional of
much promise. The betting on the match was considerable, the result being very doubtful. Last week 5 to 4
were offered in favour of the Morrises, but before the game
commenced the betting was even. The day was dull and
cloudy, but on the whole the weather was favourable for the
game, as the players were not oppressed by the sultry heat
which has prevailed for some time. The condition of the
turf was excellent, but in some places the green was rather
heavy with rank grass. Old Tom led off at half-past eleven with a line tee
shot, in presence of a large company of spectators, who afterwards accompanied the competitors round
the course. In going out the first hole was halved, the
second fell to the Toms; Strath and Kidd ran away with
the next three holes, thus making them two up. In playing
the sixth hole, Old Tom played a splendid shot, and laid his
ball on the table within a foot of the hole, which they thus
won. They also gained the seventh hole, and the eighth
and ninth were halved. At the turn all was thus square.
Coming in, Strath and Kidd won the first hole, the second
was halved; the Morrises won the third and fourth, making
all square. In playing the fifth hole Tom landed his ball
hard up in the bunker which fronts the hole, and Tommy
and his father failing to put it out with two strokes,
they gave the hole up, and it was agreed to count seven
as their score. The sixth hole fell to the Morrises. In
playing the seventh hole Kidd's ball went off the course,
and lay in a hollow, but Strath, with a splendid cleek shot,
laid it on the putting-green, and the hole was halved.
The eighth and ninth fell to Strath and Kidd, who were
thus one up on the first round. The following were the
In playing the second round Old Tom and Strath played
oft. At the burn hole Kidd holed a Iong put, and the hole fell to him and his partner. He
wvas fortunate in the
second also, for he played a dead stimy, and Young Tom
in putting holed Kidd's ball. The third hole tell to the
Morrison, Young Tom holing a beautiful put. Strath and
Kidd gained the fourth; the fifth was halved. In playing
the sixth hole Kidd drove into a bunker; but as their
opponents were also unfortunate, the hole was halved, each
taking six stroke--. The Morrises won the seventh, their
opponents the eighth, and the Morrises the ninth. Strath
and Kidd were thus one up on the second round two on
the whole match. Coming home, the tirst hole was halved;
Strath and Kidd won the second. In playing the third hole
both balls lay badly, but both were played out well, and the
hole was ultimately won by the Morrises. Strath and Kidd
won the fourth, the Morrises gained the fifth and sixth,
reducing Strath and his partner's lead to one up, or square
on the second round. The seventh hole was gained by
Strath and Kidd. who were now dormy two up and two to
play. The next hole the Morrises were bunkered and lost
the hole, deciding the match in favour ol Strath and Kidd
bv three up and one to play. They also won the last hole,
making them lour up on the two rounds. The scores
The players on both sides were in excellent fettle, and
drove splendidly; but Kidd far exceeded his opponent
in driving, his long swipes being much admired. The
Morrises were rather unfortunate in their putting; but
on the whole the play on both sides was capital, considering
the grassy condition of the green.
In the early part of August of this year (1872) some interesting matches
were played. Mr
Gilbert Innes and Major Bethune played Mr
John Blackwood and Old Tom 2 rounds. The
first round ended square, but the latter couple
won the match in the second round by 3 and 2
to play. Mr Elliot and Mr K. Chambers of
Edinburgh beat Mr Herman Ree and Tommy in
2 rounds by 2 and 1 to play in the first, and 3
and 2 to play in the second. Mr Gilbert Mitchell
Innes and Major Bethune again played Mr John Blackwood and Tom Morris. The
game consisted of 3 rounds. In the iirst round Mr
Blackwood and Tom Morris were 3 up and 2 to
play, and by the same number won in the afternoon. The third round, however, fell to Mr
Innes and Major Bethune by i hole. The match
was again played the following week, and again
Mr Blackwood and Tom had the best of it. A
capital foursome, Mr Dempster of Dunnichen and
Old Tom v. Mr F. R. Elliot and David Strath.
In the first round the latter won by 4 and 3 to
play and also gained the bye. Mr Dempster and
Tom, however, gained the second by 2 and 1 to
play and halved the bye.
Professor Tait and Mr Inglis beat the Right
Hon. John Inglis (Lord Justice General) and
J. O. F. Morris by 2 and 1 to play, but lost by
the same number in the afternoon. Mr Gilbert
Innes and Tom again tackled Jamie Anderson
and Tom Kidd, betting 3 to 2 in favour of the
professionals, who were 4 up in the first round.
They also won in the afternoon by 4 and 2 to
play. Davie Strath beat Old Tom in a single
bye and 5 to play; and the short match by 1.
Strath, 81; Tom, 91. On the 16th Tom and Mr
Gilbert lnnes played Capt. Kinloch and Davie
Strath. The weather was wet and stormy. The
betting was in favour of the former couple. Two
matches were played, the first consisting of 2
rounds and the second of 1. The first round
ended in favour of Tom and Mr limes, and the
second in favour of their opponents by 1. Mr
Innes and Tom were thus winners of the match.
The scores were:---
The play was capital and the scores good,
considering the stormy nature of the day. In
the afternoon the second match (1 round) was
played, when Mr Innes and Tom again won by 3
and 2 to play, and also won the bye.
The same day Sir Robert Anstruther, Hart.,
M.P., and Young Tom played a fine foursome of
3 rounds with Mr Whigham and Mr Robert
Clarke, and won all the 3 rounds.
Tom and Mr F. B. Elliot beat Sir Robert
Anstruther and Mr Robert Clark on the 23rd,
and subsequently several more rounds were
played between Capt. Kinloch and Davie Strath
against Mr Mitchell Innes and Old Tom. As the
latter weie considered more than a match for the
Captain and Davie, it was arranged that Strath
should play all the tee shots. Tom and his
partner won the first round by 2 (92 and 95), but
lost the second (89 and 87) and the match by 1.
In the second match and third round Mr Innes
and Tom won by 3 at the burn. Capt. Kinloch
and Davie won the return match.
Mr Gilbert Innes and Davie Strath played
Tommy and Jamie Anderson and lost the match
by 1 hole 89 and 90, 93 and 91.
On 29th August Mr John Blackwood and
Young Tommy beat Capt. Kinloch and Mr
Mitchell Innes by 4 holes in 2 rounds. Mr George
Glennie and Jamie Anderson were worsted in a
match of 2 rounds by Mr Hugh Alexander and
Old Tom by 4 and by 1. Mr Blackwood and
Tommy beat Mr F. B. Elliot and Davit 1 Strath by
3 and 2 to play, I round. Mr F. B. Elliot and
Jamie Anderson won a first round by 1 from Mr
Blackwood and Young Tommy, but lost a
second by 4 and 2 to play. Capt. Kinloch and
Old Tom lost 2 rounds by 1 to Major Bethune
and Jamie Anderson.
Early in September of this year Tom and
Jamie Anderson played a match of 36 holes over
the St Andrews links. Though rain fell heavily
during the day it was followed by a large concourse of spectators. In the first round Tom
took the first 3 holes and won also the fifth and
eighth. Jamie got the fourth and the rest were
halved, and so were the first, second and last holes
coming in. Tom won the third and fifth, and the
fourth and last three fell to Jamie, leaving him,
however, 2 down on the first round. Old Tom's
score was 42 and 48 - 90; Jamie's, 46 and 46 -
In the afternoon Tom took every hole going
out with the exception of the first, second and
sixth, which were halved. At the turn he was,
therefore, 8 up and 9 to play. The next 2 holes
were halved, so Tom won at the Eden with 8 up
and 7 to play. Jamie won the short match by a
hole. The scores were: Tom, 42 and 45 - 87;
Jamie, 49 and 44 - 93.
Mr John Blackwood and Young Tommy
played Mr F. B. Elliot and Davie Strath. The
latter couple won both rounds by 1 hole each.
In this year father and son were at Hoylake
and played a match of 36 holes against Tom
Dunn and Bob Kirk, representing England v.
Scotland, though, of course, all four players were
Scots. But Tom Dunn and Bob Kirk were at
that time professionals on English greens. Old
Tom and Tommy were 6 up in the first round,
but gained nothing in the second and won by 6
and 5 to play. "The weather," Tom Dunn tells
us, "was horrible, the ground being completely
charged with several days' rain."
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