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The Life of Tom Morris
Chapter XIX - Tom and Bob Kirk & the Andersons


ON the 17th and 18th of March 1879 there was played a foursome between Tom and Bob Kirk against the brothers Jamie and David Anderson. The contemporary record says: 'The stakes being pretty high (40) and the men never having come together before in the same way, the event had been looked forward to with not a little interest among golfers, but notwithstanding the curiosity which had been awakened it is safe to say that in nearly every other part of the country thoughts were yesterday morning far enough away from golf. Not so in St Andrews, however; there the game would appear to be seasonable at all times, and accordingly, though the country around was lying whitened with snow, the players were enabled to start about noon, with a clear green before them, and accompanied by a large gathering of interested spectators. Of the play throughout, the two rounds which constituted the final half of the match, it may be said generally that the great share of credit was earned by Jamie Anderson, who was in his best form, and by Bob Kirk, who has, since his return

to his native green, got back much of his former rattling play. Tom Morris, on the other hand, did not give his partner the support he deserved; one of his favourite little mistakes in the putting having apparently caused him a good deal of annoyance. Davie Anderson, too, who wants the steady style of his brother, was at times rather wayward, though perhaps not more so than was to be looked for, in view of his comparative inexperience in such matches. In the early part of the first round the game went rather heavily against the Andersons, who, before the turn homeward, were 3 holes behind. It was, however, just at this point, when there was no saying what difference an additional hole placed to the lead might have caused, that Tom made his unfortunate slip, throwing away a 'dead' putt which, had it been taken, would have left his opponents 4 down. To this mishap was no doubt accountable the loss of the next 4 holes, in both of which Tom was strong with his putter, and so left his partner out of sight of halving when he came to play the final like to Davie Anderson. Then in the third hole there was more indifferent play on the part of Tom and Davie, bringing up the halving figures to 6, in which figure the next 2 holes were also taken. In this way Morris and Kirk retained their lead till they came alongside the railway, when, through shortcomings on the part of both their opponents, the Andersons were allowed to take the call in 5, making the game all even. Going to the Corner of the Dyke, the play was for the most part one long series of mistakes, beginning with a couple of 'topped' balls from the 'tee,' and ending with the missing of a short putt by Jamie Anderson, who, had he holed, would have placed his side to the good. A half in 5 at the Home hole completed the i round without advantage to either side.

"The scores in the round were:

"Goig outward in the second round, the Andersons again fell into arrears, their opponents playing most faultless game, and placing over their reckoning a series of figures worthy of the brightest and most genial day, and really surprising as performance's in cold and biting winter weather. As happened also in the first round, Jamie Anderson drove into the Burn at the start, and the first call accordingly went to Morris and Kirk, who finished with a pretty 4.

Equally fine was the style in which Kirk carried the second with a long putt in the same figures, thus bringing up the lead to 2. An exceedingly huge swipe of Bob's gave his side the advantage in the play for the third disc; but a little looseness on Tom's part in the putting brought the others to equal terms, and a half was declared in 5, as would again have been the case at the Ginger-Beer hole had Jamie not imitated Tom's example by throwing away a little putt. Game - Morris and Kirk, 3 up. The Long hole, on the other hand, was saved to his partner and himself by Davie, who, in playing a long odds in 5, finished very prettily and secured a half. The interchange of the next 2 holes Tom giving away the one and gaining the other by a beautiful approach to the High hole brought the players to the Short hole, where Jamie succeeded in reducing the odds, as it proved permanently, by getting better over to the green with his swipe than Tom. At this point, unfortunately, snow began to fall heavily, and soon spectators, players, caddies and the links were clad in one thick uniform of white-. Accompanying this fall, too, there was a strong piercing wind, which, carrying the blinding drift as it did across the links, made it matter of impossibility to play the game with any care or caution. In spite of this storm, however, the game was carried on. In the remainder of the round the holes were pretty equally exchanged, the High hole being lost by Tom's putting, the third by a foozle of David Anderson's in the long game, the fourth mainly by Kirk's ball getting a nasty rub, the fifth gained by a pretty steal of Jamie Anderson, the sixth halved by Tom, when matters were looking rather threatening, lying dead off a long and difficult putt over a snow-covered green, and the seventh also halved in 5. With 2 more holes to play, the Andersons in this way stood I down; but at the Corner of the Dyke, Jamie, with an iron shot, the like of which he seldom plays, pitched a good lying ball away from the putting-green into a ditch on the far side of the road, and with the ball, of course, the hole. At the Home hole, however, he made amends for this mistake by holing when playing the 'like' to Tom, leaving his side, after all, only 1 down on the day's play. The scores in this round were:

"Next day there was a great improvement in the weather. All traces of the snowstorm had disappeared, and the temperature was spring-like. The play was also or, perhaps, one should say consequently better. Mistakes, of course, occurred now and then; but, taken as a whole, the scoring gave evidence of increased steadiness and precision. In Kirk's driving there were, of course, one or two inexcusable slips; but, on the other hand, the determination with which he came out in the more difficult parts of the game more than atoned for any such occasional looseness, and stamped his appearance throughout as the most successful player of the four. Tom Morris, too, handled his clubs to good purpose, being generally ready to wipe out by strong driving and pretty iron play any little blot placed on the card through his aversion to 'dead' putts. To the Andersons fell the hardest and most discouraging task of any than can be given at golf the playing of a losing game from first to last. Handicapped as they were in this way, the brothers kept at their work very pluckily. In Jamie's play there was a lack of that nicety of iron pitching that has so often before stood him in good stead, and David was now and again slovenly in his long game; but neither the one nor the other was to be shaken off or broken down, Davie in particular proving himself as good at 'holing out' as any of the lot.

"Starting with one to the good, Tom and Bob walked away from their opponents in the finishing half of the first round to an extent that seemed to threaten speedy extinction of all the hopes of the other side. At the Burn, Jamie failed to lie dead in 4; at the second hole, Tom was extra good in his approach; at the third hole the stronger game was again on the same side, and then the lead went up to 4. At the Ginger-Beer hole, Tom secured a pretty half with a well-taken putt; and at the Long hole, although Kirk drew his ball from the tee, and sent his partner into the most dreaded bunker in the links, a half was in the long run called in 6. The next 2 holes went to swell the account of the winning side the 'Heather' hole gained by a beautiful shot of Bob's, which left the ball all but dead off a long drive; and the High hole being given away by Davie Anderson, who, owing to a 'foozle' of Kirk in driving, had the game in his hands, but threw it away by dribbling into sand in his approach. After the Short hole had been halved in 3 Bob improved his position still further at the last hole out by finishing with a pretty steal which placed the Andersons 7 behind. At this point, however, the fickleness of the game asserted itself, and soon it was apparent how rash any premature confidence would have been. In the first 7 holes in the return journey, Tom and his partner were only allowed to get 2 halves, and accordingly, in striking off for the Corner of the Dyke, Jamie and his brother were merely 2 behind. On the first green, Tom loft his partner with more to do than Jamie did; on the next, the Andersons were a second time within better distance in the putting; on the fourth, Davie holed out well, while Bob had again rather much expected from him; on going for the fifth, Tom topped his tee shot, and thus lost a stroke, and with it the hole; and the seventh Kirk gave away in a short putt. On the way to the Corner of the Dyke Jamie Anderson missed a nice Iying ball in playing his second, and though the others trilled somewhat with the advantage given to them, they secured the call in 6 against 7. The last hole being halved, the round was finished with Morris and Kirk 3 to the good. The scores were:

 

"In the first half of the second round Morris and Kirk retained their lead. At the Burn, after a good approach by Davie, Jamie pocketed the hole cleverly in 4.; but the advantage he gained in this disappeared on the next green, in playing for which he drove into sand to the left of the flag. In the next 4 holes there was a good deal of brisk fighting. At the third hole, Tom secured the call by deadlier putting: in the long hole this was squared by very similar play on the part of Jamie Anderson; at the Heather hole, Davie took liberties with the short game; the High hole was made good by the brothers through a fine approach. The Short hole was credited to the same side, Tom being wide in his drive, while Jamie lay within five yards of the flag, and the last hole out was halved in 4, leaving the game at the turn 2 up in favour of Morris and Kirk. As there was now not much preference to be given for the chances of the leading couple, the play came to be watched with great interest. This interest, indeed, increased to excitement when, in the first hole, Davie reduced the odds to one by an exceptionally fine iron approach. In going for the third flag, Davie unluckily made an awkward and fatal mistake by topping a cleek shot, but after two halves had followed this, Tom failed to take an opportunity of being 'dormy' at the sixth hole, and as the result was still left an open question, the hopes of the other side once more revived. At the next hole the prophecies of the most sanguine received some justification by the plucky way in which Davie holed-out in the like, to a shot in which Bob was disappointed in a bold bid for the hole; and the game was declared 1 up and 2 to play. The Corner of the Dyke hole was halved in an indifferent 6, both Davie and Bob missing holeable putts; and the Andersons were consequently left with the chance of halving the match by gaining the remaining hole, the others being dormy. After the long game, both balls being on the home green in 3, Bob playing the odds ran up to the edge of the hole, and Davie in the like had still the possibility before him of saving the stakes. In this important shot
he made a capital effort, but the ball ran past, and a half was declared in 5, giving the match to Morris and Kirk by I hole. The scores in this round were:

In the total score there was only a difference of 4 strokes in favour of Tom and Bob, 356 to the Andersons' 360. Mr T. T. Oliphunt, of Kossie, acted as umpire on both days."


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