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The Life of Tom Morris
Chapter XX - Matches of Tom and his son Jamie



Tom Morris in later life

IN this year, 1879, a professional foursome was substituted for the annual tournament at Burntisland. Tom Morris and Tom Kidd, as representatives of St Andrews, played the two Musselburgh cracks, Bob Fergusson and Willie Park. It was played on the 16th of August. The course was a small one of 5 holes, only 2 of which gave scope for 2 drives. The ground was more like pasture land than the usual sandy soil. The game consisted of 6 rounds. The first round finished with Fergusson and Park 1 up. In the second this was increased to 2 up. At the end of the third the match was all even. Then the St Andrews men took the lead, and never again lost it. The end of the fourth round saw them 1 up, and at the fifth they were all square. The last round and the match was won by the St Andrews men by 2 up and 1 to play. Tom and Willie Park then played a single a couple of rounds which Park won by 1 hole.

On the 26th of August there was a professional tournament at North Berwick 2 rounds of the links. The winners were Bob Fergusson (14), 154; T. Armadale (7), 156; Jamie Anderson and Bob Martin tied for the third place with 157, and, on playing off, Jamie won (3), and Bob Martin (/i). The next scores were: Ben Savers, 163; W. Cosgrove, 163; J. O. F. Morris, 164 ; Tom Kidd, 166 ; D. Grant and G. Paxton, 168; W. Brown, 169; W. Thomson and T. Brown, 171; P. Paxton and G. Strath, 172; W. Park, 173; T. M. Mnyers, 175 ; Tom Morris, 176 ; J, Smith, 177; J. Foreman, 178; R. Collins, 178 ; G. Kay, 182; T.
Beveridge, 183; T. Park, 184; A. Brown, 186.

On the 28th, James Allan, of Westward Ho! and J. O. F. Morris had a round at St Andrews, which Allan won by 6 up and 5 to play, the scores being 87 and 94. The stakes were a five-pound note. Next day J. O. F. Morris played Matthew Allan and Jamie Allan. In the first round with Matthew Allan both men were over the first green in 3, but Jamie won by excellent putting. The second, third and fourth holes were halved. All square at the Hole Across. Allan won the Heather hole with a splendid putt. Jamie's play at the High hole was "superb." He won it in 4 against Allan's 6 all square. At the eleventh hole both players were "dead" in a couple of shots; but Jamie, playing from the first half, struck the hole and then ran round it ; withal, his ball closed up the road to Allan, and a half in 4 was the result. Jamie won the end hole and turned 1 up. Jamie was, however, I down at the Heather. All even at the Hole Across. Then Jamie was 1 up and 3 to play. The sixteenth was halved in 4; and Allan won the seventeenth. All square and 1 to play. Both were on the last green in 2, but Allan was not half up with his putt. Jamie was "dead," and, Allan requiring another 2 to hole out, Morris won by 1. Morris, 89; Allan, 91.

In the afternoon Jamie Morris played Jamie Allan, but lost again, Allan being 4 up at the Dyke 2 to play. At the same time Matthew Allan played Jamie Anderson, who beat him by 3 up and 2 to play.

On the 30th the brothers Allan played J. O. F. Morris and Jamie Anderson. Betting was about equal. At the turn in the first round they were all square, Anderson seemingly having thrown away 2 holes by indifferent putting. At the fifteenth they were still all square. "A stymie at the turn and bad luck at the end were the fate of St Andrews, and Westward Ho ! stood 2 up on the round the Allans 90, Morris and Anderson 91. In the second round the Allans had at the turn increased their advantage to 3, and they were 4 up with 5 to play. At the next hole the match was still kept open by the St Andrews men winning in 4; then it stood 2 up and 3 to play for the Allans. The third hole, however, was won by the Allans, and the match by 3 and 2 to play."


On the 1st of September a return match was played. "The performance, however, was not up to Saturday's. The Allans made more mistakes, and Anderson's driving was a little weak, and Morris's putting notably unsteady. The St Andrews men started for home 1 up, but lost the tenth and won the eleventh hole. The round ended with them being 1 up. Beginning the second round, the Allans ran away with the first 3 holes. They were 2 up at the turn. They gained the tenth, and then were 3 up. They were, however, only 1 up and 4 to play all square and 3 to play. A half-stymie made Morris shy of the hole, and the Allans again led by 1. All square and i to play. At one time it appeared that St Andrews was to win, but a stymie once again interposed and gave a half a halved match. The stakes were 10."

A single was played between Jamie Anderson and Matthew Allan, which Jamie won by 3 up and 1 to play.

Next day the foursome was played for the third time. It took place in a gale of wind all the skill and caution of the players being needed to keep the course and to make the necessary allowance on the putting-green. At first the Allans seemed a little puzzled with the wind, but afterwards they settled down into a good steady game as the number of holes that were halved showed. Anderson played a deadly short game, while Morris's putting when occasion required was all that could be wished for. The St Andrews men were 3 up and 6 to play. Both sides experienced the same fate by being bunkered off the tee in going to the next hole, and after 3 intervening strokes, each made good putts for the hole, which was halved in 5. The Ginger-Beer hole was likely to go to Westward Ho! but Anderson made it a half by a good putt. The next hole in brought the match to a close by a remarkable stroke of Jamie Anderson's. He was lying about eighty yards from the hole, and he achieved the almost unprecedented feat of holing. It elicited a round of applause from the spectators. The match thus ended in favour of St Andrews by 4 up and 3 to play. As the Allans won the first match and halved the second, the players were thus all square on matches.

In October 1879 a tournament was held at Alnmouth, in which Tom Morris took part. A contemporary record tells us that it attracted much interest "at this beautiful Northumberland watering-place"; and adds that it was "chiefly through the Alnmouth Club the ancient game of golf has been introduced into Northumberland." Owing to a variety of circumstances, the number of entries fell short of what was anticipated, but what was wanting in numbers was, according to the reporter, "forth-coming in quality, for, among the eight who entered were Jamie Anderson, of St Andrews, the champion golfer, who has won the Champion belt three years in succession it had ceased to be a 'belt' long ere this, however; Bob Fergusson, of Musselburgh; Tom Morris, of St Andrews; and Mungo Park, the respected professional of the Almnouth Club; while among the lesser lights were young Ben Savers, of Leith, who is justly regarded as the coming champion; John Campbell of Musselburgh; W. Park, jun., and G. Rochester, of Almnouth." Jamie Anderson and Mungo Park led off, followed by Bob Fergusson and Tom Morris. The record says that "It should be mentioned that Morris did not feel himself at home on the links, and perhaps he did not play up to his best form." He did not get one of the prizes. Jamie Anderson and Bob Fergusson tied for the first place, Mungo Park was third and Ben Sayers fourth. On playing off the tee, Bob Fergusson won. While the tie was in progress, Tom and Mungo Park had a couple of rounds, and Mungo had a stroke to the good 84 against Tom's 85.

In September of the next year 1880 there was a second tournament at Almnouth. Of Tom's play on this occasion it is said: ' From Tom Morris a good game was expected after his brisk performance at North Berwick a fortnight ago, and it was thought that his partner, Mungo Park, might be able to derive some advantage from his superior knowledge of the green; but, as it proved, neither of these forecasts was borne out, Tom quite failing to remind one of his old style, and Mungo being inclined to play a loose game, to which the condition of the green was at once fatal. Four rounds were played, and the prizemen were as follows: Bob Martin, 168; W. Doleman, 170; Jamie Anderson, 171; Bob Fergusson, 174; Ben Sayers, 175; Mungo Park tied for the sixth place with four others with 182. Tom tied with his son Jamie with 188; Hunter and the two Parks, father and son, being better than they by a few strokes."

The year after this, September 1881, Tom did somewhat better at Alnmouth. The order on this occasion was: Fergusson, 160; Martin, 163; W. Park, jun., Kirk and Mungo Park each 172; Cosgrove, 173. Tom was not in the prize-list, but came next with 174, tying with Jamie Anderson. Willie Park, sen., was 175, and Ben Sayers 178.

Tom does not appear to have been present at the Alnmouth Tournament in September 1882, when the premier position was won by W. Fernie, then at Dumfries, now at Troon, with 166. Bob Fergusson and W. Park, jun. (Ryton), were next with 169. On this occasion a match for 5 a-side was played between Park, jun., and Sayers, 1 round. Park won by 1 hole scores 41 and 42. "The play throughout was excellent."

In August 1880 there was a series of professional matches played at North Berwick. Tom was unable to go for the competition, but on the Saturday, 28th August, he went over to play with Bob Martin as partner against Bob Fergusson, of Musselburgh, and Ben Savers, of Feith, who had won the chief prize on the previous day. The record of the time says: "The match was thus representative of the two links North Berwick and St Andrews and it would scarcely have been possible to have procured better representatives of the two greens. The play was chiefly remarkable for the careful and steady game of the St Andrews veteran, who commenced play immediately on his arrival at the station. The green was in the same hard and slippery condition as on the previous day, and putting at all the holes was difficult and even hazardous. Old Tom experienced this at the first hole, where a well-played iron shot most unexpectedly ran a yard too far and into the road Martin redeeming the misfortune with a capital deck shot, which opened up the hole. Here Tom was again too far with his putt, and the hole was won by Fergusson  and Sayers with an excellent 4. The next 2 holes fell to the St Andrews players, and matters went pretty evenly, though generally with a slight lead for the St Andrews men, until the latter, by winning the (late hole, were 1 up and 2 to play. Their opponents, however, won the next 2, and the first round finished with Tom and Martin 1 up. In the second round they increased their advantage and were 4 up and 7 to play; and they eventually won the match by 3 up and 2 to play." The record continues: "The play all through was not quite up to the best professional form on account of the difficult state of the green, which made any bold attempts to hole out impossible. Tom Morris, however, showed to very great advantage by playing all through with great skill and judgment, and his well-earned victory was well received by the dense crowd of visitors who followed the match."

At the Autumn Meeting at St Andrews in September 1881, Tom took part in an interesting match, in which he and Mr Everard were opposed by Mr Mure Fergusson and Jamie Anderson. A contemporary account of it says: "A lot of money was betted on the result." At the Hole Across on the first round going out, Mr Fergusson and Jamie stood 3 up. After this, Mr Everard and Tom exhibited some fine play, and "at the turn the match was all square." Returning, the advantage again lay with Mr Fergusson and Jamie, who won the Short hole in 3. Two halves followed, and then again the same players added to their majority. From this point to the finish, all the holes were halved- -an evidence of the closeness of the match. At the end of the first round Jamie and hi^ partner were 2 up. In the second round, Tom and .Mr Everard had the pull and turned I up. Coming in, at the Burn, the match stood all even and i to play. To the last hole Tom and Mr Everard took 6, while 5 was enough for Jamie and Mr Fergusson, who thus won the match by 1, and, on the day's play, by 3 holes.

Tom played for the Championship in 1883. It was held at Musselburgh. The 4 rounds ended in Bob Fergusson and Willie Fernie tying for the first place with 158. W. Brown and N. Pringle were third and fourth with 160 and 161. Then came W. Lamplock and G. Paxton with 163. The other scores were: Ben Savers, 164; W. Park, jun., 165; Wm. Dunn, 166; and Tom Morris and several others 167. The tie was won by Ferine, after a very close match 158 to Fergusson's competition took place at his old links Prestwick. On this occasion he tied with his son Jamie, but both were pretty far down in the list 174. The Championship was won by J. Simpson with 160. Douglas Rolland, fresh from his victory over Mr Johnny Ball, tied for the second place with Willie Fernie, with 164.

Early in May 1885, Tom's son, Jamie, had a match of 2 rounds at St Andrews with Willie Campbell. It was felt that both men we're pretty well matched, but it was thought that Jamie's knowledge of the links would give him the advantage. He did not, however, altogether justify expectations, for he frequently had difficulty in keeping the course. He had, however, often the advantage on the putting-green. The first round was finished with Campbell 1 up Campbell, 85; Morris, 86. In the second round Campbell improved his position, and was dormy 6 coming home. Jamie then tackled to his work and took the next 3 holes. At the Dyke hole, however, he could get only a half, and Campbell won the match by 3 up and 2 to play his lead in the first round. The second round being halved, they played a short match of four holes, which Jamie gained by I. Scores for second round: Morris, 88; Campbell, 90.

On the 11th of May, Jamie Morris and Jack Kirkaldy played Jack Simpson, Klie, and Bernard Sayers, Musselburgh. The record says: " Golfers as a rule were quite at sea as to the merits of the respective couples, and betting was about even. As it turned out, however, the strangers had by far the best of the game, and it may be questioned if their record in the first part of the journey in the second round was ever equalled in foursome play. In the first round the visitors turned 4 up and won the round by 3. In the second round, Simpson and Sayers never gave a chance, and won coming home, at the high hole, by 9 up and 7 to play."

The four then played a round for prizes, which resulted: Simpson, 90; Jack Kirkaldy, 90; Morris, 91; Sayers, 98.

In August 1885 a "very exciting" foursome was played between Bob Martin and Mr Hunter. Tom Morris's son-in-law, and Mr Everard and Peter Fernie. The winners were Mr Hunter and Bob Martin, with the fine score of 81. Then a match was played, " attended with much excitement, and on the result of which bets were freely offered and accepted," the players being, on the one side Colonel Boothby and Tom Morris, and on the other Messrs Everard and Hunter. The veteran winners, Colonel Boothby and Tom Morris, whose united age, it may be stated, was then 120 years, gained the match by 3 holes.

The Championship for 1885 was played at St Andrews on the 3rd of October. It was won by Bob Martin, St Andrews, with a total for the 2 rounds of 171. Then followed Archie Simpson, Carnoustie, with 172; David Ayton, St Andrews, 173,; W. Fernie, Felixstowe; Willie Park, jun., Musselburgh, and Bob Simpson, Carnoustie, tied at 174. Then came T. Burns, St Andrews, and John Paxton, with 175 and 176. The rest of the prize-winners were: Willie Campbell, Musselburgh, and J. O. F. Morris, St Andrews, who tied at 177. Several amateurs came in before Old Tom, who took 190. Mr Horace Hutchinson was 178, Mr E. Laidlay, 179; Mr Leslie Balfour, 181; Mr Evcrard, 182; Mr Mure Fcrgusson, 187; Mr W. H. Goff, 188; Mr Ball did not give in his card.

By the time which I have reached 1886-87 Tom was sixty-five years of age longer, as he himself put it to me on one occasion, than "most fowk get leeving, far less gowfing."

The year 1886 saw a succession of great contests between his son Jamie and Willie Campbell, of Musselburgh; home and home matches for 25 a-side. The first began at Musselburgh on the 3rd of June, and 4 rounds were played. At the end of the first they were all even. The second round finished with Campbell 1 up. This, in the third round, was increased to 2. The last round was halved; leaving the position Campbell 2 up, at Musselburgh. The first round at St Andrews was halved. Jamie had the best of the second round, and the combatants were all even and i to play. Then came an exciting finish, and a hard one for Campbell, as it turned out. At the home hole they were both lying on the green in 3, and Morris, in his fourth, lay on the edge of the hole a dead stymie to Campbell, who was short by a club's length. The position was an extremely difficult one, and Campbell, giving up any chance of being able to "loft" his ball over the other and so drop into the hole, attempted to screw round the side, but only succeeded in sotting the balls, as the reporter put it, "cheek by jowl," and thus lost the match by 1 hole.

A return match was played over the links of St Andrews and North Berwick. Commencing at St Andrews, Campbell was again 2 up on the first round, and increased his lead to 4 in the second. At the Dyke hole in the second round he turned the tables on Jamie by leaving him a dead stymie, which Morris failed, as Campbell did in the previous match, to negotiate. At North Berwick, in the first round, Campbell gained another hole, and was 4 up, with 18 to play. In the second round he won with 7 up and 5 to play, and also gained the bye by 2 and 1 to play.

In August of this year (1886) there was a big tournament at Troon amateur and professional. The professional competition was won by W. Park, jun., with a score of two 74's 148. He was closely followed by Bob Fergusson with 140, A. Simpson, 153; Fernie, 154.; T. Simpson and Willie Campbell, 155; Jamie Morris was 157, and his father 165. At this meeting Willie Dunn beat both father and son.

The Amateur Championship was this year held at St Andrews, on 21st September. The players were started by Old Tom. It was won by Mr Horace Hutchinson. At a professional competition in October, which was won by Jack Simpson (Carnoustie), neither Tom nor Jamie distinguished themselves; nor did they at a similar competition later on at North Berwick. On the 13th October Willie Fernie beat Jamie Morris by 5 up and 4 to play. In the second round Fernie was home in 76, Morris in 79. The Open Championship was held this year at Musselburgh, as late as November. It was won by David Brown in 157 strokes. Jamie Morris was 163, and Old Tom 173.

At St Andrews, in May 1887, Mr Faidlay won the Bombay Medal in 86 (Mr Hutchinson was first with 84), and played several notable matches. He played the best of the two balls, Old Tom and Jamie Anderson. At the fourth hole, Tom, in putting, alter striking the ball, exclaimed, "I've missed the ball!" The ball, however, found the hole, and the incident drew from one of the gentlemen overlooking the match the remark, "Give a few misses like that, old man." Tom and Jamie Anderson won by 4 holes: Tom, 87; Jamie Anderson, 84; Mr Laidlay, 88. He then played the best balls of Mr Kverard and Tom, 3 rounds, winning one and losing two.

In the spring of 1887 Jamie Morris and Archie Simpson, of Carnoustie, on the latter's green, had a tussle for 25. The first round went to Simpson with 3 to spare, and he eventually won at Carnoustie by 7. The first round at St Andrews was halved 83 each. In the last round Simpson won by 9 up and 7 to play. Simpson's score was 81, Morris's 86.

The Championship of 1887 was played at Prestwick in September, and was won by Willie Park with 161, Bob Martin 162, Willie. Campbell 164, and Mr Laidlay 166. Tom played, but did not return his score, and Jamie does not appear to have been present. Neither seems to have been at Alnmouth later in the month, when Park again secured first honours. Later on in the year Jamie played a three-ball match with Archie Simpson (Carnoustie) and Willie Fernie (Troon) over Carnoustie and St Andrews links. The total scores for the two clays' play were: Fernie, 344; Jamie Morris, 356, and Simpson, 359.

On the 31st of March 1888, we read in a newspaper of the period: "Tom Morris had the gift made to him from his friends of the Thistle Golf Club of a handsome silver snuff-box. Tom has been an honorary member of the Club for twenty-three years, and had always manifested a great interest in its welfare." About the same time a match for a small stake took place at St Andrews between J. O. F. Morris and Hob Martin against Matthew Allan and Jack Kirkaldy. Play throughout was very close and the interest was maintained until the last hole, when Morris and Martin won by 2. In 1888, play for the Championship was at St Andrews. The record says: "The work of sending off the various couples was superintended by Old Tom Morris, who, however, found time to take part a very creditable part too in the Championship, in the records of which his name holds so honourable a place. Indeed, the gathering would not have been complete without the veteran, who has not since 1860 the year when the challenge belt was first competed for been absent on any occasion when the Championship was being played for."

The champion turned out to be Jack Burns (Warwick), with 171. Ben Sayers and David Anderson tied for second and third places, with 172. Then came Mr Leslie Balfour with 173 just 2 behind the winner. J. 0. F. Morris took 186, and Tom 192 20 behind the champion.

In October there was a tournament at Montrose. It was won by Willie Fernie (of Troon), 74, with Andrew Kirkaldy, 75, second. Jamie was 84, and Tom 85. In this month Tom's brother George died. At one time he kept the green at Carnoustie, but for the last twenty-five years of his life had been in the employment of Messrs W. & R. Chambers, Edinburgh. He was well known on almost every links; and from his long connection with the late Dr Robert Chambers, and his kindly nature and genial Scottish humour, he was much liked wherever he was known. He was in his seventieth year.

Early in November there were several good competitions at Sandwich, under the auspices of the St George's Club. In a professional tournament Tom Morris was beaten by W. Fernie by 4 holes, and J. Gow beat Jamie by 2. The final heat was between Simpson and Rolland. It resulted in a halved match, and, on another hole being played, Archie Simpson won the twenty-guinea prize, Rolland taking 10.

In 1889 Tom acted as usual as starter for the May Meeting of the Royal and Ancient. Owing, probably, to rather a high north-easterly wind, the scoring was somewhat high, and the record says: "This at least is certain, that the course could not be held in any way responsible for the indifferent natures of the scores. In no respect could the least fault be found either with the course or with the putting-greens. The venerable custodian of the green knows his work too well to allow the winter to pass without taking advantage of it, and yesterday found the links in first-class trim the course well clothed and the putting-greens true and trim. Tom Morris was at his accustomed post, and with an apt word for
each he despatched the numerous couples."

A few days later the Amateur Championship was played for and was won by Mr J. K. Laidlay.

In the autumn of the same year there was a competition among local professionals at St Andrews, under handicap rules. It is curious to note that Andrew Kirkaldy, playing scratch, tied with Jamie Anderson, receiving 4 odds. Bob Martin was third, with 2 odds. Hugh Kirkaldy was fourth, playing scratch, and Tom Morris, receiving 5 odds, was one of a tie for the next place. Jamie, receiving 6 odds, does not appear in the prize-list. Most of the players then went on to play in a professional tournament at Troon, which was won by Fernie.

The Open Championship Meeting took place at Musselburgh on the 8th of November, and Tom took part as usual, playing with Mr Everard. It resulted in a tie between Willie Park, jun., and Andrew Kirkaldy in 155. The championship fell to Park in 157, against Andrew Kirkaldy's 162.


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