THE following appeared in The
Dundee Advertiser of 11th January 1901: ' Notwithstanding the fact that old Tom Morris, the veteran
golfer, is in his eightieth year he still moves
about freshly. Daily he is seen enjoying a
walk on the classic links and at the same time
supervising with his keen eye the work of the
green-keepers, while on other occasions he can
be observed wielding his club with youth-like vigour. As showing his wonderful vitality,
it might be mentioned that on the closing day
of the year, and on the first day of the New
Year, he engaged in a couple of rounds each
day, taking part in a foursome with three Glasgow gentlemen. He played a
game for his age."
About this time negotiations which Tom
had entered into in regard to the well-known
hazard, about which there has been so much
controversy, known as ``The Stationmaster's Garden," were successfully carried through.
In Golf Illustrated of 25th January 1901, we
find the following: "This world-famed hazard
around which raged a historical controversy in
the pages of Golf, was shorn of much of its terror
by the new law as to 'out of bounds.' It still
remained, however, a trap for balls. Assuming
that the high walls were successfully scaled
by the search-party no mean feat the disposition of the buildings and the confused
jumble of rubbish and vegetation around them
rendered it impossible to say in what direction
the errant ball should be looked for, and if to
play into it no longer involved the loss of the
hole, it still too often meant the loss of the ball.
The wise and good Tom Morris has, however,
diplomatically approached the stationmaster
with such success that easy access will hereafter
be afforded to golfers who have driven into it,
while the garden is to be so 'redded up ' that
a lost ball will be almost an impossibility.
Thus has Tom served the cause both of golf and
horticulture. American golfers will no longer be bitterly disappointed with
the contrast between the reality and the idyllic picture they
had formed of the famous garden of the station-master, and even home-bred golfers will be
obliged to confess that, after all,
"It really is a werry pretty garden
lf it wasn't for the 'ouses in between.'``
On Saturday, the 1st of February 1901 Tom
assisted at the proclamation of the King at St
Andrews. A correspondent thus describes the
incident: ``The King was proclaimed at the
Cross in Market Street last Saturday by Provost
Ritchie Welsh, after a fanfare of trumpets.
The procession was very ably marshalled in
the Madras grounds, all public bodies being
represented the University students, the Church, etc., and the Royal and
Club officially. The silver clubs were draped
in crape and carried by the Club officer,
Nicholas Robb, while to Old Tom Morris was
assigned the less ponderous silver putter. The
route was up South Street to the Cathedral,
thence westwards down the length of North Street,
round Abbotsford Crescent, and so through
Hope Street up Market Street to the Cross.
A rare pace was set, so much so that Old Tom
was beginning to make rather bad weather of it,
and announced that he would rather have played
two rounds of the links."
In this month Tom acted as "skip" in a
curling match which, on the invitation of Mr
James Cheape of Strathtyrum, was played over
the pond on the estate. The result was as follows:
On the 16th of March, the day before the
old course closed for its annual rest, Tom had
a match with his friend Mr Everard. He
came "in" in the fine score of 43, and although
he lost the match by two at the Burn, he
averred that he was playing as good a game as
he had done for the last twenty years. It is
noticeable that James Anderson was out on the
same day and played well in a foursome.
The meeting at which the Open Championship
for 1900 was played for at St Andrews was a
memorable one. The old grey city was gay with
flags and bunting, for it was the day after
Pretoria Day, and the people had been determined not to be a whit behind their neighbours in
rejoicing over the fact that the stronghold of
Kruger had succumbed to Lord Roberts, and
that 4000 of our soldier prisoners were free.
The night previous to its commencement had
been given over to rejoicing and high jinks of
various kinds. Everyone was still sporting
appropriate favours, and Old Tom at the starting-point was not a whit behind the others, for he
was sporting his red, white and blue rosette.
It was memorable, too, on account of Taylor's
winning the blue riband with 309 to Vardon's
317, and Braid's 322.
Later, "Tee Shots" in Golf Illustrated, June
22, contained the following paragraph: ``Tom
Morris celebrated his seventy-ninth birthday on
Saturday, the 16th, when he received the
congratulations of his numerous friends and
admirers. The veteran, who is as hale and
hearty as ever, played a round of the links in the course of the day with Mr
H. S. C. Everard."
Immediately after this he further celebrated the
event by laying out the golf course at Collieston
a charming little fishing-village just north of
Aberdeen hard by the famous sands of Towie.
The issue for the week following had the
following paragraph: "Old Tom Morris, who
attained his eightieth birthday on Sunday (says
the Glasgow Herald], celebrated the occasion
by playing a round on St Andrews links a
custom which he has followed annually for a
number of years past, and his partner was Mr
H. S. C. Everard. The weather during the
match was cold and stormy, the latter stages
being finished in heavy rain. Notwithstanding
his advanced age, Tom, who was in receipt of a
third from his opponent, played a remarkably
good game; and the match ended all square."
This paragraph has caused much doubt and
apprehension in Scotland, and I am able to state
it is quite erroneous. The 'Grand Old Man' of
golf passed his eightieth birthday (which was
Sunday) in his usual quiet and devout manner,
and it was on Monday that he 'celebrated the
occasion' by engaging in a round with Mr
Tom's saying in regard to Sunday golf is well
known: "If you gentlemen," he is reported to
have said to two Englishmen desirous of playing
on the Sunday, "dinna need a rest on the
Sawbath, the links does."
In April several golfing relics were sent from
St Andrews to the Glasgow Exhibition through
the energy of the Rev. John Kerr of Dirleton,
who has done so much for the game on its
historical and literary side. They included
the Championship Belt won by the late
Tommy Morris, which is now, of course, the
property of Old Tom; the putters of Tommy
and his father, and those of Davie Strath and
A "Tee Shot" in Golf Illustrated of June 14,
1901, says: "Old Tom Morris, haler and heartier
than ever, made the journey from St Andrews
to Muirfield and graced the starting-point (at the
Open Championship) with his genial presence."
"Jacky Fergusson and 'Fiery,`who was carrying for Willie Park, represented the ancient
school of Musselburgh."
The same issue contains an excellent portrait
of Tom along with Professor Sir John Chiene.
And another of June 21 says: "O for ane
and twenty, Tarn!`` Old song. Heartiest congratulations and best wishes to Old Tom who
reached his eightieth year last Saturday. Many
more birthdays may he see! He had a round of the
links on the forenoon of the previous Saturday."
Towards the end of June old Tom and the
late Mr T.D). Forgan had a match playing
square. Tom began badly by losing the first 4
holes, but nothing daunted he stuck to his man,
and at the turn he was only 1 down. Coming
home he played a good and steady game, but
Mr Forgan eventually won the match 3 up and
2 to play. Tom came "in" in 44.
Tom was in great form on Saturday the 23rd
of August. He went round in 86.
During the whole of this summer he played
a great deal and extremely well; better, he
thought, than he had done for twenty years.
One day he played with Mr Robert Strath, a
visitor from Canada. Old memories of bygone
days were awakened when the starter called out
the once familiar combination of names, "Morris
On the 12th of October Old
Tom and Mr James Kirk, a well-known old St Andivws
player, had a match with Mr William Doleman
and Mr J. Jenkins, both fine players. The
match was well contested. Tom and his partner
led by 1 at the turn, but the match ended all
square. Towards the end of this year the
veteran had an invitation to visit Australia for
the purpose of playing exhibition matches. But alas, his years were against his accepting
the proposal, though it was a very tempting
Early in January 1902 Tom and Principal
Story played a foursome with Mr Charles
Anderson of Fettykill and Mr H. Anderson.
Tom and the Principal won by 2 up and 1 to play.
In Golf Illustrated of July 4, 1902, this
"Tee Shot" appeared: "Heartiest congratulations and best wishes to Old Tom, who attained
his eighty-first birthday on Monday of last week.
He is, I am glad to say, enjoying the best of
health, and on his birthday played a round with
Mr H. S. C. Everard. A short time ago he had
a round on twelve consecutive days."
When Mr Andrew Carnegie was in St Andrews
in the summer of this year, 1902, receiving the
freedom of the city, he had a long chat with
Old Tom and handed him his calling card, on
the back of which he wrote, "Tom Morris, King
of Golfdom, your loyal subject, A. C." He
ordered two full sets of clubs to be sent to him to
At the Coronation procession at St Andrews
there were two interesting features Old Tom
and the officials of the Royal and Ancient Club
carrying the famous silver clubs and balls, and
also a lorry on which were several of Messrs
Forgan's employees working at the different
departments of club-making.
In Golf Illustrated,
September 19, 1902, then
is given an admirable photograph of Tom and
his dog "Silver." And here I may state that about this time Sir
George Reid was commissioned to paint Tom's portrait for the Royal
and Ancient Club.
In the autumn of this year he had rather a
sharp illness, but by November he was able to
be about again, using as a staff a portable seat,
so that he could sit down and have a rest at any
By the beginning of 1903 Tom was reported
to be "quite himself again and able to dispense
with his stick." In fact, on Hogmanay, the
last day of the year, he played in a foursome.
By February our hero had given his last
sitting to Sir George Reid, R.S.A., in Edinburgh,
for his portrait for the Royal and Ancient Club.
During his stay in Edinburgh he was the guest
of Mrs Tait, widow of the Professor and mother
of Freddy. He would be much made of in that
erstwhile happy family circle.
In the spring of 1903 he laid out the golf
course at Leuchars. His birthday greeting this year from Golf Illustrated was as follows:
"Hearty congratulations and many happy returns of the day to Old Tom Morris, who celebrated his eighty-second birthday on Tuesday
the 16th inst."
To a paper of mine in The Weekly Scotsman
in June of this year, entitled, "A Chat with
Tom .Morris," the veteran kindly sent me this
message to give to boys. It is written by his
son, J. O. F. Morris, and signed by Old Tom:
"I would advise all boys, if they possibly can,
to take plenty of fresh air, and if they prefer to
take golf as a recreation I would advise them to
take time and learn the game; also see that they
do not lose their temper. In playing see that
they swing quietly and keep their eye on the
My old and dear friend, Frank Boyd, writing
in his smartly-conducted paper, The Pelican,
referring to this eighty-second birthday, says he
"joins tens of thousands of players of the royal
and ancient game in wishing its most representative figure many happy returns of the day." He
tells us how he had the privilege of writing "Old
Tom's" first interview a good many years ago,
and adds: "On that occasion Tom, who had
known me since I was a little boy, told me many
things, some of which duly appeared in print
and some of which stayed in my heart " a
very pretty touch, friend Pelican " as they were
meant to. Talking of how St Andrews even
then was changing, and of how the old people
were passing away, Tom said, ' Now that the
Principal (Tulloch) has gone, there are only the
Doctor (Boyd) and me left. And soon the
Doctor will bury me and that will be the end of
Tom.' But the end is not yet for Tom Morris
by a long way, although he was one of those who
helped to lower A. K. H. B. to his last sleep in
the beautiful churchyard within the ruins of the
grand old Cathedral at St Andrews, looking out
to the sea."
Sir George Reid's portrait of Tom arrived at
St Andrews in August. It was voted a great success. It represents old Tom in
a characteristic attitude. He is holding a mashie in his
right hand, while his left is thrust into his
trouser pocket. It remained on view for some
days in the Club-House; and there it now has
an honoured place.
In this month Lord Roberts, accompanied by
Sir Ian Hamilton, paid a short, hurried visit to
St Andrews. They went out a few holes of the
old course and returned by the Jubilee course.
They visited old Tom's shop, but unfortunately
Tom was out playing and so a meeting between
the two heroes in their respective fields did not
On this visit The Edinburgh
remarks: "Golf is a game which needs no
advertisement, but there is no golfer who will
not feel flattered by the delicate tribute which
has been paid to the prevailing interest of the
pastime by the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army. Lord Roberts, having some time
to spare, took a tour last Friday to St Andrews.
And what came he forth for to see? The grey old
city by the northern sea has a history and
traditions reaching back to the units of antiquity. The scholar, historian,
ecclesiastic and antiquarian all take pleasure in her stones; her very
dust to them is dear. But what was it, according
to the reporter, that chiefly engaged the attention
of the Field Marshal? Not the Chapel of the
Culdees, or the relics of the stately Cathedral, or
the classic colleges, or the Bottle Dungeon, or the
pulpit of 'A. K. H. B. His lordship, we are
told, was taken out upon the links and was
interested in the game of golf. What a contrast
does this present between the old and new St
Andrews! It is no longer chiefly known as the
place whence the first stream of learning was
sent abroad through Scotland, or where Papist
and Reformer fought their fiercest battles for
the faith. The ancient St Andrews flourished
by the spread of learning and the preaching of
the Word. The modern St Andrews flourishes
by the royal and ancient game, and the distinguished visitor is taken to sec an exhibition of
the popular pastime instead of the hoary antiquities."
In the autumn of 1903 Tom, feeling the
infirmities of age, and thinking that a younger
man would be able to give a greater amount of
strength and energy to the task, gave up the
custodianship of the links for which he had so
long cared. According to Golf Illustrated it was
"an event which may be said to mark the close
of an epoch in the history of golf." The Club
arranged that his salary should be continued.
His successor was appointed at the October meeting. The choice of the dub
fell on Hugh
Hamilton, late of North Berwick, and at the date
of his appointment green-keeper at Portmarnock,
Ireland. The feeling of Tom's local admirers on
his retirement was thus expressed by one of them.
"Where'er the game of Scotland runs
It and its minstrelsie
When hearts yearn hame to breezy links.
There's a kindly wish for thee.
Our a'e a'e wish is a lang, lang wish
(But it comes from a braid countree);
An' aye, an' aye the burden is,
'A blessing, Tom, for thee.``
Early in 1904 Principal Story was in St
Andrews and Tom and he had a round. Shortly
after this we find him at Kinghorn planning the
extension of the course there. Mr M'Neil, ex-champion of Australia, writing to the Melbourne
Leader on golfing topics, has the following
concerning the veteran: "I spent a morning with
old Tom Morris at St Andrews. There are two
things which stand out about this wonderful old
man. The first is his bright and healthful
appearance; he might be sixty or seventy and
he is really eighty-two. The second is his
knowledge of every little point about the game and the leading players. Old
Tom has a wonderful charm of manner, and altogether I felt it was
a real privilege and education to spend that hour
On February 19, 1904, Golf Illustrated had
this bulletin in regard to him: "Old Tom is
playing a great deal of golf just now. It is
satisfactory to know that Tom continues in the
very best health and spirits."
During the Whitsuntide recess this year Tom
played a very good game in a match with Sir
Walter Foster, M.P. He gave the member for
the Ulverton Division a third and beat him by
2 and 1 to play. His score was 94 46 out and 48 in. He was particularly good
in his driving
lying within two yards of the long hole in 3,
while at the High hole he was on the green with
On the 24th of June 1904 this appeared in ``Tec Shots`` Golf Illustrated: "I am but
echoing the sentiments of every golfer when I
tender my sincere congratulations to Old Tom,
who on Thursday of last week attained his
eighty-third year. He celebrated the day with
his usual birthday round of the links. Mr H. S.
C. Everard played the best ball of Old Tom and
the Rev. Mr Parsons, giving them a stroke a hole.
Old Tom was in splendid form and that in spite
of a strong wind which blew right across the
course. After very even play on the outward
journey he led by a couple of holes at the turn,
and continuing to play a fine, steady game
coming home, he finally won by 6 up and 5 to
play. The great feature of his piny was his
driving from the tee and long game generally."
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