Tommy Armour

This article is about the early 20th century golfer. For current golfer, see Tommy Armour III.
Tommy Armour

Armour in 1927
Personal information
Full name Thomas Dickson Armour
Nickname The Silver Scot
Born (1896-09-24)24 September 1896
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died 11 September 1968(1968-09-11) (aged 71)
Larchmont, New York
Nationality  Scotland
 United States
College Fettes College
University of Edinburgh
Turned professional 1924
Former tour(s) PGA Tour
Professional wins 27
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 25
Other 2
Best results in major championships
(wins: 3)
Masters Tournament T8: 1937
U.S. Open Won: 1927
The Open Championship Won: 1931
PGA Championship Won: 1930
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, the 1927 U.S. Open, 1930 PGA Championship, and the 1931 Open Championship.

Early life

Armour was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and educated at Fettes College and the University of Edinburgh. During his service in World War I, Armour 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.

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. He became a U.S. citizen at this time. 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 native Europeans to win three different professional majors. [2] His 1930 campaign was overshadowed by Bobby Jones' Grand Slam, and Armour seems to have been overlooked.

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. This still stands as the highest score on one hole in PGA history. This historic performance happened just one week after winning 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, 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.[3]

During World War II, Armour played in exhibitions for USO and Red Cross.

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 and currently holds the record for the lowest total score on 72 holes (254), which he set in his second PGA Tour victory at the Valero Texas Open.

Death and legacy

Armour died in Larchmont, New York, and was cremated at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York, but is 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 United States Harry Cooper
1930 PGA Championship n/a 1 up United States Gene Sarazen
1931 The Open Championship 5 shot deficit +8 (73-75-77-71=296) 1 stroke Argentina 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

Tournament 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929
U.S. Open T48 DNP DNP WD T13 T38 T9 1 16 T5
The Open Championship T53 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 13 DNP CUT 10
U.S. Amateur QF R16 R32 DNP
The Amateur Championship R64 R64 DNP DNP
Tournament 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
Masters Tournament NYF NYF NYF NYF DNP T37 T20 T8 DNP T12
U.S. Open 6 T46 T21 T4 T50 WD T22 CUT 23 T22
The Open Championship DNP 1 T15 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
PGA Championship 1 QF DNP DNP R16 2 R64 R64 DNP DNP
Tournament 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950
Masters Tournament 38 38 T29 NT NT NT DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

NYF = Tournament not yet founded
NT = No tournament
DNP = Did not play
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
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.

Sources: U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur,[4] Amateur Championship:1920,[5] 1921[6]

See also


  1. "Births in the District of Newington in the City of Edinburgh". Statutory Births 685/05 1134. ScotlandsPeople. Retrieved 16 February 2015. (subscription required (help)).
  2. "1931 Tommy Armour". The Open. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  3. Harmon, Butch (2006). The Pro. Crown Publishers.
  4. USGA Championship Database
  5. "Amateur Golf: The Muirfield Week: Many Favourites Out". The Glasgow Herald. Glasgow, Scotland. 9 June 1920. p. 11. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
  6. "Golf At Hoylake: Amateur Championship". The Glasgow Herald. Glasgow, Scotland. 25 May 1921. p. 6. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
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