Willie Fernie (golfer)

Willie Fernie

Fernie, c.1896
Personal information
Full name William Fernie
Born (1855-05-07)7 May 1855
St Andrews, Scotland
Died 24 June 1924(1924-06-24) (aged 69)
Glasgow, Scotland
Nationality  Scotland
Status Professional
Best results in major championships
(wins: 1)
U.S. Open DNP
The Open Championship Won: 1883

William Fernie (7 May 1855 – 24 June 1924) was a Scottish professional golfer and golf course architect from St Andrews. He won the 1883 Open Championship at Musselburgh Links.[1] The tournament was scheduled to last four rounds of the nine-hole course on a Friday in November. Fernie tied with defending champion Bob Ferguson, with both men shooting 158. The following day Fernie won a playoff by a single stroke.

Early life

Fernie was born in St Andrews, Scotland, on 7 May 1855.[2]

Golf career

Fernie was runner-up in the Open Championship in 1882, 1884, 1890 and 1891. When George Strath left Royal Troon in 1887, Fernie took over as club professional and served for 37 years only retiring in January 1924, a few months before his death.[3] As a golf course designer he made alterations to the Old Course at St Andrews and Royal Troon, and designed Turnberry's Ailsa, Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club and Isle of Arran courses. He also designed the Dumfries and County Golf Club in 1912.


Two of his sons, Tom and Harry withdrew from 1924 Open qualifying at Royal Liverpool Golf Club because of their father's illness. Tom Fernie had finished fifth in the 1923 Open at Troon.

Death and legacy

Fernie died in Glasgow, Scotland, on 24 June 1924.[4][5][6] He is best remembered for winning the 1883 Open Championship and finishing second four times.

Major championships

Wins (1)

A group photo of Scotland's 1903 international golf team. Fernie is standing in the back row on the far right. Willie Park, Jr. stands to his immediate right.
YearChampionship18 holesWinning scoreMarginRunner-up
1883 The Open Championship 2 shot lead 38-37-40-43=158 Playoff1 Scotland Bob Ferguson

1In a 36-hole playoff, Fernie defeated Ferguson by 1 stroke.

Results timeline

Tournament 1873 1874 1875 1876 1877 1878 1879
The Open Championship T9 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T8
Tournament 1880 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889
The Open Championship DNP 8 2 1 T2 T4 T8 T7 14 6
Tournament 1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899
The Open Championship T2 T2 8 T23 T5 T6 T3 T22 7 T5
Tournament 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906
The Open Championship CUT CUT T12 T24 CUT T31 CUT

DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10

Team appearances


  1. "1883 Willie Fernie". The Open. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  2. "Births in the Burgh of St Andrews in the County of Fife". Statutory Births 453/01 0075. ScotlandsPeople. Retrieved 15 February 2015. (subscription required (help)).
  3. "Retirement of W. Fernie". The Times. 12 January 1924. p. 10.
  4. "Deaths in the District of Hillhead in the Burgh of Glasgow". Statutory Deaths 644/12 0663. ScotlandsPeople. Retrieved 15 February 2015. (subscription required (help)).
  5. "Death of Willie Fernie – Ex-Open champion golfer – A link with the past". The Glasgow Herald. 25 June 1924. p. 9.
  6. "Death of Willie Fernie". The Times. 25 June 1924. p. 7.

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