On this day, In 1851 golfing pioneer Young Tom Morris was born in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland.
He grew up around the game as his father, “Old” Tom Morris was a greenskeeper at Prestwick Golf Club. He quickly grew into the first young prodigy of golf and eventually winning four consecutive Open Championships. All four Open’s were played at Prestwick…the course Tommy grew up playing on.
Through triumph for Young Tom Morris came also great sorrow. During a Team Match in North Berwick with his father playing against the Park brothers Young Tommy received a fateful telegram. It called for his immediate return home, his wife had labor complications and they feared the worst. By the time they arrived home both his wife and newborn baby were dead. Young Tom Morris was broken-hearted and some say this led to his death just four months later on Christmas Day. The official cause of death, according to his death certificate, was pulmonary hemorrhage causing apnea.
For many years it was thought on the basis of a baptismal certificate that Morris was born on 10 May 1851, but in 2006 his birth certificate was discovered in Edinburgh and confirmed todays date.
The 2016 film Tommy’s Honour depicts the lives and careers of Old Tom and Young Tom, and focuses on their complex and bittersweet relationship. It is based on Kevin Cook’s Herbert Warren Wind Book Award–winning 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf’s Founding Father and Son.