Young Tom Morris followed in his father’s footsteps, winning four British Open Championships before his tragic death at the age of 24. With broad shoulders and hands that were both powerful and deft, he dominated the game in the short time he played it.
“He was simply too good for the available competition,” wrote Ross Goodner in Golf’s Greatest. That includes his father, Old Tom, whom he succeeded as Open champion in 1868. The following year, Old Tom finished runner-up to his son. It is the only time in major championship history that a son and his father finished first and second.
Young Tom was a prodigy. At age 13, he won an exhibition match in Perth for a first prize of 15 pounds. At 16, Morris won the Open Professional Tournament at Carnoustie against the best golfers in Scotland. At 17, he became the tournament’s youngest winner and began his domination of the British Open, winning three consecutive titles to take permanent possession of the Championship Belt in 1870.