Henry Cotton (golfer)
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|— Golfer —|
|Full name||Sir Thomas Henry Cotton|
28 January 1907|
Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, England
|Died||22 December 1987(aged 80)|
|Best results in major championships
|Masters Tournament||T13: 1957|
|U.S. Open||T17: 1956|
|The Open Championship||Won: 1934, 1937, 1948|
|Achievements and awards|
|World Golf Hall of Fame||1980 (member page)|
|Harry Vardon Trophy||1938|
|Member of the Order
of the British Empire
Cotton was born in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire. A prestigious cricketer, while attending Alleyn's School in Dulwich, South London, he and the other non-prefects were ordered by the six prefects in the school team to transport their cricket clothing back to the school on public transport. After returning to the school, he wrote a letter to the headmaster explaining that he was not amused. The headmaster ordered that he be caned in punishment, but Cotton refused. Resultantly banned from the cricket team, Cotton and his brother took up their second sport golf at the Aquarius Golf Club in Honor Oak from 1920. In 1923 Cotton won the Hutchings Trophy, the club championship. The brothers left in 1924 to become professionals.
Cotton started his career as a professional golfer at the age of 17 when he joined his younger brother Leslie as assistant teaching professional at Fulwell Golf Club under Fulwell's professional, George Oke, who had been at Honor Oak until 1921.
Cotton was known for working extremely hard at his game, often practising until his hands bled. Cotton placed great emphasis upon accuracy and differed from modern golf teachers in the great emphasis he placed upon the role of the hands in the golf swing. Although emphasis was given to a correct grip, he also emphasised the need to build up the strength of the hands and forearms. The competition golfer, equipped with such assets could counter an off centre strike off the face of the club and still achieve a powerful, yet accurate shot. He also stated the need to "educate the hands" in that the competitive golfer had to achieve an awareness of the position of the hands during the golf swing itself, something modern teachers have not stressed greatly, preferring a more passive role for the hands.
He achieved fame during the 1930s and 1940s, with three victories in The Open Championship (1934, 1937, and 1948). His record round of 65, made during the 1934 Open Championship, led to the Dunlop golf company issuing the famous 'Dunlop 65' ball. Cotton placed 17 times in the top-10 at the Open. Cotton also succeeded in winning many titles on the European circuit during the 1930s. During this period he was a professional at the Ashridge Golf Club.
During World War II he served with the Royal Air Force, and raised money for the Red Cross by playing exhibition matches and shows. This earned him an MBE. At this time he was stationed at RAF Halton and was closely involved with what is now the Chiltern Forest Golf club. He added three holes to the course (taking it from 6 to 9) and made other improvements.
Following his retirement from competitive golf in the early 1950s, Cotton became a successful architect of golf courses, including designing the Penina Golf and Resort on the Algarve, Portugal. Cotton wrote 10 books, and established the Golf Foundation, which helped thousands of young boys and girls get started in golf.
Cotton loved the high life, including champagne, caviare and bespoke tailored clothes. He lived for a while in a suite in a 5-star hotel, and later bought an estate complete with butler and full staff, travelling everywhere in a Rolls-Royce.
Cotton was knighted in the New Year's Day Honours of 1988, named a Knight Bachelor. This was reported in some media as a "posthumous knighthood" because he had died by the time it was publicly announced. However, he had accepted the knighthood before his death, and it was made effective from the date of his death.
Tournament wins (26)
this list may be incomplete
- 1930 Belgian Open, South Open (Argentina)
- 1931 Dunlop-Southport Tournament
- 1932 News of the World Match Play, Dunlop-Southport Tournament
- 1934 The Open Championship, Belgian Open
- 1935 Yorkshire Evening News Tournament
- 1936 Italian Open, Dunlop-Metropolitan Tournament
- 1937 The Open Championship, German Open, Silver King Tournament
- 1938 Belgian Open, German Open
- 1939 German Open, Daily Mail Tournament, Penfold Professional Golf League (tie with Charles Whitcombe)
- 1940 News of the World Match Play
- 1946 French Open, News of the World Match Play
- 1947 French Open, Yorkshire Evening News Tournament (tie with Norman Von Nida), Spalding Tournament
- 1948 The Open Championship
- 1954 Penfold Tournament
Major championships are shown in bold.
|Year||Championship||54 holes||Winning score||Margin||Runner-up|
|1934||The Open Championship||10 shot lead||67-65-72-79=283||5 strokes||Sid Brews|
|1937||The Open Championship (2)||3 shot deficit||74-72-73-71=290||2 strokes||Reg Whitcombe|
|1948||The Open Championship (3)||2 shot lead||71-66-75-72=284||5 strokes||Fred Daly|
|The Open Championship||9||T18||T32|
|The Open Championship||8||T10||T10||T7||1||T7||T3||1||3||T13|
|The Open Championship||NT||NT||NT||NT||NT||NT||T4||T6||1||DNP|
|The Open Championship||DNP||DNP||4||DNP||CUT||T32||T6||T9||T8||T41|
|The Open Championship||DNP||T32||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP|
|The Open Championship||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||CUT|
Note: Cotton never played in the PGA Championship.
NYF = Tournament not yet founded
NT = No tournament
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
- The best is always good enough for me
- To be a champion, you must act like one