Henry Cotton (golfer)

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Henry Cotton
— Golfer —
Henry-Cotton 1931.jpg
Personal information
Full name Sir Thomas Henry Cotton
Born (1907-01-28)28 January 1907
Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, England
Died 22 December 1987(1987-12-22) (aged 80)
Nationality  England
Career
Turned professional 1924
Professional wins 25
Best results in Major Championships
(Wins: 3)
Masters Tournament T13: 1957
U.S. Open T17: 1956
The Open Championship Won: 1934, 1937, 1948
PGA Championship DNP
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame 1980 (member page)

Sir Thomas Henry Cotton, MBE (26 January 1907 – 22 December 1987), was an English professional golfer known for winning three Open Championships.[1]

Early life[edit]

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 [1] in Honor Oak from 1920. In 1923 Cotton won the Hutchings Trophy, the club championship. The brothers left in 1924 to become professionals.

Career[edit]

Cotton started his career as a professional golfer at the age of 17, and 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.

Cotton was a member of four British Ryder Cup teams, and served as captain of the team in 1947 and 1953. He competed only occasionally in the United States, without notable success.

Retirement[edit]

Following his retirement from competitive golf in the early 1950s, Cotton became a successful architect of golf courses, including designing the Le Méridien Penina 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, caviar 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, traveling everywhere in a Rolls-Royce.

He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1980.

Cotton was knighted in the New Year's Day Honours of 1988, named a Knight Bachelor.[2] 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 (25)[edit]

this list may be incomplete

Major championships are shown in bold.

Major championships[edit]

Wins (3)[edit]

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner-up
1934 The Open Championship 10 shot lead 67-65-72-79=283 5 strokes South Africa Sid Brews
1937 The Open Championship (2) 3 shot deficit 74-72-73-71=290 2 strokes England Reg Whitcombe
1948 The Open Championship (3) 2 shot lead 71-66-75-72=284 5 strokes Northern Ireland Fred Daly

Results timeline[edit]

Tournament 1927 1928 1929
Masters Tournament NYF NYF NYF
U.S. Open DNP DNP DNP
The Open Championship 9 T18 T32
Tournament 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
Masters Tournament NYF NYF NYF NYF DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
U.S. Open DNP CUT DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
The Open Championship 8 T10 T10 T7 1 T7 T3 1 3 T13
Tournament 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
Masters Tournament DNP DNP DNP NT NT NT DNP DNP T25 DNP
U.S. Open DNP DNP NT NT NT NT DNP DNP DNP DNP
The Open Championship NT NT NT NT NT NT T4 T6 1 DNP
Tournament 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
Masters Tournament DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T68 T13 DNP DNP
U.S. Open DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T17 DNP DNP DNP
The Open Championship DNP DNP 4 DNP CUT T32 T6 T9 T8 T41
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
Masters Tournament DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
U.S. Open DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
The Open Championship DNP T32 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977
Masters Tournament DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
U.S. Open 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

Quotes[edit]

  • The best is always good enough for me
  • To be a champion, you must act like one

References[edit]

External links[edit]