Bob Ferguson (golfer)

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Bob Ferguson
1880-82 Open Champion Bob Ferguson.jpg
Bob Ferguson, c. 1903
Personal information
Full nameRobert Ferguson
Bornc. 1846
Musselburgh, Scotland
Died19 May 1915 (aged 69)
Musselburgh, Scotland
Nationality Scotland
Best results in major championships
(wins: 3)
The Open ChampionshipWon: 1880, 1881, 1882

Robert Ferguson (c. 1846 – 19 May 1915), was a Scottish professional golfer who was one of the top players from the mid-1860s into the 1880s. He won a hat-trick of consecutive titles at The Open Championship in 1880, 1881 and 1882.[1]

In addition to the three Open Championship wins, he posted top-10 finishes seven times.

Early life[edit]

Ferguson was born in Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland, circa 1846.

Golf career[edit]

In addition to his three Open Championship titles, Ferguson was especially noted for his putting, not only on the green but off. He specialized in "run up" shots with his putter—the so-called "Musselburgh iron"—from well off the green.[2] He is one of only four men who have won The Open three years in a row. The prize for his first win was £7.

Ferguson's home town of Musselburgh was one of the three venues in the Open Championship rotation. He started caddying there at the age of eight, and played his first competition at Leith when he was 18. He was a tall man, and was known as a long driver. He sometimes partnered with fellow Musselburgh top player Willie Park Sr., a four-time Open champion, in stakes matches, facing opponents such as the father-and-son team of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, of St. Andrews, between the mid-1860s and mid-1870s. Both of the Morrises were four-time Open champions. He also faced Young Tom Morris in singles play during this era.[3] His playing career was cut short by a bout of typhoid, and he became the custodian of the Links at Musselburgh.

Death and legacy[edit]

Ferguson died in Musselburgh on 19 May 1915.[4][5][6] He is best remembered for winning the Open Championship three consecutive times.

Major championships[edit]

Wins (3)[edit]

Year Championship 18/24 holes Winning score Margin Runner-up
1880 The Open Championship 1 shot lead 40-41-42-39=162 5 strokes Scotland Peter Paxton
1881 The Open Championship (2) 3 shot lead 53-60-57=170 3 strokes Scotland Jamie Anderson
1882 The Open Championship (3) 3 shot lead 83-88=171 3 strokes Scotland Willie Fernie

Results timeline[edit]

Tournament 1868 1869 1870 1871 1872 1873 1874 1875 1876 1877 1878 1879
The Open Championship 5 DNP DNP NT DNP DNP T8 4 DNP T3 DNP 6
Tournament 1880 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889
The Open Championship 1 1 1 2 DNP DNP T4 DNP DNP T15

NT = No tournament
DNP = Did not play
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10


  1. ^ "Three in a row for the Musselburgh champion". The Open. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  2. ^ Campbell, Malcolm. The Scottish Golf Book. Champaign, Illinois: Sport Publishing L.L.C. p. 40. ISBN 1-58382-053-1.
  3. ^ Tommy's Honor, by Kevin Cook, 2007, Gotham Books, New York
  4. ^ "Deaths in the District of Inveresk and Musselburgh in the County of Midlothian". Statutory Deaths 689/00 0138. ScotlandsPeople. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  5. ^ "General Scottish news – Former golf champion dies". The Glasgow Herald. 20 May 1915. p. 5.
  6. ^ "Racing at Bath". The Times. 20 May 1915. p. 13.