Tommy Armour

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Tommy Armour
Armour in 1927
Personal information
Full nameThomas Dickson Armour
NicknameThe Silver Scot
Born(1896-09-24)24 September 1896
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died11 September 1968(1968-09-11) (aged 71)
Larchmont, New York
Sporting nationality Scotland
 United States
CollegeUniversity of Edinburgh
Turned professional1924
Former tour(s)PGA Tour
Professional wins27
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour25
Best results in major championships
(wins: 3)
Masters TournamentT8: 1937
PGA ChampionshipWon: 1930
U.S. OpenWon: 1927
The Open ChampionshipWon: 1931
U.S. AmateurT5: 1920
British AmateurT33: 1920, 1921
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame1976 (member page)

Thomas Dickson Armour (24 September 1896[1] – 11 September 1968) was a Scottish-American professional golfer. He was nicknamed The Silver Scot. He was the winner of three of golf's major championships: 1927 U.S. Open, 1930 PGA, and 1931 Open Championship. Armour popularized the term yips, the colloquial term for a sudden and unexplained loss of skills in experienced athletes.[2]

Early life[edit]

Armour was born on 24 September 1896 in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of Martha Dickson and her husband George Armour, a baker. He went to school at Boroughmuir High School, Edinburgh, (formerly Boroughmuir Senior Secondary School) and studied at the University of Edinburgh.[3] At the outbreak of World War I enlisted with the Black Watch and was a machine-gunner. He rose from private to Staff Major in the Tank Corps. His conduct earned him an audience with George V. However, he lost his sight to a mustard gas explosion and surgeons had to add a metal plate to his head and left arm. During his convalescence, he regained the sight of his right eye, and began playing much more golf.[4]

Golf career[edit]

Armour won the French Amateur tournament in 1920. He moved to the United States and met Walter Hagen who gave him a job as secretary of the Westchester-Biltmore Club.[3] He competed in important amateur tournaments in the U.S. before turning professional in 1924.

Armour won the 1927 U.S. Open, 1930 PGA Championship, and the 1931 Open Championship. With Jim Barnes and Rory McIlroy, he is one of three natives of The United Kingdom to win three different professional majors.[5] His 1930 campaign was overshadowed by Bobby Jones' Grand Slam, and Armour seems to have been overlooked[clarification needed].

Armour also won the Canadian Open three times, a feat exceeded only by Leo Diegel, who won four.

At the Shawnee Open in 1927, Armour scored the first ever "archaeopteryx" (15 or more over par) when he made a 23 on a par 5, for 18 over par. It still stands as the highest score on a hole in PGA history. This historic performance happened just one week after he'd won the U.S. Open.

Retirement and later life[edit]

Armour retired from full-time professional golf after the 1935 season, although he competed periodically in top-class events for several years afterwards. He taught at the Boca Raton Club in Florida from 1926 to 1955,[6] for $50 a lesson. His pupils included Babe Didrikson Zaharias and Lawson Little. He was also a member at the Winged Foot Golf Club in suburban New York City, where he spent much of his summers.[7]

After becoming an American citizen in November 1942,[8] Armour played in exhibitions for USO and Red Cross during World War II.

Armour co-wrote a book How to Play Your Best Golf All the Time (1953) with Herb Graffis. It became a best-seller and for many years was the biggest-selling book ever authored on golf. A series of 8mm films based on the book was released by Castle Films including Short Game Parts I and II, Long Hitting Clubs, Grip, and Stance.

Armour is succeeded by his grandson, Tommy Armour III, who is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour.

Death and legacy[edit]

Armour died in Larchmont, New York and was cremated at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York but not interred there. Some modern golf equipment is still marketed in his name. Armour was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1976.

Amateur wins[edit]

  • 1920 French Amateur

Professional wins[edit]

PGA Tour wins (25)[edit]

Major championships are shown in bold.

Other wins[edit]

Major championships[edit]

Wins (3)[edit]

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner-up
1927 U.S. Open 1 shot deficit +13 (78-71-76-76=301) Playoff 1 United States Harry Cooper
1930 PGA Championship n/a 1 up United States Gene Sarazen
1931 The Open Championship 5 shot deficit +8 (73-75-77-71=296) 1 stroke Argentina José Jurado

1 Defeated Harry Cooper in an 18-hole playoff: Armour 76 (+4), Cooper 79 (+7).
Note: The PGA Championship was match play until 1958

Results timeline[edit]

Tournament 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929
U.S. Open T48 WD T13 T38 T9 1 16 T5
The Open Championship T53 13 CUT 10
PGA Championship QF QF R32
U.S. Amateur QF R16 R32
The Amateur Championship R64 R64
Tournament 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
Masters Tournament NYF NYF NYF NYF T37 T20 T8 T12
U.S. Open 6 T46 T21 T4 T50 WD T22 CUT 23 T22
The Open Championship 1 T17
PGA Championship 1 QF R16 2 R64 R64
Tournament 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950
Masters Tournament 38 38 T28 NT NT NT
The Open Championship NT NT NT NT NT NT
PGA Championship NT
  Top 10
  Did not play

NYF = tournament not yet founded
NT = no tournament
WD = withdrew
CUT = missed the half-way cut
R64, R32, R16, QF, SF = round in which player lost in match play
"T" indicates a tie for a place

Sources: U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur,[9] Amateur Championship:1920,[10] 1921[11]

Team appearances[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Births in the District of Newington in the City of Edinburgh". Statutory Births 685/05 1134. ScotlandsPeople. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  2. ^ Barkow, Al (1998). Golf Legends of All Time. Publications International. ISBN 978-0785328483.
  3. ^ a b Vamplew, Vray (23 September 2014). "Armour, Thomas Dickson [Tommy] (1896–1968), golfer". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/65141. ISBN 978-0-19-861412-8. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. ^ Davidson, Jack (11 August 2015). "Tommy Armour: the Scotsman who won the US PGA". The Scotsman. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  5. ^ "1931 Tommy Armour". The Open. Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  6. ^ May, Mike. "Golf @ The Boca Resort: Living, Breathing History". Go Golf and Travel.
  7. ^ Harmon, Butch (2006). The Pro. Crown Publishers. ISBN 9780307338037.
  8. ^ "U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992" – via
  9. ^ USGA Championship Database Archived 21 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Amateur Golf: The Muirfield Week: Many Favourites Out". The Glasgow Herald. Glasgow, Scotland. 9 June 1920. p. 11. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
  11. ^ "Golf at Hoylake: Amateur Championship". The Glasgow Herald. Glasgow, Scotland. 25 May 1921. p. 6. Retrieved 9 March 2011.

External links[edit]