Willie Smith (golfer)

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Willie Smith
Personal information
Full nameWilliam Smith
Born(1876-10-08)8 October 1876
Dundee, Scotland
Died26 December 1916(1916-12-26) (aged 40)
Mexico City, Mexico
Nationality Scotland
Professional wins3
Best results in major championships
(wins: 1)
Masters TournamentDNP
U.S. OpenWon: 1899
The Open ChampionshipT5: 1910
PGA ChampionshipDNP

Willie Smith (8 October 1876 – 26 December 1916) was a Scottish golfer. He won the 1899 U.S. Open.

Early life[edit]

Willie Smith was born in Dundee, Scotland on 8 October 1876.[1] He learned to play golf in Carnoustie. His brothers Alex and Macdonald were also expert golfers.

Golf career[edit]

1899 U.S. Open[edit]

While working as a professional at the Midlothian Country Club, near Chicago he won the fifth staging of the U.S. Open in 1899,[2] which was played at the Baltimore Country Club, Roland Park Course. He won by a margin of eleven shots, which wasn't bettered until Tiger Woods won the 2000 championship by fifteen shots. Smith's prize was $150. He played in nine U.S. Opens in total, and made the top-10 in eight of them, but he did not win again.

Western Open and California State Open[edit]

In 1899, Smith won the first Western Open in a playoff against Laurie Auchterlonie. He also won the 1900 California State Open.

Later life[edit]

In 1904, Smith moved to Mexico City to become the golf pro at the Mexico City Country Club. He was injured during the Mexican Revolution. He had refused to leave his post at the country club and was found trapped under a fallen beam after Emiliano Zapata's troops ransacked the club which they saw as a symbol of the corrupt ruling class.[3] He was tasked with designing a new course, the Club de Golf Chapultepec, however due to his death it was completed by his brother Alex Smith. It has hosted the Mexican Open multiple times, and the WGC-Mexico Championship since 2017.[4][5]


He died of pneumonia on 26 December 1916.[6][7] His body was returned to Scotland for burial in the family plot.

Major championships[edit]

Wins (1)[edit]

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runners-up
1899 U.S. Open 4 shot lead 77-82-79-77=315 11 strokes Scotland Val Fitzjohn, Scotland George Low, England Bert Way

Results timeline[edit]

Smith played in only the U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

Tournament 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910
U.S. Open DNP DNP DNP 5 1 5[8] 3 4[9] T9 DNP T13 2 DNP 2 DNP DNP

DNP = Did not play
WD = withdrew
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10


  1. ^ "Births in the District of St Andrews in the Burgh of Dundee". Statutory Births 282/04 01543. ScotlandsPeople. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  2. ^ Brenner, Morgan G. (2009). The Majors of Golf: Complete Results of the Open, the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship and the Masters, 1860-2008. 1. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-3360-5.
  3. ^ Kelly, Bill. "Kelly's Golf History". kellysgolfhistory.blogspot.com. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Chapultepec - Mexico". Top 100 Golf Courses. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  5. ^ Ralph, Pat (19 February 2019). "Five things to know about Club de Golf Chapultepec". Golf.com. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Willie Smith is Dead" (PDF). The New York Times. 27 December 1916.
  7. ^ "Willie Smith, Golf Pro., Dies in Mexico City". Trenton Evening Times. New Jersey. 27 December 1916.
  8. ^ "Vardon Was the Winner - Took the Open Golf Championship at Wheaton Yesterday". The Saint Paul Globe. Minnesota. 6 October 1900. Retrieved 9 April 2015 – via Minnesota Historical Society.
  9. ^ "Open Golf Champion". The Saint Paul Globe. Minnesota. 12 October 1902. Retrieved 26 August 2015.

External links[edit]