Had the Masters started before Tommy Armour turned 39, he might have achieved the modern Grand Slam of winning all four professional major events.
As it was, the man known as the "Silver Scot" settled for victories in the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, and British Open, all of them in dramatic fashion.
Armour was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1895 and lost sight in an eye while fighting in World War I. He emigrated to the United States after coming over to play in the Walker Cup Matches in 1922, and he turned pro in 1924.
is timing was good -- the pro tour was just then developing, with most of the events taking place in the winter when the pros could get away from their club jobs.
Armour's first big victory came in the 1927 U.S. Open at Oakmont, thanks to a heroic finish.
He played the last six holes in 2-under-par, and he birdied the 72nd hole by hitting a 3-iron to within 10 feet of the hole to tie Harry Cooper.
The magnificent stroke helped earn Armour a reputation as one of the finest iron players in the game. He won the 18-hole playoff by coming from two strokes down with six holes to play.
In the 1930 PGA Championship, Armour defeated Gene Sarazen, one of the top players of the day, in the 36-hole final match when he holed a 12-foot putt for par on the last hole, and Sarazen missed from 10 feet.
But the title that meant the most to Armour came the next year when he won the British Open at Carnoustie in his native Scotland. He trailed by five strokes entering the final round, but he stormed home with a 71 for a winning 296 total.
Shortly thereafter, Armour began to have trouble holing short putts and invented the term "the yips" to describe his affliction.
He ended his career with 24 professional victories.
In his later years, Armour became one of the most well-known -- and high-priced -- golf teachers in America. His book How to Play Your Best Golf All the Time is considered an instruction classic.
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