In NO particular order, we highlight some of golf’s most famous players during the Black and White era, starting with one of the sport’s most significant figures…
1. Bobby Jones
Bobby Jones played an instrumental part in the development of golf around the world.
Remaining an amateur throughout his entire career, Bobby also practiced as a lawyer.
One of the most naturally gifted golfers ever to play, Bobby won the “Grand Slam” of Majors (as they were recognised at the time) in a single year, 1930.
Following his retirement from playing, Bobby co-designed what would become the Augusta National course and founded the Augusta Masters Tournament that would eventually evolve to become a Major.
Named a Freeman of St Andrews in 1958, Bobby is the only man to be given two ticket-tape parades through New York City.
2. Seve Ballesteros
A rising star during an incredible time for the sport in the 1970s; Seve Ballesteros was one of handful of golfers to interrupt the flow of US Major victories.
Three-time Open champion, Seve’s 1984 victory at St Andrews saw him finish two strokes ahead of defending champion Tom Watson and Bernhard Langer.
A leading figure in golf for over twenty years, Seve won five majors between 1979 and 1988, his fist pump at St Andrews in ’84 is one of golf’s most enduring images.
3. Jack Nicklaus
One of the ‘Big Three’ credited with growing golf’s popularity around the world alongside Arnold Palmer and Gary Player during the 1960s, Nicklaus won the Open three times, his last victory in 1978 at St Andrews.
Completing his third career grand slam, Nicklaus’ victory, a year on from his ‘Duel in the Sun’ at Turnberry against fellow American Tom Watson, was his 15th major.
It was recently announced that Nicklaus is set to receive the highest honour that St Andrews can give, freedom of the town, to coincide with the 150th Open.
4. Arnold Palmer
Fifth on the PGA Tour victory list, just behind Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer won the Open twice, back-to-back.
Drawing the crowds, affectionately referred to as ‘Arnie’s Army’, in the 1960s, Palmer was a charismatic figure, known for taking risks on the course and one of the sport’s leading stars.
Dealing with disappointment in 1960, despite playing one of the best rounds of his career at St Andrews, Palmer won his first Open (the 90th Championship) in 1961 by one stroke ahead of Dai Rees.
This was the first time an American had lifted the Claret Jug since Ben Hogan in 1953.
5. Jock Hutchison
Significant on both sides of the Atlantic for different reasons, Jock remains, to this day, the last St Andrews-born man to win the Open Championship (1921).
Having moved to the US to pursue his golf career, Jock is remembered there as the first American to win The Open, having become a naturalised US citizen in 1920.
Born in St Andrews in 1884, Hutchison’s Open win came after a 36-hole playoff against Roger Wethered.
6. Samuel Snead
Samuel “The Slammer” Snead famously won the first post-war Open at St Andrews in 1946.
The only Open victory of his long career, Snead overcame challenges from Johnny Bulla (a second successive runners-up finish) and Bobby Locke to lift the famous Claret Jug.
Not competing in the Open again until 1962, Snead made it to the final day at Troon.
Although aged 49 at this point, Sam had been one of golf’s biggest stars from the mid-1930s, and one of its great innovators.
He pioneered “croquet-style” putting – standing facing the hole, one foot on either side of the ball – until it was banned by the USGA in 1968.
7. Bobby Locke
Winner of the Open on four occasions, Bobby Locke won 15 PGA tour events across his career.
Claiming his final Open championship at St Andrews in 1957, (a second win in Scotland after Troon in 1950), Locke won the 1949 Open in a Playoff against Harry Bradshaw.
Locke eventually pulled away from Bradshaw , scoring rounds of 67 and 68 against Bradshaw’s 74-73, becoming the first South African to claim the Claret Jug.
In 1957, taking place at St Andrews rather than the originally planned Muirfield, saw Locke’s Open success hit with slight drama.
Originally moved to St Andrews due to fuel shortages stemming from the ‘Suez Crisis’ in Egypt , a final round featuring Locke, Peter Thomson, Scotland’s Eric Brown and Henry Cotton teed off on a Friday afternoon.
Adding rounds of 68 and 70 that final day, Locke would go on to lift the Claret Jug. However, after the close of play, officials were made aware that on the 18th, Locke had failed to return his marker to the correct spot after he moved it out of the way.
Ruling that no advantage had been gained, Locke’s three-stroke Open victory stood.
Winning the Open four times in just eight years, Locke enjoyed some of his greatest triumphs in Britain.