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Tom Morris Junior

Beneath the sod poor Tommy's laid
Bunkered now for good and all
A finer golfer never played
A further or a surer ball

Among the monarchs of the green
For long he held imperial sway
And none the start and end between
Could match with Tommy on his day

A triple laurel round his brow
A light of triumph in his e'e
He stands before us even now
As in his hour of victory

Thrice belted knight of peerless skill
Again we see him head the fray
And memory loves to reckon still
The feats of Tommy on his day

Tom Morris Jnr - the tragic champion

In honour of young Tom's memory, a memorial was erected at his grave, subscribed for by 60 golf clubs. It bears the inscription:

"Deeply regretted by numerous friends and all golfers, he thrice in succession won the Championship belt and held it without envy, his many amiable qualities being no less acknowledged than his golfing achievements."

Tom Morris Junior was born in St.Andrews in 1851 and died in 1875. Young Tommy only lived to the age of 24, unlike his father, Old Tom Morris, who lived to the grand old age of 86.

Tom Jnr is remembered today as golf's first great champion. He was brought up with the game from an early age and competed professionally from the age of 13.

He won his first Open Championship in 1868, aged 17 and to this day is the youngest ever winner of the event. His win in 1868 was to be the first of a string of four wins, and after he won his third consecutive Open Championship, The Challenge Belt was his to keep.

There was no Championship in 1871, as the main organiser and sponsor of The Belt had died. Prestwick decided to invite Musselburgh and St Andrews to help provide a new trophy (The Claret Jug) and to host the event. In the following year Young Tom made it four wins in a row.

Young Tom Morris died on Christmas day in 1875, aged 24. Both his wife and first son died in childbirth just four months before that. Old Tom said, "People say he died of a broken heart; but if that was true, I wouldn't be here either."

Tom Morris Snr and Tom Morris Jnr, father and son                 Early photo of a young Tom Morris Jnr
Tom Morris Snr & Jnr, father and son                            Early photo of Tom Morris Jnr

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