Sir Henry Cotton
In 1934, at Royal St. George’s Golf Club, in Kent, England, Henry Cotton won the British Open by five strokes, ending ten years of American domination of the championship, and thereby single-handedly rejuvenating an ailing British professional game. Three years later he won a second British Open at Carnoustie in Scotland against all the home stars, plus the full force of the visiting American Ryder Cup team. Then in 1948, at age 41, after losing many of his prime years to World War II, he won the game’s oldest championship for a third time at Muirfield in Scotland. In addition to those triumphs, his record of over thirty victories includes three British Match-Play Championships, along with nine national championships on the Continent of Europe.
“Maestro,” has he was nicknamed, was the ultimate “hands” man, insisting that the only parts of the body in contact with the club were critical to every aspect of striking the ball successfully.
Shortly before his death he learned that he was to be awarded a knighthood by the Queen for his services to golf, a tribute that all who knew him felt was long overdue.