Born Earlsferry, Fife (c1858 to 1895). The eldest of six golfing brothers, Jack was probably not quite as good a player as his brother Archie but he won the Open Championship. A stonemason from Elie, he emerged as the best player in the Elie Thistle club. A superb long driver, he was as inconsistent as he was brilliant. In one tournament over Carnoustie he drove into the rough, topped his next two shots horribly and then hit an enormous shot followed by a superb pitch stone dead. After that, he missed the putt for a half. The most powerful player of his day, it is said that he sometimes buckled the heads of irons after just a few shots.
Simpson’s play on the 2nd hole at Prestwick in his winning year would have had many competitors tearing up their cards. He topped his drive into some whins virtually under his nose and stumbled to a 9. But he was renowned for, and accustomed to, his bad starts. He continued serenely to a 78 to take the lead and won the championship by four strokes.
Jack had no other high finishes in the Open. The following year he trailed behind his brothers Archie (second) and Bob (equal fourth). Whereas Archie would compete in the Open for another twenty years, Jack died young and it seems that he concentrated mainly on club making in Elie, having learned the skills from Archie. The family name survives on the golf shop just across the road from the Carnoustie courses.
Open Champions at Prestwick
Extract taken from “British Open Champions” by Michael Hobbs 1991.