Born St Andrews, Fife (1842 to 1905). Only Young Tom Morris has ever managed to win four consecutive Opens. Others have come close, notably Peter Thomson and Bob Ferguson, but Jamie Anderson missed out for a very odd reason. Notice of the championship date was given so late that he did not even play in 1880. The following year he was second and in 1882 he tied for third place, an impressive run of high placings.
Anderson put in one of golf’s most dramatic finishes to win at Prestwick in 1878. J.O.F. Morris, a son of Old Tom, was in with a total of 161. Jamie had to play the last four holes in 17 strokes and thought 5, 4, 3, 5 would do it. He did not play the 15th too well but holed a long iron shot for a 3. On the 17th his tee shot hit a bank by the green and trickled into the hole. Having beaten Morris by four strokes, further luck was needed when Bob Kirk put in a storming finish, had a putt to tie on the last and nearly holed it.
Anderson, the son of ‘Old Daw’ whose ginger-beer stall gave the name to the 4th hole at St Andrews, was a deadly player of the approach shot and very consistent. He once claimed that he had played 90 holes without a bad shot. In money matches, he just waited for opponents to make mistakes. There was no real money in the game until the advent of the Great Triumvirate and, like so many professionals of the time his end was not a happy one. He died in a poor house in Perth.
Open Champions at Prestwick
Extract taken from “British Open Champions” by Michael Hobbs 1991.