Henry Cotton, born on June 26, 1907 in Cheshire, England, was an English golfer who turned pro at the young age 17. Prior to that Cotton been an avid cricket player but started to take up golf at the age of 12.
Although he rarely played in America during the course of his career, Cotton was a popular figure in British and European golf. He won the Open Championship during the Belgian Open in 1934. He won his second major Open Championship title at the German Open in 1937.
Cotton’s stint in the US PGA was brief. He only got to play on the tour once before WWII broke out. During the war Cotton served in the Royal Air Force and helped organize exhibition matches to help the Red Cross. He promptly returned to golf once the war was over, winning the 1948 Open championship upon his return. He also won in various other tournaments in Europe.
Aside from being one of the major players in the 1930s and 40’s, Cotton was also known for his penchant for high living. He was especially known for his preference for caviar and champagne, and once lived in a 5 star hotel suite.
Cotton retired for professional golf in the 1950s and settled down to write ten books and design golf courses. He was also recognized for his philanthropy, especially towards junior golfers. He started the Golf Foundation to help young boys and girls get started in playing the sport. Cooper was inducted to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1980 and Knighted in 1988, an honor that he had accepted before he died. However, news of his knighthood was only publicly announced after his death on December 22, 1987.