Young Tom Morris is the popular name ascribed to Tom Morris Jr., who is the son of golf legend Tom Morris Sr. Young Tom is regarded by golf historians as the first golf genius, a prodigy to have achieved numerous titles despite his young age. Born on April 20, 1851 in St. Andrews, Scotland, Young Tom was the Tiger Woods of his time, winning every golf competition he joined and sweeping the belts and trophies under his name.
Young Tom won four (4) major titles during his lifetime, all from the British Open in 1868, in 1869, in 1870, and in 1872. His three succeeding wins earned him ownership of the “Challenge Belt,” the item presented to the winner of the Open Championship. Organizers were forced to find another championship symbol to present to the winner in the next championship round, and they decided it the Claret Jug was the best bet. Young Tom won the jug in 1870, marking yet another historical achievement by being the first golfer to have his name inscribed on the trophy.
Aside from his triumphs in major golf events, Young Tom Morris holds the record for being the first golfer to score a hole-in-one. He and his father, Old Tom, competed together in the 1869 Open Championship, and subsequently won the first and second top spots. Young Tom, at age 18, was hailed as the champion while Old Tom, at age 48, ranked second to his son. It was a double-edged achievement for the Morisses, having the youngest and the oldest pros sweep the plum spots in the event.
There is no doubt that Young Tom Morris would have continued to amaze the golfing world with his winning strokes if not for his early demise, at the age of 24, on Christmas Day in 1875. He was said to have died of heartbreak over the death of his wife and son. He is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.