Despite being blinded during battle in World War I, Tommy Armour regained his sight in one eye and went on to become a champion golfer on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Edinburgh-born Staff Major lost his sight after a mustard gas explosion while serving with the Tank Corps in France. During his convalescence, the sight slowly returned in his right eye and he began playing more golf as part of his recuperation.

With metal plates inserted in his head and left arm, Tommy recovered to win the French Amateur tournament in 1920. He then moved to America and turned professional in 1925, soon earning himself the nickname ‘The Silver Scot’.

Just two years later he won the US Open and followed it with a triumph in the Western Open in 1929, his score of 273 the lowest recorded in championship play up to that time. Two more majors followed – the PGA Championship in 1930 and The Open in 1931 – and Tommy also won the Canadian Open three times.

He is also credited with two more dubious distinctions, popularising the term ‘the yips’ and shooting a 23 on a par-five at the Shawnee Open in 1927 – still the highest score on one hole in PGA history.

Tommy retired from full-time golf in 1935 but carried on teaching the game and making the odd competition appearance. With Herb Graffis he later co-wrote How to Play Your Best Golf All the Time, at one point the biggest-selling golf book ever.

Tommy died in Larchmont, New York, in 1968. Eight years later, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.


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