British Open Champion Tom Weiskopf Dies at 79

Tom Weiskopf Obituary
In 1982, Tom Weiskopf poses with his Troon license plate for the state of Arizona, a symbol of his British Open win at Troon Golf Club in 1973. (Photo by Brian Morgan for Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Golf great Tom Weiskopf passed away on Saturday at the age of 79 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

The 1973 British Open champion won 16 times on the PGA Tour but it was the near misses, including four runner-ups at the Masters, that seemed to define his career.

He was famous for saying of Jack Nicklaus: “Jack knew he was going to beat you. You knew Jack was going to beat you. And Jack knew you knew he was going to beat you.”

Nicklaus once said of his fellow Buckeye, “Tom Weiskopf had as much talent as any player I’ve ever seen play the tour.”

Tom Weiskopf Obituary
Tom Weiskopf (left) examines his golf ball, as Jack Nicklaus leans in, during the 1972 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. (Photo by Leonard Kamsler for Popperfoto via Getty Images)

A can’t miss prospect out of Ohio State, Weiskopf’s signature was his ball striking ability. He won his first tour event at the 1968 Andy Williams-San Diego Open and would go on to claim four more victories over the next five seasons, through 1972. A year later, Weiskopf would enjoy his greatest season, with a win at The Open and six other worldwide victories, including the World Series of Golf.

He was a member of the 1973 and 1975 U.S. Ryder Cup teams, teaming with Nicklaus for three wins in both fourball and foursomes. He also qualified for the 1977 team but decided to forfeit his spot in order to go hunting.

Weiskopf’s last PGA Tour victory was the 1982 Western Open at the age of 39. His last full year on the PGA Tour was a year later in 1983.

Tom Weiskopf Obituary
Tom Weiskopf and wife Jeanne pose with the Claret Jug after Weiskopf won the 1973 British Open at Troon. (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images)

He also worked as a golf analyst, first with CBS where he covered a dozen Masters, including Nicklaus’ iconic 1986 victory, and then with ABC where he worked The Open Championship.

He found even greater notoriety as a golf course designer, first as an understudy to Jay Moorish, then later establishing his own practice. He has at least 80 golf courses to his name, including many award-winning designs such as Troon North in Scottsdale (AZ) and Loch Lomond in Scotland.

Weiskopf’s design signature is the drivable par 4, inspired by the Old Course at St. Andrews.

Despite his success as a major winner, golf broadcaster and architect, Weiskopf once said becoming sober was his “greatest feat.” He gave up alcohol in 2000.

Weiskopf died at his home in Big Sky, Montana, alongside his wife Laurie. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2020.

AP wire story was used to compile this report.



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