Major moment: Tom Wieskopf, Royal Troon, 1973

News & Tour

Lee Trevino went to Troon looking for his third major in a row but Tom Weiskopf had other ideas

THE BACKGROUND

At the start of the 70s when pundits and fans debated who was the ‘Best Player Never To Have Won A Major’, Tom Weiskopf was a key name. 

He was a tall player who hit the ball high and with enormous power yet without the waywardness usually associated with long hitters. His weakness, in fact, was a quick temper that earned him the nickname ‘The Towering Inferno’. 

Yet in 1972 he finished top 10 in the first three Majors and backed that up with a third place in the 1973 US Open. So he arrived at Royal Troon in fine fettle. 

Lee Trevino, meanwhile, travelled to Ayrshire eyeing a third Claret Jug in a row.
Gene Sarazen might have missed the cut but the 71-year-old aced the Postage Stamp during his opening 79 THE ACTION

Weiskopf began with a 68, one ahead of Jack Nicklaus and Bert Yancey and two better than Johnny Miller. These men would dominate the leaderboard all week; after 36 holes Weiskopf (67) was three ahead of Miller and Yancey and after 54 he led by one and five respectively. 

Nicklaus slumped to a 76 on Saturday but, typically, was provoked into a response by his slovenly play and roared round in 65 on Sunday to set the clubhouse target on eight under. 

Neil Coles then followed him in with a 66 to get to nine under. But Weiskopf kept his nerve and his temper to shoot 71 and win by three from Miller (72) and Coles. Trevino was 10th, on +1.

THE HISTORY

The 1973 Open was the last to use the slightly smaller ‘British’ ball. By 1974, the R&A and USGA finally agreed to a measurement for the ball, adopting a 1.68-inch standard. And Gene Sarazen might have missed the cut but the 71-year-old aced the Postage Stamp during his opening 79.

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