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Award for ‘seminal’ biography of Tom Morris

12.46am 23rd February 2009 - Media

In recognition of its high standard of achievement in golf literature, “Tom Morris of St. Andrews: The Colossus of Golf, 1821-1908” has been named the recipient of the United States Golf Association’s 2008 Herbert Warren Wind Book Award.

Since its publication in June 2008, Tom Morris of St. Andrews has been lauded as one of the most impressive books ever written about one of the game’s most influential figures. ‘Old’ Tom Morris was a four-time British Open champion and renowned clubmaker, greenkeeper and golf course architect.

“Every 10 or 15 years, a book comes along that is truly a seminal contribution to the history of the game,” said Rand Jerris, director of the USGA Museum and Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History. “This is one of those books.”

Tom Morris of St. Andrews, written by David Malcolm and Peter E. Crabtree, provides an in-depth look at the life of Tom Morris and the influence he had on golf in St. Andrews and the popularization of the game throughout the United Kingdom and around the world.

The book’s greatest contribution to golf literature is as an unparalleled source of original photos, artwork and primary documents from Morris’s life, the town of St. Andrews, and the development of golf in the 19th century.

The original research conducted by Malcolm and Crabtree, several decades in the making, and the graphic presentation of the book set new standards for golf biography and historical scholarship.

Malcolm, a lifelong student of golf history, was born and raised in St. Andrews. He was a research geneticist in the U.S. and Europe before returning to work at St. Andrews and teaching science at Madras College. He has written numerous articles for golf magazines, periodicals and the national press.

As a long-time St. Andrews resident, Malcolm knew descendants of the Morris family and spent dozens of years investigating Tom Morris and his influence on the Old Course and the game.

“I‘ve researched this story all my life,” said Malcolm. “Frankly, it’s hard to figure out when I began on this book and when I stopped.”

Crabtree, a retired Yorkshire businessman, is a founder and past captain of the British Golf Collectors Society. A lifelong golfer and historian of the game, he has been collecting golf artefacts for many years, particularly those associated with St. Andrews and Tom Morris.

Malcolm and Crabtree will be presented the award on 8th April in Augusta, at the Golf Writers Association of America’s annual awards dinner during the week of the Masters Tournament. Receiving the award will be the culmination of a collaboration many years in the making.

“David and I met about 13 years ago and started working together,” said Crabtree. “We were interested in the story of Tom Morris as he was, not the myths and hyperbole surrounding him.”

The Herbert Warren Wind Book Award was established in 1987. The award recognizes and honours outstanding contributions to golf literature while attempting to broaden the public’s interest in, and knowledge of, the game of golf.

Wind, who died in 2005, was the famed New Yorker and Sports Illustrated writer who coined the phrase ‘Amen Corner’ at Augusta National. He is the only writer to win the USGA’s Bob Jones Award, the Association’s highest honour.

“I met Herbert Warren Wind when I was a young boy in St. Andrews and carried his bag on the New Course,” said Malcolm. “He was a great idol of mine, and I cannot tell you how much this means to me.”

The USGA is currently accepting submissions for the 2009 Herbert Warren Wind Book Award. For more information, contact Nancy Stulack, the USGA Museum’s librarian, at (908) 234-2300 or nstulack@usga.org.

To be eligible, a book must be an original full-length work about golf, written in English, and published in the preceding year.

Tom Morris of St Andrews was published by Rhod McEwan at Glengarden Press in Scotland. www.rhodmcewan.com/tom_morris/index.htm

       

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