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Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son Hardcover – April 5, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 327 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham (April 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592402976
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592402977
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The tale of Tom Morris, winner of golf's first Open Championship in Scotland in 1860, and his son, Tommy Morris, who won the Open three years in a row, is not only one of sport's great stories but also a compelling saga of near-Homeric proportions. Like Mark Frost in The Greatest Game Ever Played (2002), about Francis Quimet's unlikely triumph in the 1913 U.S. Open, Cook tells the story of Tom Sr and Tom Jr. with his eyes on multiple balls: golf history, personal drama, and the larger societal concerns that the young game reflected. The son of a weaver and a maid, Tom Morris went from apprentice golf-ball maker to the Grand Old Man of St. Andrews, the home of golf. Along the way, he won the Open Championship four times and fathered a son, known as Young Tom, who broke all his father's records yet died in his twenties at the height of his fame and only a few months after his wife died in childbirth. Golf history claims Young Tom died of a broken heart, and while Cook sets the record straight on that point, the heartbreaking essence of the story will not be reduced to pulmonary embolisms. Beyond telling a tragic story of supreme athletic accomplishment and premature death, Cook shows how golf, though quickly claimed by the aristocracy, had its roots in the working classes. Golf history at its absolute best. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

Tommy's Honor is a book filled with stylish writing and the best kind of nostalgia. It tells as much about the game of life as the game of golf-it's moving, engaging, and deeply satisfying. The best of human values rise up out of its stories of fathers and sons, wives and children, and games of honor and pathos. -- Thomas Moore, author of Dark Nights of the Soul

A stirring tale of tragedy, triumph, faith and perseverance. Kevin Cook reveals Old Tom Morris as golf’s first hero, a paragon who worked to make St. Andrews the symbol of the game’s enduring greatness. Every golfer should read Tommy’s Honor. -- Ben Crenshaw, Two-Time Masters Winner

A wonderful story of Scottish golf history. -- Pete Dye, world-renowned course architect

Among the countless graces bestowed on the game of golf, none surpass its fostering by the Morrises during the years of its modern birth at St. Andrews. Old Tom and Young Tom will always be intimately and wondrously present at the Course. Tommy’s Honor brings them closer than ever before, with the joy, the heartache, the tears, and the pride we feel for them. -- Michael Murphy, author of Golf in the Kingdom

The true and heartbreaking story of Old and Young Tom Morris has been a tale cloaked in too much mysticism and romance—until now. Tommy’s Honor puts real flesh on the bones of two fascinating men whose triumphs and tragedies helped shape the game we know and love today. It’s a fine and elegiac story you won’t soon forget. -- JamesDodson, author of Final Rounds

Customer Reviews

This is a very well written book.
Catherine V. Cunningham
I learned a great deal about the legendary Old Tom and Young Tom Morris, and about St. Andrews, the history of golf and the country of Scotland.
John P. Pohl
Great human story, about the birthplace of golf and the characters that shaped golf as we know it.
Bill H

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By T. Ferris on May 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're a golf history nut, or just interested in late 1800's-early 1900's, you'll love this book. If you just like to know more about the great game of golf, this is your book. Kevin Cook brings the world of St. Andrews and Scotland to life. You can just about smell the oil lamps burning on the streets or the low tide blowing in from the North Sea. Oh, and the history of Tom Morris and his son, Tommy, is just amazing. I felt like I was reading a novel but is was true! If you love golf or know someone that loves the game you must get this book. It's a classic.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert Calcagno on May 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Kevin Cook's poignant biography of the Morrises brings Tom and Tommy alive for his readers. It's much more than a story of their lives. It's about fathers and sons, families, social classes, golf, and the birth of the touring golf professional.

Tom's story gives us a keen insight into golf and a golfer's life in the second half of the 19th century. Many aspects of golf have changed over the years and, surprisingly, many have remained exactly as they were 150 years ago.

The reason for the seemingly strange title is revealed in the final sentence of the book.

This book should be on every golfer's Best-Sellers list.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lyle Slovick on September 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If I were to recommend a single book to read about the famous Morris family, it would be Kevin Cook's Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son. Many of us know the familiar history of these men - of Old Tom's falling out with famous ball maker and player Allan Robertson, and of Young Tom dying of a broken heart on Christmas Day. This book goes beyond that and reveals fascinating layers of their lives previously unexamined.

This work is a wonderfully crafted narrative along the lines of Mark Frost's The Greatest Game Ever Played. It draws on facts gleaned from numerous sources, including contemporary newspaper accounts, and creates a compelling story of father and son. We are taken inside their lives in equal measure. We can feel the cold water of St. Andrews Bay as Old Tom goes for his morning swim, we are inside Allan Robertson's kitchen as Tom makes feathery balls for him. We witness his big money matches, we move with Tom, wife Nancy and baby Tommy to Prestwick, we win Opens with him and then return to St. Andrews and follow Young Tom's ascendency to golf immortality.

The enduring impact Old Tom had as Keeper of the Green at St. Andrews and his lasting legacy on the game of golf is developed quite thoroughly. Cook even touches on the class differences between Tom and the men of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews he served. Old Tom is portrayed as a man with great dedication to his family and profession. Beyond that, he also possessed a steady, dignified grace. The following passages are illustrative of both Cook's scholarship and expressive style:

"For greens other than the one at the wet High Hole he used clay pipes as hole liners.
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James W. Skelton, Jr. on August 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This work by Kevin Cook is the best historical golf book I have ever read. Cook brings the characters to life by providing personal insights he garnered through research of local newspapers and other articles he was able to find about Old Tom and and Young Tom Morris. It is a remarkable tale that reveals details about mid 19th century life and golf in Scotland in a way that has never been accomplished before.
I highly recommend the book to any and all readers who have an interest in the beginnings of the game of golf and its founding fathers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. A. Richey on January 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Tommy's Honor" is a great read for the golfer or non-golfing history buff. The research is extraordinary and gives the reader an indepth look at this one slice of the pie of a very specific period in the history of golf and those who shaped the game. The book's insights into the game will be of great interest to the golfer. The narrative---Tommy's story is a great story and a great story told extremely well by the author!-- will be interesting to anyone who enjoys historical biography. This is a serious book yet easy to read. The story is one of triumph, wit and tragedy. A good history book will always generate in the reader's mind parallels to contemporary events. "Tommy's Honor" certainly does. I found that the book underscores the pretension and enforcement of class superiority that exists at most golfing clubs still today.....how club patrons perceive, disregard or denigrate the roles of "subservient" club employees while it is these same professional employees and NOT the patrons who in reality maintain and add to the history and integrity and development of the game; unsung heroes. "Tommy's Honor" is an awesome read. It's one of those books added to my bookcase and not passed on to someone else. It's a keeper!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Fred Fernatt on June 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In 2001 when my middle daughter was accepted to the University of St Andrews we were elated about the prospect of her studing abroad in a first class institution and she was especially excited about being a classmate of Prince William. Golf was an after thought. I had only begun playing a few years earlier and carried a 14 handicap. I read several books on the history of the town of St Andrews and played the course over a dozen times during the ensuring four years. When a friend metioned that he had read "Tommy's Honor" I was lukewarm but took his advice I ordered the book through Amazon. It was one the best written and compelling books I've ever had the chance to read. The humanity of the characters and the richness of the story line compares well with the best novels. I visited the grave site with mild curosity before but now I am making plans to return to St Andrews to play and to walk in the steps of Old and Young Tom Morris.

Fred Fernatt MA,MS,CPA,CFP
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