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Tom Weiskopf Dies at Age 79: Golf Course Architect Won The Open Championship in 1973

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 21, 2022

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Former Open Championship winner, golf architect and broadcaster Tom Weiskopf died on Saturday of pancreatic cancer. He was 79.

"The PGA Tour is saddened at the passing of Tom Weiskopf, a towering figure in the game of golf not only during his playing career but through his accomplished work in the broadcast booth and golf course design business," PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement. "Tom is leaving behind a lasting legacy in golf. The beautiful swing he showcased during his 16 career PGA Tour victories is still being emulated today, while his golf courses remain as testaments to his love for the game. Our hearts and deepest sympathies are with his wife, Laurie, two children, Heidi and Eric, and the entire Weiskopf family during this time."

The rest of the golf world also reacted to the news of Weiskopf's death:

GARY PLAYER @garyplayer

Sending my deepest condolences to Tom Weiskopf’s family. Another great life gone too soon due to pancreatic cancer. Rest In Peace, Tom. 🙏 <a href="https://t.co/ngROcrWWYX">pic.twitter.com/ngROcrWWYX</a>

Tom Watson @TomWatsonPGA

I send my deepest sympathies to the family of Tom Weiskopf. Will miss you and your stories. RIP my friend. PC has struck again..

Scott Van Pelt @notthefakeSVP

Sitting at the Road Hole for 4 days next to Tom Weiskopf at The Open was the absolute best. <br><br>Calling golf was fun, sure. But his stories, wisdom, kindness &amp; the laughs shared remain the things I treasure and always will. Love to Laurie and all his family and friends everywhere.

Arron Oberholser @ArronOberholser

RIP Tom Weiskopf. Underrated great player, underrated fantastic architect. Love his reachable risk/reward 5’s, short tough 3’s and especially his great drivable 4’s on just about every course he designed.

Annika Sorenstam @ANNIKA59

Sorry to hear the passing of Tom Weiskopf. Thoughts and prayers to his family. Great talent on the course and second career in golf course architecture. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/rip?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#rip</a>

Rick Reilly @ReillyRick

Hate to hear about the death of Tom Weiskopf. He was a great player, funny storyteller, wonderful golf architect. Lived a big life. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RIP?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RIP</a>

Bob Harig @BobHarig

Tom Weiskopf infamously skipped the 1977 Ryder Cup (after playing previous two) to go hunting… but won 16 times on PGA Tour in era of Jack including 1973 Open at Troon. … also prolific course designer. … not in World Golf Hall of Fame.

Weiskopf won 16 PGA Tour events during his career, though his only major came at the 1973 Open Championship. Four times he finished as the runner-up at The Masters, having the misfortune of running into the legendary Jack Nicklaus throughout his career.

Nicklaus, of course, won a record 18 majors during his career.

"Jack knew he was going to beat you," Weiskopf said of his rival. "You knew Jack was going to beat you. And Jack knew you knew he was going to beat you."

Weiskopf was renowned for a picaresque swing and plenty of power. He was one of the most talented players of his time, though his playing career didn't reach the heights he would have liked, which he attributed to a drinking habit that he kicked for good in 2007.

But he found a second and third life after his playing days in the sport, both as a broadcaster for CBS, ESPN and ABC and as a course designer.

Among his designs was Scottsdale's Troon North, Scotland's Loch Lomond, TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course and San Antonio's La Cantera.

"I look at golf courses a lot of different ways, but I look at the aesthetic course each course can offer," he said in 2017. "You create aesthetic value by having big mature trees, beautiful vista water features and bunker styles. That creates the beauty of the golf course, I think. How could you find a better piece of property than this piece of property, for 36 holes of golf?"

And it was in that second pursuit that Weiskopf seemed to find his true calling.

"I should have done more," he told Golf Digest in 2009. "But I don't dwell on it anymore. I will say this, though: If it wasn't for the fact that I love so much what I'm doing now [golf course design], I would probably be a very unhappy person."

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