Born in 1881, James R. “Jim” Thomson immigrated to the United States from North Berwick, Scotland in 1905 to be the assistant at Merion Cricket Club (later Golf Club). One of the best golfers in North Berwick, Thomson had worked as a plasterer, because it paid better than golf. One year after arriving in the states, he was the head professional at Merion. Thomson won the 1913 Pennsylvania Open. In 1916 he was a founding member of the PGA of America and a board member.
In July of 1912 Thomson, now the professional at the Philadelphia Country Club, was playing in the Metropolitan Open at The Apawamis Club in Rye, NY, where he tied for third. After turning in his scorecard, he realized that he had signed for a score, one stroke less than what he had shot and reported it to the tournament committee. Thomson was disqualified. The tournament committee then proceeded to present a check for $62.50 to Thomson for what he would have won if not disqualified. The check for Thomson was extra and not a part of the tournament purse. .
In 1921, Thomson was now the professional at Overbrook Golf Club. Apawamis was looking for a new head professional and remembered James R. Thomson as a golf professional their club might like to be associated with. Thomson was hired and spent the remaining 25 years of his head professional career at Apawamis.