At one time the golf professionals had to play with a marker in the U.S. Open!

At one time the golf professionals had to play with a marker in the U.S. Open!

At one time, the USGA assigned markers to the golf professionals in the U.S. Open. Because the professionals were playing for money they were not trusted to keep their own scores, not even by a fellow competitor. A non-competitor walked with each professional recording his score on each hole, while the amateurs were trusted to report their own scores.

On January 17, 1916, a group of 75 golf professionals and leading amateurs, like Francis Quimet and Albert W. Tillinghast, met in New York City at Wanamaker’s Taplow Club to explore the formation of a national organization of golf professionals.  


Philadelphia’s Albert W. Tillinghast, a fine amateur golfer and golf course architect, spoke at length on the need for the golf professionals forming of a national organization.

He related a story from the 1915 Pennsylvania Open at Shawnee Country Club. Tom Anderson, Jr. was on the green of the final hole with a one stroke lead and a short putt to win the title. His golf ball had come to rest in a cupped lie. As the president of Shawnee and architect of the course, Tillinghast was the referee for the Anderson pairing. With his golf ball in the line of his fellow competitor, Anderson was requested to lift his ball. At that time a golf ball was simply lifted and not cleaned.  A ball marker was not used to assist in replacing the ball.    

Tillinghast stated “When he replaced, Anderson put the ball religiously back into the cupped lie, although he was certain to miss the putt and did, owing to the bad lie. How many amateurs” asked Tillinghast “would not have been tempted to give the replaced ball a good lie? I know that the rules are observed no more honestly by any golfers than the pros. It is the amateurs who take liberties with the rules.”

Tillinghast said it was time for the golf professionals to become more independent of the USGA. Until then the USGA had served as a clearing house for golf professional and green keeper positions. Tillinghast added that the golf professionals should have the ability to handle their own affairs. If organized, the professionals would be treated with more respect.

When Rodman Wanamaker offered to put up the money for a championship the PGA of America was founded On April 10, 1916.

By missing that putt in the 1915 Pennsylvania Open, Anderson ended in a tie with Eddie Loos. That same day they played an 18-hole playoff which ended with them still tied. On the 55th hole of the day Anderson won with a par.

Later in 1915, while learning to drive with the assistance of an instructor, Tom Anderson, Jr. died at the wheel of the automobile at age 29. His brother Willie, winner of four US Opens, had died in 1910 at the age of 31.

2 thoughts on “At one time the golf professionals had to play with a marker in the U.S. Open!

Add yours

  1. Thanks Pete. Interesting that the USGA was the clearinghouse for Head Golf professionals and head greenkeepers.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: