George Duncan (1 Open, 3 Ryder Cup's, 1 Ryder Cup Captain)

1883 - 1964

George Duncan (16 September 1883 – 15 January 1964) was a Scottish professional golfer. He was also a golf course designer. His much sought-after professional teaching and swing analysis skills lead to him being referred to as "the pro's pro." He won the 1920 Open Championship.

Duncan was born in MethlickAberdeenshire, Scotland, on 16 September 1883.[1] He was first apprenticed as a carpenter and rejected a chance to become a professional footballer at Aberdeen to become a golf professional.

Duncan was well known for his fast pace of play; he would simply walk to his ball, drop his limbs into his stance immediately, and hit the ball. If he ever studied the line and shape of his shot, he had done it before he reached his ball, for there was no pause when he got to it. As for practice swings, he regarded them as totally unnecessary and barely legal – close to practising on the course.[2]

In 1920, he won the first post World War I Open Championship at Royal Cinque Ports in Kent, in one of the greatest comebacks in Open Championship history. After shooting 80 in his first two rounds, Duncan was thirteen shots behind the leader, Abe Mitchell, before the final two rounds were played, but made up the deficit to win by two shots from Sandy Herd.[3] His rounds were 80-80-71-72=303. He is the last player to win a golf major with a score of 80 for a round.[4]

Although he did not win the British Open in 1922, his third round of that Open was included as one of the 25 greatest rounds of golf ever played in the Guinness Book of Golf Records Facts and Champions. His third round 69 was only the third round shot under 70 in British Open history; a major achievement given the limitations of the golf technology of the day. He just failed to win the 1922 Open, eventually losing to Walter Hagen by a margin of one stroke. The scene of his demise was a dip in the fairway in front of the 18th green from which he fluffed a chip shot to a position five yards short of the pin. He eventually missed the crucial putt for a tie with Hagen, which led to the short position in front of the 18th being ironically named "Duncan's Hollow."

He played for Great Britain in the Ryder Cup in 1927, 1929, and 1931. He was playing captain in 1929 when Great Britain was the victorious side.

Duncan died on 15 January 1964 in Leeds, England.[5] He is best remembered for winning the 1920 Open Championship.