10 Balcarres Road, Musselburgh, EH21 7SD, East Lothian, Scotland

Willie Park Senior v Tom Morris Senior at Musselburgh Featured in The Film ‘Tommy’s Honour’

Musselburgh, March 8, 1870.

“We, the undersigned, agree to commence to play our match at golf for 100 sterling a-side on Tuesday, the 12th day of April, and that on St Andrews links at 12 o’clock; on Prestwick, 15th April; North Berwick, 19th April; and on Musselburgh links, 22nd April, to play at same hour (twelve o’clock), as at St Andrews.”

Signed, Tom Morris, Willie Park.

Of these the most notorious match was in 1870. Tom and Willie had agreed to play four rounds of four courses for £100 of which the last four were at Musselburgh, where they were accompanied by a partisan crowd of several thousand who had come to see their local man win. This resulted in serious interference with Old Tom’s play, which the referee, Mr Robert Chambers, an eminent golfer himself, was unable to control. When the players retired for refreshments at Mrs Forman’s, with 6 holes left to play and Willie Park two holes ahead in the match, Mr Chambers decided that play should be abandoned and resumed the following day in the hope of better comportment by the spectators.

Willie Park believed this exceeded the referee’s powers and, with due notice, returned to play the remaining holes in 22 strokes. The following day, Park refused to play and Tom Morris, under direction the referee, walked the course (in 28 strokes) and was declared the winner. Nowadays few remember the result of the match, only the controversy of the circumstances. 

With permission from JK – Producer of TM