Tommy Armour, often referred to as the “Silver Scot” and known for being the namesake of a still-used club manufacturer, and for inventing the popular word “yips” to describe severe putting woes, was the third golfer to claim the U.S. Open (1927), the British Open (1931) and the PGA Championship (1930) titles in his career.
He was the owner briefly of the Tam O’Shanter Country Club in West Bloomfield at the end of his peak playing years before leaving to work at Medinah Country Club in suburban Chicago in 1933. There he became known as one of the game’s leading and most expensive golf instructors. Golf legend Babe Didrikson was one of his famous pupils. She won three U.S. Women’s Open titles while working with him, often at his winter stop at Boca Raton Club in Florida.
A native of Scotland, Armour won 25 times on the PGA Tour, including the 1929 Western Open, which was considered a major championship in that era, and three Canadian Opens.
He came to the U.S. after being educated in England and serving as a tank machine-gunner with the highly regarded “Black Watch” infantry battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. The horrors of war, including mustard gas, left him blind in his left eye and with a steel plate in his left shoulder. It took him months of rehabilitation and surgeries to regain site in his right eye, and then he set upon regaining his golf game.
Armour was also a golf author penning two instructional books and a syndicated newspaper column. Illinois PGA Section writer Tim Cronin revealed in a story about Armour that the golfer was vexed with his putting one day and reportedly said; “I had the yips.” He went on to describe it as a brain spasm that impairs the short game. He died in 1968 in New York. He was 72. PGA Tour player Tommy Armour III is his grandson.