Tom Weiskopf, 1973 Open champion, dies after battle with pancreatic cancer
Tom Weiskopf, the 1973 Open champion, died this week following a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer, the Associated Press confirmed. He was 79.
Weiskopf was among the game’s best players in the 1970s, winning 12 times on Tour in the decade and 16 times overall in his career. His major triumph came at Royal Troon, where he finished three shots clear of Johnny Miller and Neil Coles, with Jack Nicklaus a further stroke behind.
Weiskopf was also a prolific course architect. Working with Jay Morrish and in a solo capacity, Weiskopf had more than 40 course designs to his credit; among them: TPC Scottsdale, Troon North GC in Scottsdale and Loch Lomond GC in Scotland.
Thomas Daniel Weiskopf was born on Nov. 9, 1942 in Massillon, Ohio. He said he first took up golf after attending the 1957 U.S. Open at Inverness Club in Toledo. A young Weiskopf watched Sam Snead on the practice range and Weiskopf later said the sound of Snead’s iron shots and the flight of his ball hooked him forever.
Weiskopf attended Ohio State University and was a freshman teammate of Nicklaus. He would battle Nicklaus in major championships throughout his career. As Nicklaus did with many of his contemporaries, he dealt Weiskopf a lot of heartache. Weiskopf was a four-time runner-up at the Masters, including twice to Nicklaus, in 1972 and ’75. Overall, Weiskopf has 11 top-5 finishes in majors, in addition to his claret jug victory.
Nicknamed “The Towering Inferno,” the 6-foot-3-inch Weiskopf was noted for his temper. In 1975, he walked off Westchester CC on the 12th hole of the second round for what he said were “complicated reasons,” and was fined by the Tour.
Weiskopf also won four times on what is now the PGA Tour Champions, including the 1995 U.S. Senior Open by four strokes over Nicklaus, and was a two-time U.S. Ryder Cup team member (1973, ’75 – he made the team in ’77, but chose to go big-game hunting instead of competing).
After his playing career, Weiskopf worked as a golf analyst for CBS Sports, ABC Sports and ESPN.