Golfer Tom Weiskopf: Bio and Career Stats

Profile of the golfer who won the 1973 British Open

Tom Weiskopf
Tom Weiskopf plants a kiss on the Claret Jug after winning the 1973 British Open. (Arthur Jones/Getty Images)

Tom Weiskopf was one of the best-known PGA Tour golfers of the 1970s, although his career began in the 1960s and extended into the 1990s on the senior tour. Once his playing days were over, Weiskopf became a successful golf course designer and also worked in broadcasting.

Fast Facts: Tom Weiskopf

  • Occupation: Professional golfer and, later, golf course designer
  • Nickname: The Towering Inferno
  • Born: November 9, 1942 in Massillon, Ohio
  • Education: Ohio State University
  • Key Accomplishments: Winner of 16 PGA Tour tournaments and one major championship, plus one senior major
  • Quote: "My game never has been too bad. It's all just a state of mind. That's all it is for any of us."

His nickname — "Towering Inferno" — arose because he was a very tall player for his era (6-foot-4) and because he was known for having one of the worst tempers of his era.

Weiskopf's Victory Totals and Major Wins

Weiskopf won 16 times on the PGA Tour from the late 1960s into the early 1980s (all his wins are listed at the bottom of this article). That's not a huge amount, but 16 wins does get him onto the list of golfers with the most PGA Tour wins.

One of those victories was his lone win in a major championship, the 1973 British Open.

Later, Weiskopf played sporadically for a few years on the Champions Tour, but did win four tournaments.

Tom Weiskopf's Road to Golf Stardom

Tom Weiskopf was known for having one of the best swings of his era, and his career was pretty good: 16 wins and a British Open championship. But just about everyone, including Weiskopf, felt his career should have been even better.

Golf Digest described him as having "a golf swing to die for, a mixture of grace and power." But a bad temper and his knack for becoming easily flustered cost him. "He was one of the most tormented players of all time, a linear perfectionist who somehow didn't attain the greatness expected of him," according to Golf Digest.

How does Weiskopf respond to such descriptions? When asked in that Golf Digest interview if he had made the most of his talent, Weiskopf replied, "Emphatically, no."

Still, Weiskopf's career was a very good one. "I had power, I had control, I had finesse and I had some guts," he said. He just didn't have the maturity on the golf course, in the late 1960s and 1970s, to make the most of those abilities.

Weiskopf was born a couple years after Jack Nicklaus, and followed Nicklaus through the Ohio golf ranks, winning many of the same titles Nicklaus had. He attended Ohio State University as Nicklaus had.

Weiskopf won the 1963 Western Amateur, turned pro in 1964, and first played full-time on the PGA Tour in 1965. His first tour win was at the 1968 Andy Williams-San Diego Open.

Weiskopf had four multiple-win seasons and finished as high as third on the money list three times before he retired from full-time touring at the age of 40.

His best year was 1973, when he won four tournaments in an 8-week stretch, including the Open Championship. He won seven times around the world that year.

Weiskopf's last victory was the 1983 Western Open, the same tournament where he made his professional debut in 1964.

Weiskopf was an avid big-game hunter who played on two U.S. Ryder Cup teams. What do those two things have in common? His best-known association with the Ryder Cup is the fact that he declined his selection to the 1977 team in order to go on a hunting trip. (He did play for Team USA in the 1973 and 1975 Ryder Cups.)

He later played on the Champions Tour, although he admitted to not enjoying it much. He did win the 1995 U.S. Senior Open, however.

Late in his career and for a brief time after, Weiskopf worked as a television analyst with CBS. Broadcasting the 1986 Masters, Weiskopf was asked what Nicklaus might be thinking during Nicklaus' famous charge to a sixth Green Jacket. Weiskopf replied, "If I knew the way he thought, I would have won this tournament."

Weiskopf got into golf course design working with architect Jay Morrish. The two created many highly regarded courses together. Weiskopf now works on his ​own, and has many highly regarded independent designs, as well. His best-known courses include Loch Lomond in Scotland; Troon Golf and Country Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.; and The Ridge at Castle Pines North in Castle Rock, Colorado.

Quote, Unquote

  • "My game never has been too bad. It's all just a state of mind. That's all it is for any of us."
  • "I would run out of patience and try to do things that were outside my ability. I would beat myself occasionally."


  • Tom Weiskopf shares (with Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus) the record for most runner-up finishes at The Masters with four.
  • Weiskopf led the PGA Tour in scoring average in 1971, but did not receive the Vardon Trophy because of a rule in place at the time that only Class A PGA Professionals were eligible. Weiskopf's paperwork to get that certification was mishandled, so he was not yet certified and therefore ineligible.

List of Weiskopf's Tour Wins

Weiskopf's 16 wins on the PGA Tour, in chronological order:

  • 1968 Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational
  • 1968 Buick Open Invitational
  • 1971 Kemper Open
  • 1971 IVB-Philadelphia Golf Classic
  • 1972 Jackie Gleason's Inverrary Classic
  • 1973 Colonial National Invitation
  • 1973 Kemper Open
  • 1973 IVB-Philadelphia Golf Classic
  • 1973 The Open Championship
  • 1973 Canadian Open
  • 1975 Greater Greensboro Open
  • 1975 Canadian Open
  • 1977 Kemper Open
  • 1978 Doral-Eastern Open
  • 1981 LaJet Classic
  • 1982 Western Open

In addition to his British Open victory, Weiskopf had one other win on the European Tour, the 1981 Benson & Hedges International Open.

Weiskopf also won four times on the Champions Tour:

  • 1994 Franklin Quest Championship
  • 1995 U.S. Senior Open
  • 1996 SBC Dominion Seniors
  • 1996 Pittsburgh Senior Classic