John Panton M.B.E. (9 October 1916 - 24 July 2009) was born in Pitlochry Scotland.
Panton was a natural sportsman. He was a skilful inside-forward and had football trials with Hearts and Dundee. However he was also a promising young golfer and reached the semi-finals of the British Boys Championship in 1934. He turned professional the next year aged 19 and took up a job in the local golf club shop at Pitlochry where he stayed for the next four years.
Panton joined the Army in 1939 and during the war he served as a gunner in Burma and Italy; he wasn't demobed until 1946.
After the war, Panton had precious little tournament experience to call on for a man who had been a professional for 11 years. It didn't take him long, though, to find his feet and the first of his many successes came in the Scottish Professional Championship of 1948.
Thereafter, Panton was a serious competitor for the next 30-plus years. He went on to win several prestigious tournaments including the 1950 Silver King Tournament, the 1951 Daks Tournament, the Vardon Trophy in 1951 as the leading player in the Order of Merit on the Tour, the 1952 North British-Harrogate Tournament and the 1956 PGA Match Play Championship. In addition to tournament golf, Panton also served as a club professional at Glenbervie Golf Club for 38 years until 1984. He also won the Woodlawn Invitation Open in Germany for three consecutive years from 1958. In Scotland, he dominated, with eight victories in the Scottish Professionals Championship and seven in the Northern Open between 1948 and 1962. Later in his career, he won the PGA Seniors Championship twice, in 1967 and 1969, and the World Seniors Championship in 1967, defeating Sam Snead 3 and 2 in the final.
Throughout his career he was nicknamed 'Gentleman John' or 'Honest John' because of his good manners and taciturn nature.
Panton's best finish in the Open was fifth in 1956 at Hoylake. He played in 27 Championships over a period of 37 years, with his last appearance coming at the age of 57 at Lytham. In 1970 at St. Andrews, when he was 53, he tied for ninth place behind the winner Jack Nicklaus and his cheque for £1,200 was the biggest pay-day of his career.
As well as his Ryder Cup appearances in 1951, 1953 and 1961, until his death on 24 July 2009, Panton was the oldest surviving Ryder Cup player on either side of the Atlantic. He also represented Scotland thirteen times in the World Cup between 1955 and 1968.
Panton was appointed honorary professional to The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in 1988, a position he held until his retirement in 2006. A portrait of the former Glenbervie professional now hangs in the R & A's clubhouse. In 2005, he was made an honorary life member of the European Tour.
At the John Panton Memorial Service in Pitlochry in September 2009 Peter Dawson the R. & A. Secretary paid tribute, "John Panton was a magnificent golfer, a model professional and a true gentleman..."
It was a measure of Panton's celebrity that he shared with Arnold Palmer the all but unique distinction of having a drink named after him. In America, an 'Arnold Palmer' is ice tea mixed with lemonade, while in Scotland a 'John Panton' consists of ginger beer and lime.
Panton lived the last years of his life with his daughter Catherine Panton-Lewis, herself an outstanding professional golfer.
St. Andrews: John Panton's 1970 Open Championship Player's blue and silver badge
Complete with original back pin together with his bag tag.
At the 1970 Open at St Andrews when he was aged 53 John Panton recorded the lowest final round and finished in a tie for 9th position... a cheque from the R.& A. for £1,200 marked the biggest pay-day of his career.