An important, rare and historical golden thornwood Hugh Philp putter

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Lot 304
An important, rare and historical golden thornwood Hugh Philp putter

Sold for £ 31,200 (US$ 39,562) inc. premium

Golfing Memorabilia

13 Jul 2007, 11:00 BST

Edinburgh

An important, rare and historical golden thornwood Hugh Philp putter
With engraved brass plate, 'President's Putter Presented by F.R. Watson President 1932-1952 - Original Hugh Philp Putter used by Young Tom Morris when winning his last Open Championship in 1872' together with a supporting Kendal Golf Club 1951 AGM report.

Footnotes

  • Fred R. Watson was a well-known and respected Kendal businessman. In 1924 he became the proprietor of the tea and coffee merchants firm that he had joined as a boy and remained with the firm in Kendal until he retired in 1950.
    Mr. Watson joined Kendal Golf Club, Cumbria in 1897, only 25 years after Young Tom's win.
    Mr. Watson's golfing credentials are exemplary. He was Kendal's Captain on three occasions - 1926, 1927 and 1930 and such was the esteem that the members held him in, he was elected Club President in 1932. He was also a leading figure in the golfing world serving with the English Golf Union for 20 years in his capacity as President of the Cumberland and Westmorland Union.
    In 1947 to mark his services to Kendal Golf Club, Watson was made a Life Member.
    On his retirement in 1950 Watson presented Kendal Golf Club with one of its most prized trophies, the President's Putter.
    The Kendal Golf Club Annual General Meeting 10 March 1951 "Report for 1950" states the 'grateful thanks of the Members are due to the President, Mr F.R. Watson for generously presenting a "President's Putter," to be competed for annually. The putter has historic associations, as it is an original Hugh Philp club and was used by Tom Morris, Junior, when he won his last Open Championship in 1872'.
    Tom Morris, Jr., won four consecutive Open titles, the fourth being in 1872 when he scored 166 to David Straith's 169 at Prestwick. There were only eight competitors. The R. & A., the Prestwick Golf Clubs and the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers had contributed to the new trophy, an ornate claret jug.
    He died three years later aged 24.
    Fred R. Watson died in 1953 and with it disappeared the opportunity to find out more of this putter's history. It is not known how long the putter had been in Mr. Watson's possession before he presented it to the Kendal Golf Club in 1950.
    Mr Watson specifically said his Philp putter was the one used in the 1872 Open, which is a unique claim. There is good reason to believe it, in the light of Mr. Watson's golfing pedigree. Other less well made or finished Philp putters are, or have been described, in much less specific terms. To have it specifically recorded as 'the one' used by Young Tom to win his last Open in 1872 is indeed specific and was noted decades before there were really any other golfers interested in collecting old golf items with provenance.
    In January 1991, Philips (lot 289) sold for £3,400 a Hugh Philp thorn headed putter that had been in the Bernard Darwin Collection at Rye, E. Sussex...the catalogue quotes 'Darwin's "Golfing Bypaths" published London 1946, pp. 191. Simpson, the ex St. Andrews professional at Rye, saw this club and was of the opinion that the club had belonged to Young Tom Morris...'
    There is a putter said to have been used by Young Tom Morris to win the 1870 Open in a private American collection.
    The Philp putter sold by Lyon & Turnbull in July 2005 for £70,000 came from the Harry B. Wood Collection and was identified by a printed card tied to the club stating that the club had belonged to both Old and Young Tom Morris but not for any specific purpose.
An important, rare and historical golden thornwood Hugh Philp putter
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