There are a thousand tales of Peter Thomson’s epic career, but none more poignant than those in his own words.
Earlier this year, the five-time Open Championship winner sat with golf writer Richard Allen and chronicled some of the 87-year-old’s memories of his lifelong golfing journey.
Dozens of stories on players from Bobby Jones to Tiger Woods are covered, but few more touching than the simple heartfelt tale of the day he gave the Open trophy he’d recently won to son Andrew to take to school for “show and tell”.
“He went off in the morning with the Claret Jug in his schoolbag and in the afternoon I was home about 4 o’clock and I saw him come through the gate with his head down,” Thomson reveals.
“I opened the door and said, `Come in son, what’s happened to you?’.
“He said, `The boys rubbished me – one kid said his dad has got 14 of those’.”
Wonderful such gems dot the video, including the great and “secret” tale of Thomson’s dominance of the US Senior PGA Tour on which he won twice in 1984 before going full time the following season and dominating the circuit with nine more victories.
“I had a special ball, made by the Dunlop company in Tokyo. I began winning with this ball and players around me started to suspect that I had a special ball to play with because everyone else didn’t have one,” Thomson says.
“So they began to steal them out of my bag.
“That ball was actually the shortest ball of the whole lot you can buy in the pro shop and when I used it, it never got higher than (a relatively low trajectory).
“This was a ball that didn’t get up and go, but it went very direct. When I hit an iron shot it didn’t go much higher than (the ceiling of) this room, but it would take care of the distance and the fact it was going directly to the target was a big advantage.
“The next year in January I phoned Tokyo and said, `Please send me a gross of balls because I want to go back to the US Tour’.
“But he said, `I’m sorry, we don’t make that ball any more’.
“I said, `What? I’ve won 11 tournaments by now, what do you mean you don’t make them any more?’.
“You’ll find it will fly better. But, of course, it went up high, the wind got it and I never did achieve that accuracy (again).”
Thomson lifts the lid on what it was like to play with all the legends of the 1950s in this not-to-be-missed video of a truly remarkable career.
“I don’t know if I’d want to change anything, I’ve been a very lucky player,” Thomson says.
“I played in 30 Open Championships and I lost 25 of them, it wasn’t so bad.”