Willie Campbell

Full Name
William Campbell
Year of Birth
1862
Year of Death
1900 (aged 38)
Place Born
Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland
Place Died
Dorchester, Massachusetts, USA

Willie was runner-up in the Open of 1886. The following year he was assistant to Prestwick's Charles Hunter, finishing third in the Open there with a disastrous 9 after finding a bunker on the 16th. Harold Hilton recounts entering Hunter’s shop after the tournament and seeing two upturned buckets. On one sat Campbell, on the other his caddy, both weeping bitterly. antiquegolfscotland.com

Willie Campbell was born in Musselburgh and caddied for the three-time Open champion Bob Ferguson when he played on the local links. He played in five of the first six Open championships at Prestwick before finishing second in 1886, which was the closest he ever came to winning the event.

He had another near-miss the following year, actually, when the tournament was again played at Prestwick, where he had become the professional. Playing in torrential rain and a howling wind, Willie found a deep bunker (later named “Campbell’s Grave”) on the 16th and took several shots to extricate himself from the hazard, falling away into third place.

“Match play rather than stroke play was Campbell's forte, winning many money matches. In 1886, he defeated Willie Park twice over Musselburgh and North Berwick, beat the champion David Brown and had victories over Bob Martin and Willie Fernie,” commented Melvyn Morrow on golfclubatlas.com.

He moved on to Ranfurly Castle in Renfrewshire, where he designed the club’s 9-hole course and laid out several others (including The Machrie) before heading to America to become the first professional at Brookline Country Club in Boston.

“Campbell suffered from a rheumatic condition and immigrated to America in 1894 – setting up shop in Boston,” said Tom MacWood on golfclubatlas.com. “1894 was a critical year for golf in Boston and the United States. There were four major projects that year: the expansion of Brookline, the laying out of the first nines at Essex County, Quincy (Wollaston) and Mypoia Hunt. Campbell was responsible for all four. Considering the importance of these courses, particularly Brookline and ...

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