Tony Jacklin - England - Biography of his golfing career.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 25 May 1973

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      Friday, 07 July 1944
      Scunthorpe, England
  • England
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Tony JACKLIN - England - Biography of his golfing career.

                                 Tony Jacklin is pictured above in 1973.


                                                   1960s: Victory at the Open in 1969.


Tony Jacklin started out his golfing life as a 17 year old assistant pro to Bill Shankland at Potters Bar,Herts in 1961 and the following year saw him joining the paid ranks. He won his first tournament in 1965,when lifting the Gore-Ray Assistants Championship,but 1967 was the year when he really shot to prominence. He lifted the Pringle Tournament,the prestigious Dunlop Masters and in the Open he finished in a highly respectable fifth place,seven strokes behind winner Roberto de Vicenzo. Jacklin was selected for his first Ryder Cup in 1967 and performed creditably enough with two and a half points from six as the Great Britain team were soundly beaten 23 1/2-8 1/2. Not content with winning on the European tour Jacklin set out to prove himself the following year on the other side of the Atlantic. It was not long before he won the Jacksonville Open Invitational and in doing so he became the first Briton to win on the US Tour.


In 1969 Tony Jacklin became a national hero when he lifted the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St.Annes. His four under par total was enough to give him victory by two strokes from Australian Bob Charles and he became the first home-grown winner since Max Faulkner 18 years previously. Buoyed by that success Jacklin performed quite brilliantly in that year's Ryder Cup as the two teams fought out a thrilling 16-16 draw. After taking 3 1/2 points from a possible four in the first two days,the Open Champion then handed the great Jack Nicklaus a 4&3 beating in the last day morning singles and followed that up with a vital half against the same player in the last match of the afternoon singles. (David Scranage)



                                         1970-72.    US Open success in 1970 & agony at '72 Open


His confidence still sky high after his Open triumph and Ryder Cup heroics of 1969,Tony Jacklin travelled to the Hazeltine National course in Minnesota for the US Open looking for his second major. He opened the tournament with a fine 71 in wet,windy conditions to be two strokes ahead of Julis Boros whilst the likes of Palmer,Player and Nicklaus were all but out of contention after shooting 79,80 & 81 respectively. The next two rounds produced a pair of 70's to leave the Englishman four clear of his nearest rival Dave Hill and a further 70 in the final round saw Jacklin the winner by seven clear strokes. In doing so he became the first Englishman since Ted Ray way back in 1920 to win the event and his seven stroke victory was the biggest winning margin for 49 years.


Jacklin continued his rich vein of form into the Open at St. Andrews but he had to settle for a tie for third place,three strokes behind Jack Nicklaus and Doug Sanders who went into a play-off. The following year also saw a third place finish,this time behind Lee Trevino and Lu Liang-Huan. The popular Englishman was back in contention once more at the 1972 Open in Muirfield where his opening rounds of 69 and 72 saw him level with Trevino. The third round was,perhaps,the turning point as the little Mexican finished with five consecutive birdies to card a 66 compared to Jacklin's 67,even though Tony had played the better golf that day. Going up the 17th on the final day the two men were all square and when Trevino was through the green in four shots,whilst Jacklin was 15 feet short of the hole in three,a second claret jug was within touching distance. It was not to be,however,as Trevino remarkably holed out and the nervy Jacklin three putted. Many felt this was the moment that finished Tony Jacklin as a world class golfer and it is fair to say that he never challenged for a major again. (David Scranage)


This image of Tony Jacklin was taken on 15th. May 1980 at the European PGA Champioship.

Photo George herringshaw.   ©

                                                  1973-82.     Last tour victory at '81 British PGA.


After the massive disappointment of the 1972 Open Tony Jacklin proved that he was still Europe's top man by winning the Italian Open and the Dunlop Masters on his way to topping the 1973 European Order of Merit with a total of £24,839. Later that year he also performed well in the Ryder Cup gaining 3 1/2 points from a possible six in a 19-13 defeat at the hands of the Americans. The next few years brought a handful of victories such as the Scandinavian Enterprise Open and Los Lagartos Open in 1974,the Kerrygold International Classic in 1976 and the German and Venezuelan Opens of 1979. There was no doubt,however,that the Jacklin fire was not burning quite so brightly and after his second place finish in the 1974 Order of Merit his next best effort was 10th in 1979. He did make the Ryder Cup teams of 1975 & '77 and was also a member of the first ever European team in 1979 in what proved to be his last Cup appearance. Jacklin's record of 13 wins,14 losses and 8 halves in seven successive appearances between 1967-79 was no bad effort in a period of total American domination. Jacklin lifted the 1981 Jersey Open and he then surprised many by winning the much sought after British PGA Championship the following year. That was to be Jacklin's last tour victory but he could look back on his achievements as a double major winner with great pride. There was every reason to look forward with excitement,however,as another wonderful chapter was ready to unfold in the golfing life of Tony Jacklin in the shape of the Ryder Cup captaincy. (David Scranage)




Tony Jacklin proudly holds aloft The Ryder Cup at The Belfry.

Photo George Herringshaw.  ©


With his career as a top tour player seemingly behind him Tony Jacklin took on the role of Ryder Cup captain for the 1983 match at the PGA National in Florida and all but led his team to a shock victory. With the likes of Severiano Ballesteros,Sandy Lyle,Nick Faldo,Bernhard Langer and youngster Paul Way for Jacklin to choose from it was fair to say that this was the strongest team the Americans had come up against for many a year. After two days the teams were inseperable at eight points apiece and in a last day of high drama the Americans squeezed home by the tightest of margins at 14 1/2-13 1/2. Two years later Jacklin gained revenge when he led his men to a comprehensive 16 1/2-11 1/2 triumph at the Belfry in what was the American's first defeat for 28 years. The Europeans had trailed after the first morning foursomes 3-1 but by the end of day two they had nosed ahead by nine points to seven.


On the final day they were not to be denied and Sam Torrance's victory against Andy North secured victory. A proud Jacklin held the Cup aloft (see photo above) and the celebrations began! Not content with that victory Tony masterminded the first ever win on American soil as the Europeans triumphed 15-13 two years later. At the end of play on day two Jacklin's side held a commanding 10 1/2-5 1/2 lead and despite an American charge on the final day it was all to late and the cup remained with the Europeans. Tony was persuaded to carry on his captaincy duties two years later and he oversaw a 14-14 draw which meant that the cup was once more retained. The Ryder Cup is now one of the most eagerly awaited and tightly contested events not just in golf but in the whole of sport and Tony Jacklin can be rightly proud of his part in that. (David Scranage)