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It has only taken more than 100 years longer than originally intended but plans to erect a statue of Old Tom Morris in St Andrews have moved a step closer.

An application to install a 110%-scale bronze statue of the ‘Grandfather of Golf’ on the Bow Butts has been lodged with Fife Council.

If approved, the sculpture will look towards Morris’ former home and shop, as well as the 18th green and fairway of the Old Course – which already bears his name – and the R&A Clubhouse.

Renowned artist David Annand has been commissioned to create the statue, which was first touted as far back as 1909.

According to the application statement, the statue of Morris will “stimulate awareness of local golf history and would leave a lasting memory in St Andrews of the venerable ‘Keeper of the Green’ and contribute to the history of the Royal Burgh in a most meaningful way by adding to the historic character of the town.”

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It adds: “It is strange that this great man has been honoured at many other golfing venues in the UK and in other countries, but has not been formally recognised in his home town, beside the Old Course, which he helped to shape into the most famous golf course in the world.

“It will provide a wonderful end point for the Old Tom Morris Trail. It is anticipated that this statue will become a ‘must see’ and that it will, therefore, have a positive economic impact on the town.”

The application has already received the support of organisations including the St Andrews Links Trust, the R&A, the St Andrews golf clubs, the St Andrews Preservation and the Royal Burgh of St Andrews Community Council.

Sheila Walker and Melvyn Morrow, the great-great-grandchildren of Morris have also endorsed the project.

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Born in June 1821 in St Andrews, Thomas Mitchell Morris influenced so many elements of modern-day golf, from the balls we use, to the clubs we swing, to the tee boxes, fairways and greens we play on, to the very popularity of a sport that is now played and famed the world over.

He became a club-maker, ball-maker, competitor, Open champion, ‘Keeper of the Greens’, golf architect, coach and mentor.

He designed, co-designed or re-modelled more than 100 golf courses, including Leven Links, Royal Dornoch, Nairn, Cruden Bay, Royal Burgess and Panmure. The final course design project he undertook was Kirkcaldy in 1904.

Morris was also instrumental in establishing The Open, which he won four times. In 1896, at 74, he became the oldest player ever to compete in the championship, a record that still stands.

He died in 1908, after sustaining a fatal head injury when he fell down the stairs at the New Golf Club in St Andrews.

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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