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The Focus of a True Champion
By Katy Conlon
Sponsorship Intern

Willie Anderson
“To think of nothing but golf while engaged in playing golf is the secret to success,” said Willie Anderson.

This intense focus and serious attitude toward golf proved to be truly successful for Willie Anderson, America’s first great golfer.

Anderson was born in 1878 in North Berwick, Scotland, and became immersed in the game of golf at a young age. His father, Thomas Anderson, was the head greens keeper at the West Links at North Berwick Golf Club, the 13th oldest golf club in the world.

Anderson received his education at the Public School in North Berwick, and at age 14, took up an apprenticeship making golf clubs for Alex Aitken.

In 1895, Anderson moved with his father and brother to the United States. Shortly after moving he was selected as the professional at Misquamicut Golf Club in Watch Hill, R.I.

The following year, at the age of 17, Anderson entered his first U.S. Open in which he finished second, losing by only one stroke to Joe Lloyd.

Anderson continued to compete in the U.S. Open over the next 13 years. He claimed his first victory in the championship in 1901 and went on to win it again in 1903, 1904 and 1905.

He was the first golfer to win the U.S. Open four times, and since then only three other golfers have claimed the same honor: Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus.

Anderson is still the only golfer who holds the distinction of winning the U.S. Open three consecutive years.

While he was friendly off the course with fellow golfers, Anderson took the game of golf and especially the U.S. Open very seriously. He even obtained employment at the golf clubs that were to hold the next championships in 1906 and 1910, hoping to gain an advantage over the competition.

It was this fervent dedication to the game that enabled Anderson to finish in the top-five 11 of the 14 times he played in the U.S. Open, a record that he shares today with Jack Nicklaus.

The U.S. Open is not the only tournament in which Anderson’s seriousness and devotion to the game of golf paid off. He also claimed victories at four Western Opens, the second-most significant tournament at that time.

In addition to his impressive record on the links, Anderson was a greatly sought after and highly effective golf instructor.

Anderson died in 1910, only one year after winning his fourth Western Open. Though he lived a short life, it was riddled with a great number of remarkable golf accomplishments.

Anderson was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1975.