In Memoriam: 1975 Champion Tom Weiskopf, By Irwin Smallwood

The Wyndham Championship has lost another champion from its days as the Greater Greensboro Open.

Tom Weiskopf, who won the old GGO, as it was affectionately known, in 1975, died Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022 at age 79, losing a battle with pancreatic cancer that saw him fight to the final days of his life – typical of his competitive nature that spelled stardom from his earliest days at Ohio State to the day he packed up his clubs and turned to the broadcast booth and golf course design.

Lean and lanky with a smile as wide as Texas, he was one of the early long hitters and was owner of a near-perfect swing. The New York Times story of his death tells how he went to the U.S Open as a lad and immediately fixed his eyes on the great Sam Snead, later recalling: “The sound of Sam’s iron shots, the flight of the ball, thrilled me. I was hooked even before I started playing.”

Weiskopf won 16 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, including five times in 1973 when he led wire-to-wire and captured the British Open by three shots over Johnny Miller and Neil Coles. But fate would deny him another major title, though he was runner-up in the Masters four times and tied for second in the 1976 U.S. Open. He was forever known as “the other Ohio State guy,” but had a closing moment of pride when he won the 1995 U.S. Senior Open by four strokes over the Buckeyes’ main guy, Jack Nicklaus.

When Weiskopf won the ’75 Greater Greensboro Open, it was not unlike his British Open romp. He blistered Sedgefield with a 64 in the opening round and was never headed, leading at 36 holes and 54 holes as well before finishing three shots ahead of Al Geiberger for the championship. It was the first time anyone had led all the way since Sam Snead did it 25 years earlier.

So who else did he beat on that cool, April week at Sedgefield? Try Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson and Billy Casper, to name a few notables. A few indeed.






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