Certainly a list of the finest books written about golf and its origins would have to include a book by Kevin Cook, titled, "Tommy's Honor," published by Gotham Books.

This book concerns primarily the origins of the game, which took place at about the same time as our country was involved in the Civil War. The contrasts in personality and practice between "Old Tom" and "Young Tom" make for interesting reading, aside from the historical perspectives covered in the book.

Having heard of the Morrises for many years, particularly "Old Tom," it was of special interest to know that his interest in golf, including the development of St. Andrews, also included ball making of "feather balls," which were formed by laborious packing of goose feathers into a cowhide cover and later "gutta percha" balls which came from the sap of a Malayan rubber tree. It was interesting to note that, when Beechwood heads came along, hickory shafts were shipped there from Tennessee. In regard to the gutta purcha balls, it could come as a shock to modern golfers to read that, in a match in the snow, the ball split and the player was obliged to play the "largest piece" for the remainder of the hole.

Tom Sr. was the oldest player to win the Open, while Tommy was the youngest at 17 in 1870. Tom Sr.'s victory came in 1867, at 47, several years after the first British Open in 1860. Tommy's game was more aggressive and many of his bets were won in spectacular fashion. The elder Tom was often afflicted by what today might be akin to the "yips." Golfers in those days made most of their money from bets and challenge matches, and they were not allowed to enter the clubs, which were for "Gentlemen Only," although the gentry were not above placing large bets on the outcome of matches.

Sunday golf was not an option at St. Andrews and the Morris family was very religious. A special pew was often reserved for those who violated the the "no Sunday golf" tradition. Penance was in order.

After winning the Open on three consecutive occasions, young Tom married, but his wife and newborn died during childbirth and Tommy died soon after, at 24. Although the elder Tom was noted for both his honesty and frugality, he found it necessary to borrow money to give his son what he saw as a proper funeral for a champion. He out-lived all of his five children and died in a fall at age 86 in 1908. His life-long habit of taking a swim each morning prior to his labors on the course may have contributed to his physical stamina. In the end, the reader is left with the feeling that maybe golf really is "more than a game."