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Famous Tom Morris Golf Shop Replaced by Open Merchandise Store

By: | Mon 26 Mar 2018 | Comments

Dating back around 150 years, the Tom Morris Golf Shop had been a timeless landmark in St. Andrews. Positioned alongside the iconic 18th green of the Old Course, this establishment was the oldest of its kind, spanning to the origins of the modern game in the Auld Grey Toon, where Old Tom pioneered club-manufacturing and many of the foundations that gave birth to the innovations that have come in the generations since.

Golfers from across the globe stepped inside its doors - a living piece of history - and paid tribute to a rich part of the Home of Golf's significant heritage. However, now it's gone. The Links Trust – who are tasked with maintaining and protecting the seven courses in St. Andrews – have entered into a retail and merchandise partnership with The R&A, which has seen the Tom Morris Shop replaced by ‘The Open Store’ that has been opened to sell branded merchandise for the game’s oldest major.

Quietly changed with little ceremony, the name of Tom Morris and the dates of his Open Championship victories have been removed from the shop, which formerly displayed a collection of his furniture and possessions, but now bears a simple logo for The Open without any mention of the most significant golf figure in the history of St. Andrews, whose legacy runs through the fabric of the famous Links. Tom's great-great granddaughter, Sheila Mould, his only surviving relative, continues to live in the upstairs flat above the shop, but the old building no longer retains the name of the former Keeper of the Green in St. Andrews.

Many of those who have walked the fairways and celebrated the history of the Links condemned the development on social media, following the unveiling by The Open's Twitter Account.

Golfers flock to St. Andrews each year to walk in the footsteps of history. The Tom Morris Shop was a major part of that legacy, a permanent reminder and living monument to the four-time Open champion. For visitors to the Fife town in future, it will be a small part of the experience that they won't have the opportunity to savour.

The Links Trust initially took over the Tom Morris Shop in 2010, and continued to celebrate its heritage, but this latest development would appear to be a slap in the face of tradition. The premises will continue to exist, but without the identity of its most important occupant welcoming golfers inside. Critics view this as a staggering betrayal to the legacy of Old Tom Morris, a figure whose lifetime played an invaluable role in the development of the St. Andrews Links and The Open Championship, changed by two organisations that have been tasked with preserving the history of the game. In a small, but significant way, part of that has been lost. Tom Morris deserves better.

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