Bio of Scottish Pro Golfer John Fallon

John Fallon was a Scottish professional golfer who won tournaments both before and after World War II, and who came close a couple times in the Open Championship. He also played in and served as a team captain in the Ryder Cup.

Date of birth: April 29, 1913

Place of birth: Lanark, Scotland

Date and place of death: December 7, 1985, in Brighouse, England

Nickname: He called "Johnny" by friends and sometimes in print publications of the era.

His Biggest Wins

  • 1937 Leeds Cup
  • 1948 Yorkshire Professional Championship
  • 1949 Leeds Cup
  • 1950 Northern Professional Championship
  • 1956 Stuart C. Goodwin Tournament (tie with Eric Brown, no playoff)

In the Majors

Of the four professional majors, Fallon played in only one: the British Open. He first played the Open in 1931, and last in 1961. In total, he played in 16 Open Championships over that span (which was interrupted by World War II).

Fallon had three Top 10 finishes. One was a tie for eighth place in the 1949 British Open, but the other two were near-misses at the title. He tied for third in the 1939 British Open and was the solo runner-up in the 1955 Open Championship.

In 1939, Fallon was in third place after 36 holes, then took the lead with 71 in the third round. But in the final round he stumbled to a 79, slipping to third and finishing four strokes behind the winner, Dick Burton.

In 1955, Fallon began the final round tied for sixth, four strokes off the lead. His score of 70 was one of the better totals carded in the fourth round, but it wasn't enough to catch Peter Thomson. Thomson won for the third consecutive year, two strokes ahead of second-place Fallon.

In the 1955 and 1957 Opens, Fallon was awarded the Tooting Bec Cup, given to the British golfer with the lowest round in the Open. Fallon had 67s both year.

More About John Fallon

Johnny Fallon had a perfect Ryder Cup record as a player: He won every match he played. But he only played one match — 1-0-0. It was a foursomes in the 1955 Ryder Cup, partnered with John Jacobs and playing against the American team of Chandler Harper and Jerry Barber. Fallon faced a 14-foot putt with about a foot-and-a-half of break to win the match, and rolled it into the cup.

He was 42 years old at the time and never made the Ryder Cup as a player again. But Fallon did captain Team Great Britain & Ireland in the 1963 Ryder Cup. Unfortunately for Fallon and his squad, Team USA pulled off a dominant victory, 23 points to nine points.

Fallon was born in Scotland, and both his Open Championship challenges happened on The Old Course at St. Andrews. Fallon's career, like those of most of his contemporaries, is missing multiple years due to World War II. It might have cost Fallon a tournament victory or two, but it certainly cost him another chance to play an Open at St. Andrews.

Fallon was 17 years old when he left his hometown and moved to England in 1931 to go to work at Huddersfield Golf Club. Fallon was at Huddersfield for the next 40 years, most of those years as the head professional.

His first brushes with tournament victory came early. In the 1935 Leeds Cup, Fallon lost an 18-hole playoff to Frank Jowle. The year 1937 was Fallon's finest pre-war campaign. He won the Leeds Cup and reached the championship match in the Yorkshire Evening News Tournament before falling to Arthur Lacey, 2 and 1.

After the war, Fallon beat his good friend (and future Ryder Cup partner) John Jacobs in a playoff to win the 1948 Yorkshire Professional Championship. His win in the 1950 Northern Professional Championship was also via playoff, over John Burton.

Fallon finished second in the Leeds Cup in both 1953 and 1954, and, with partner Wally Smithers, was runner-up in the 1954 Goodwin Foursomes Tournament. Fallon didn't have any wins in 1954, but it was a very good year for him nonetheless. His third runner-up of the season was a 1-down loss on the 38th hole to the great Peter Thomson in the championship match of the prestigious News of the World Match Play.

It was largely on the strength of those near-misses in 1954 that Fallon beat out Peter Alliss for the last spot on the 1955 Great Britain & Ireland Ryder Cup team. Fallon also represented Scotland three times in the England-Scotland Professional Match, and once each in the Triangular Professional Tournament (1937, a Scotland win over England and Wales) and the Llandudno International Golf Trophy (1938).

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