Every golfer is constantly searching for that special something; an E=mc2 formula for getting that small ball into a small hole more effectively and efficiently than anyone else.

Back in his pomp, the decorated Scot Willie Anderson had his own theory about achieving golfing glory.

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

For we crude amateurs, that kind of thinking invariably leads to us spiralling ever downwards into the murky depths of golfing despair. For Anderson, it brought considerable rewards.

His haul of four US Open wins included three in a row, the last of which arrived in 1905. At Pebble Beach this week, Brooks Koepka is aiming to become the first man to achieve the hat-trick in 114 years. Perhaps history will be repeated?


Like Anderson, Koepka has a similarly immersive approach when involved in the cut-and-thrust. “I think I’m more focused than anybody out there,” he said after his fourth major win in eight starts at last month’s US PGA Championship.

Like Anderson, he possesses the kind of inscrutable demeanour on the course that wouldn’t register a blip on a polygraph.

“You couldn’t tell whether he was winning or losing by looking at him,” said Fred McLeod, the 1908 US Open champion, of Anderson’s body language in an observation that could equally be applied to Koepka today.

And, like Anderson, there is something of a chip on the shoulder about the lack of wider recognition. “Sometimes it does suck, but I’ve started to care less,” said Koepka of the battle to earn appreciation.

Anderson didn’t court publicity or popularity either, preferring instead to let his golf do the talking. “They don’t know me,” he once said.

Respected and admired by his peers, North Berwick exile Anderson could be as dour as the Bass Rock in a low mist. That wasn’t to say he adopted a shrugging indifference to affairs around him.

During the 1901 US Open, he was quietly seething at the prospect of the professionals having to eat in the kitchen as they were banned from the clubhouse.

“Nae, nae, we’re nae goin’ t’ eat in the kitchen,” he growled at this second-class-citizen treatment. A dining tent was hastily erected.

Anderson won $200 for each of his four US Open wins. This week’s champion will earn $2.25 million. And they won’t have to eat in a hastily erected tent.