James W "Jamie" Watson
Jamie Watson is the earliest Monifieth golfer I can find becoming a professional in America. The local paper noting his departure in January 1900 stated that he ‘made a name for himself as a good tradesman while his golfing ability has gained him a leading position on Monifieth green’.
It seems he went straight to Skokie, Illinois, that year as, he was in the reunion for Western golfers at De Jonghe’s Restaurant in Chicago the following October, a distinctly Scottish affair. He finished 6th in the professional tournament in Westward Ho ! (Illinois not Devon) in 1902 in which all fourteen finishers were from Angus or St Andrews.
The Inter Ocean of Chicago notes him going back to Monifieth for the winter season in November 1904 and he returned in March 1905 having recruited William Dow as his assistant.
In 1906 he moved to Cincinnati and the Losantiville club. He played a challenge patch for a purse here in 1907 against Phil Honeyman which he won. Accepting the challenge of a return match he also offered to plau any professional in America for a purse. Honeyman felt this was rather over-ambitious and it is not clear if anyone picked up Jamie's challenge. He remained in Cincinnati until 1910.
He played in the Western Open of 1911 from Kalamazoo and was second behind Jock Hutchison in the consolation event for those who failed in the consolation event. He also competed in the 1912 US Open from Kalamazoo.
In 1913 he went further west, entering the Western Open from St Paul, MN.
By October 1914 he was he was professional at the Mission Hills club in Kansas City, MO, and in April 1916 when he made a trip to Pittsburg, KS, to provide advice on the layout of the new Country Club course. He later also designed a course at Lake of the Forest near Bonner Springs, KS. Indeed, after inspecting a site at Roaring River, KS, the Kansas City Star called him an ‘expert who has probably built more golf courses than any other man in the United States’.
In 1920 he teamed up with fellow Angus professional Tom Clark to play at Mission Hills against Harry Vardon and Ted Ray at Mission Hills.
In addition to his time at Mission Hills he was an instructor at Schmelzer’s golf school in the city and wrote a book they published in 1921, Little Lessons in Golf.
He had left his post at Mission Hills by the end of 1920 and in January of the next year he was appointed Chairman of the Greens Committee at the Lakewood Club (now the Lakewood Oaks CC) in Kansas City.
Subsequently he went for a complete change of career, buying the Benton Theatre in Kansas City. He was in the process of leasing another building for a second theatre when he died in 1925 at the age of 46.
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