Height: 5 ft 8 ½ in
Born: August 4, 1904
Died: October 17, 2000
Birthplace: Leatherhead, England
Turned Pro: 1923
Henry Cooper’s life reads like a Hollywood script. Born in Leatherhead, England, the son of a professional golfer who learned the game from Old Tom Morris, Cooper’s family moved across the ocean to Texas where Cooper began his pursuit of the game.
Cooper turned professional in 1923 and won the Galveston Open that year as a 19-year old. That win was the first of 31 wins Cooper enjoyed on the PGA Tour. Fortune was not on Cooper’s side in the Major Championships. Cooper finished in the top ten 19 times at the Majors, including runner up finishes at the U.S. Open (twice) and the Masters. He won the inaugural at the storied Riviera Country Club in 1926.
Cooper was runner up at the 1926 U.S. Open, losing by two shots to Tony Manero. The finish was controversial as Manero was receiving advice and club selections from fellow Italian-American Gene Sarazen who had finished his round earlier in the day. The U.S.G.A. later passed a rule that automatically disqualifies golfers who take advice from anyone other than their caddie during a round of golf.
A quick player, Cooper was dubbed “Lightning Horse Harry” by sportswriter Damon Runyon. Cooper needed only two and a half hours to complete his final round in his 1926 win at the Los Angeles Open.
Cooper never really retired from the game. When his touring pro days were over, Cooper served as the head golf professional at Metropolis Country Club in Greenburgh, New York for twenty-five years. When he left Metropolis in his seventies, Cooper served as a golf instructor at storied Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York.
Cooper passed away in 2000 at age 96.