The Masters is in the books for another year, and with it a new chapter of golf history has been written. But when it comes to any discussion of the game’s foundations and traditions, everything can be traced to one place and one family — St. Andrews, Scotland, home to Old and Young Tom Morris. On this special episode of the “Talking GolfGetaways” podcast, hosts Mitch Laurance and Darin Bunch are joined by director Jason Connery, whose “Tommy’s Honour” film (opening April 14 in theaters around America) tells the story of golf’s iconic father and son champions set against a backdrop of the game’s earliest, and sometimes rugged, days in St. Andrews.
The culmination of Connery’s five-year journey bringing “Tommy’s Honour” to the big screen began with a binge-read of Kevin Cook’s book (of the same title) while in a solitary cottage in St. Andrews. You’ll hear about Connery’s reaction to the tragic tale — and how he understood immediately the need to capture a wider audience because many golfers of today only know about Old Tom, and not necessarily about the incredible career and contributions to the game made by Young Tom. And Connery discusses why he hopes a wide swath of moviegoers (not just golfers) will see the film for its universal themes — fathers and sons, love, class system, church politics and more.
He then shares his own story in the game — how he learned about golf from his famous father, Sean Connery, who cut down a 7-iron for him as a boy, and then how he played the game with his stepbrother and stepmother. Jason recounts the many celebrity golf events he got to experience during outings with his father while meeting many people who are passionate about the game. His love for golf grew from that early age, nurtured by sharing times on the golf course with his father while talking about life and dreams — all of which provided an important foundation for his career as well as his connection to the story of Tom and Tommy Morris.
Connery then details a bit of backstory about the actual production of “Tommy’s Honour,” describing in detail the challenges of re-creating the world of early St. Andrews and the Old Course, plus talking about the rugged playing conditions portrayed in the film (trust us, you’ll never complain about a bad lie again once you’ve seen this movie) as well as constructing a replica of the Royal & Ancient Clubhouse.
Next, he delves into the true essence of Young Tom’s importance to the game — not only as a trailblazer for the golfers who followed him but also for all modern sports stars — in a fascinating discussion of Tommy’s historic break from the traditional class system by becoming the first truly “professional” athlete. Connery’s stories about Old Tom’s place in history versus Young Tom’s spirit of discovery reveal much about his deep connection to the real-life characters who power the film.
Finally, Connery talks about how his research for “Tommy’s Honour” included visits to such Scottish links stalwarts as Prestwick and Carnoustie (and mentions that the film’s instant-classic bunker fight scene was filmed at Old Musselburgh in the very same bunker where the original fisticuffs took place). Plus he recalls the invaluable insights into Old Tom’s character he received from David Joy, a Scotsman with a love for history who has portrayed Old Tom for years in one-man shows.
We hope you enjoy the connection with Jason Connery, a man whose passion and love for the game has produced a film to be treasured by all of us who revere not only the history of golf but the timeless human story of two of its most cherished figures.
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