Open Championship: Tallest player in PGA Tour history tees it up

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Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka may be golf's twin American hulks, but they're puny humans compared to the monster that is Jon Thomson.

At 6 feet, 9 inches, Thomson, who just completed his first round in a major Thursday, is the tallest player ever to tee it up either on the PGA or European tours. The English giant doesn't have a long golf pedigree — he only qualified his way into this year's Open Championship, thanks to a qualifier fortuitously located at his home club. But he's still drawing notice all over Royal St. George's because of the very long shadow he casts.

Here's a look at Thomson from 2018 in South Africa:

Jon Thomson in 2018, tough to miss.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Jon Thomson in 2018. Tough to miss. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

His official bio notes that Thomson has the nickname "Jigger" because "he often danced in his nappies as a toddler." (British humor, folks.) He first picked up a club at the age of 5, and grew up playing with future Masters champion Danny Willett.

But there's more to his story than just his massive size. As Golf Digest learned, Thomson took a long, painful path to the Open. At age 7, he was diagnosed with leukemia. During four long years of chemotherapy and a year of recovery, Thomson could only play golf; contact sports were forbidden. 

He persevered, working his way up through a range of developmental tours. Last year on the Portugal Pro Tour, he matched a world record by carding nine birdies in a row. Even though he's had a rough summer — he missed five of six cuts coming into the Open — he made it to a major at last. 

Thomson struggled from the jump, going bogey-double-bogey over his first three holes to sit at +4, but calmed down and played strong golf the rest of the way. A four-birdies-in-five-holes run on the back nine helped leave him at +1 at the end of his first round. 

Thomson may or may not be around for the weekend. Either way, he'll be tough to miss on Friday. 

Jon Thomson tees off at the Open Championship. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Jon Thomson tees off at the Open Championship. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com.

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