Sven “Tumba” Johansson has died

Before Annika, before Salming, there was Sven Tumba, maybe the best hockey player from Sweden, and also maybe the pioneer of Swedish and Russian golf. He’s passed on at 80, hope he gets lots of games with Seve, Moe, and Rocket Richard.
Carolyn and I met Sven in 1974, at LaManga in Spain. We were playing in a Mark McCormack tourney and ended up sitting together at a bull fight! A very likeable man, we had a great time as he told about his giving every member of the Russian hockey team a set of golf clubs (at that time Russia had no golf courses). He founded the Scandinavian Open in 1973 and became the Founder and President of the European Open in 1977. For many years he was the leading visionary for Swedish golf. He brought Arnie, Nicklaus and Sam Snead to Sweden to show them champion golfers.
In the 1950s Sven was on the Swedish National Hockey Team for 245 games. During the same time he was also a professional football player, a super hero before Mark McCormack started to produce them – I guess that explains why he was invited to Spain.
Sven developed the Ullna Golf Club in 1983. His popularity took him back to Russia where he created Moscow’s first golf course, opened by Pele and Mike Tyson.

Please Google Sven, he’s one of the golfing pioneers who got Europe on the golf map, and we all know the rest of the story.

Related Articles

About author View all posts Author website

Gary Slatter

Venerable Canadian golf pro Gary Slatter discusses his opinions on the state of golf, golf course design and construction, teaching and more, based on a lifetime in the business.

Leave a Reply