The Immortal Bobby Jones

Bobby Jones won the Grand Slam, collaborated on the design of Augusta National Golf Club, founded The Masters, and was an inventor and innovator, an entrepreneur and a student. Equally important, he was golf’s gentleman, with a strength of character, respect for the game, generosity of spirit, and a level of integrity perhaps unmatched by any of golf’s heroes.
Bobby Jones’ dash, from 1902–1971, will endure for ages.

A Young Genius

Named for his grandfather, Robert Tyre Jones, Jr. is born on March 17, 1902, in Atlanta, to Robert and Clara Jones, and grows up across the street from East Lake Country Club.

At age 6 Bobby wins his first tournament at East Lake Country Club.

At age 12, 70.

By age 14, he was driving the ball in 250 yards with rubber golf balls with such interesting names as the Zome Zodiac and Black Domino and with wooden shafter golf clubs.

He played in his first U.S. Amateur at age 14 in 1916 at Merion Cricket Club.

At 21, he was United States Open champion.

The Winning Years

He played 31 championships and placed first or second more than 50% of the time.

Incredibly, in his 13 years of major competition, Bobby was a student in high school or college in nine of them. He played in 52 tournaments in that span, an aerage of four a year, and won 23 of them.

He traveled 150,000 miles by train or boat, an enduring feat in itself, most of it with sportswriter and friend, O.B. Keelyer.

His putter, which he named Calamity Jane, was made in Scotland before 1900, became the most famous putter in the world. He even named his driver Jeannie Deans.

The Grand Slam

After winning the U.S. Open, British Open, and British Amateur, Bobby heads to Merion Golf Club for the final major of the year, the U.S. Amateur. He seeks to win the Grand Slam, the "impregnable quadrilateral."

On September 27, 1930, in the final match, he defeated Eugene Homans 8 and 7 on the 11th hole. At least 18,000 fans an 50 U.S. Marines witness the only player in history to accomplish this feat.

Bobby received his second ticker-tape parade in New York City, a grand turnout to welcome America's golf hero. He then arrived home to Atlanta where 125,000 Georgians honored him with yet another parade. The he did the unimaginable. He retired from tournament golf at age 28.

A Brilliant Mind

He graduated from high school at age 16 and then attended Georgia Tech where he majored in mechanical engineering. He was captain of the golf team, the Golden Tornadoes.

In 1925, with no interest in engineering, he entered Harvard to study English Literature.

In 1928, he attended Emory University law school, passing the Bar after only three semesters. He joined his father's law firm, practicing civil and contract law, until his death.

German and would often study Latin or Calculus on the way to a tournament to have something to occupy his mind.

During WWII, at age 40, Bobby volunteered an was inducted into the U.S. Army as a captain. He served as an intelligence officer and landed on Normandy the day after D-Day, serving two months on the front lines where he was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

Innovator & Entrepreneur

Bobby Jones was more than an iconic golfer. He was also an innovator and entrepreneur.

In 1932, he designed a set of woods and the first ever matched set of irons for Spalding Golf Company. His signature clubs sold 2 million sets in 15 different models.

He founded two historic golf courses, Augusta National Golf Club and Peachtree Golf Club. Augusta's Alister MacKenzie's design, greatly influenced by Jones, was a radical departure from the courses of that era.

Jones started and owned Coca-Cola bottling companies in New England, Michigan, Scotland, Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile.

Family Life

His father, Robert Purmedus Jones, was known as the Colonel, was a standout athlete and baseball player and was even offered a contract to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He became a respected lawyer in Atlanta and counted a rising company called Coca-Cola as one of his clients.

Bobby's son, Robert Tyre Jones III, was also an accomplished golfer, winning the Atlanta city junior, and qualifying for three US Amateurs. In one of them in 1959, he lost his first-round match to a kid named Jack Nicklaus, 7 and 6. He even played on the Emory golf team for four years. Sadly, he died at age 47, just two years after his father.

His grandson, Robert Tyre Jones IV, is a psychologist and lives in Atlanta. Bob, as he is known, loves to speak about his grandfather and does it with an authority like no one else can do today.

His grandkids had a nickname for his, Bub. He may have been the most famous golfer in the world, but to many, it was just Bub.

An Inexorable Fate

In the late forties, he became a dogged victim of an inexorable fate — off the course.

It began when Bobby started having bad neck pains. Eventually his neck pain was diagnosed as syringomyelia, a degenerative spinal disease that was terribly painful and incurable. It was so debilitating that he played his last round of golf at East Lake at age 48. The greatest player to have ever lived never played golf again.

When people asked him if he ever bitter, he often remarked that one plays the ball as it lies, a reference to one of his most famous quotes, "Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots — but you have to play the ball where it lies."

"As a young man, he was able to stand up to just about the best that life can offer, which is not easy," Herbert Warrant Wind wrote, "and later he stood up with equal grace to just about the worst."

Dash that Endures

1902–1971 is a dash that endures. His legacy remains as vibrant as ever. It is one that is still making a difference in many lives.

The Robert Tyre Jones, Jr. Memorial Lecture of Legal Ethics at Emory was inaugurated in 1974 and continues to this day.

In 1955, the USGA established the Bob Jones Award—the association's highest honor—to recognize distinguished sportsmanship in golf.

A Robert Tyre Jones, Jr. Scholarship Program exists between Emory and St. Andrews University in Scotland. Each year, either scholars are named and exchanged, four from each.

The postal service even honored him three times. Once was when a post office named Calamity Jane was established just for the 1976 open at Atlanta Athletic Club. The others are commemorative stamps in 1981 and 1998.

Through it all Bobby remained disarmingly humble and a man of integrity, intellect, and sportsmanship. There may never be another like him.

MAjor Wins

Bobby Jones' 13 major championships are only exceeded by Jack Nicklaus (18) and Tiger Woods (14). He traveled 150,000 miles in his career, by boat or train, not by jet, played golf with an eclectic set of clubs with hickory shafts, and would often lose 14 pouts in one week of tournament golf.

It shows just how incredible his 13 major wins in seven years remains to this day.

1923
U.S. Open
Inwood Country Club
1924
U.S. Amateur
Merion Cricket Club
1925
U.S. Amateur
Oakmont Country Club
1926
British Open
Royal Lytham and St. Anne's
1926
U.S. Open
Scioto Country Club
1926
U.S. Amateur
Baltusrol Golf Club
1927
British Open
Old Course, St. Andrews
1927
U.S. Amateur
Minikahda Club
1928
U.S. Open
Brae Burn Country Club
1929
U.S. Open
Winged Foot Country Club
1930
British Amateur
Old Course, St. Andrews
1930
British Open
Royal Liverpool Golf Club
1930
U.S. Open
Interlachen Country Club
1930
U.S. Amateur
Merion Cricket Club

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