The Immortal Robert Tyre Jones

Peter HughesSenior Analyst IAugust 30, 2008

The following is taken from a book entitled "100 Greatest Golfers" by Ian Morrison (Biscon Books 1988):

"When he retired from competitive golf at the age of 28 in 1930, Bobby Jones was able to look back on one of the most remarkable records in the history of golf.

An amateur throughout his career, he won 13 majors, a record that remained until beaten by Jack Nicklaus. Bobby Jones also held the unique record of winning the amateur championships of Britain and the United States, as well as the Open championships of both countries, all within a single year, 1930.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1902, Jones gradulated from college with engineering, law and literature degrees. It was to law Jones turned, building up a successful legal practice in Augusta.

Because of his business interests he chose to reject lucrative offers to turn professional. In spite of his amateur status Bobby Jones was regarded as the greatest golfer of his era, if not all time. And, at a time when the professional ranks were rife with talent like Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen.

Jones started playing golf at the age of five and quickly realized the importance of a good swing. He went on to develop a swing that was full and fluent, involving a full 90-degree turn of the hips. His completely mastery of the swing enabled him to get not only to, but to stay at the top of the game.

He won his first major in 1923 when he took the US Open. Next he won the first of his five US Amateur in 1924.

His most outstanding year commenced on the 31st May 1930, when he beat Britain's Roger Wethered 7 & 6 to win the British Amateur Title at St Andrews. Less than a month later he won the British Open at Hoylake when he beat his fellow American Leo Diegel by two strokes.

Next he won the US Open, also by two strokes, from Macdonald Smith at Interlachen. Then on the 27 September, record crowds flocked to see whether Jones could pull off golf's greatest feat by completing the Grand Slam. He did, with an easy 8 & 7 victory over Eugene Homans in the US Amateur at Merion—on the same course he won his first US Amateur title in 1924.

Having achieved this ultimate accolade in his golfing career Bobby Jones retired to concentrate on his legal practice. He was not lost to golf altogether, however, because he went on to make a series of instructional films.

He was also largely responsible for the inauguration of the US Masters in 1934. Although he played in the event every year from its beginning until 1946, the competitive edge had gone from his game.

In the 1950's Jones learned he was suffering from a spinal disease. He made the trip to St Andrews in 1958 for the first Eisenhower Trophy match where he was given the freedom of the Burgh of St Andrews in recognition of his 1930 triumph.

In the end Jones became paralysed in his arms and legs and he died with dignity is Augusta in 1971."

A superb movie entitled "Bobby Jones—Stroke of Genius" is well worth watching.

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