Here is a list of facts about Bobby Jones that most golf enthusiasts probably aren’t aware of:
1.) Jones had a very violent temper that sometimes got out of control, early in his golf career.He heaved a club in the 1916 U.S. Amateur, and he hit a woman in the leg with another airborne niblick in the 1921 event. In fact, the USGA President at the time, George Walker (great-grandfather of George W. Bush) told Jones that he would never play in a USGA event again unless he could keep his temper under control.
2.) Jones had many problems early on that kept him out of some majors, 11 to be exact, for which he was eligible. Problems such as family and school, job interruptions, and lack of money. Despite those obstacles, he managed to win 13 out of the 21 majors that he did enter from 1923 to 1930.
3.) “Big Bob” Jones, as his father was known, joined the Atlanta Athletic Club in 1902, the same year Jones was born. In 1908, the six-year old played his first round of golf and just a few months later, he won the first tournament he entered. He was on the board of the club from 1928 to 1947. In 1971, before he died, he successfully petitioned the USGA to let the club host the 1976 U.S. Open.
4.) Jones was addicted to education. He earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech in 1922 and one in English literature from Harvard in 1924. In 1926, he entered law school at Emory University. He passed the Georgia bar exam while just halfway through the program, joining his father’s law firm in 1928. During these years, he won eight majors.
5.) Jones worked hard for a Harvard varsity letter and finally earned one as a assistant manager of the golf team, several months before winning his first U.S. Open. Jones was ineligible to play at Harvard because he had played at Georgia Tech.
6.) He played lousy at the Masters. He played it 12 times from 1934 to 1948 and never broke par. He shot one practice round 64 in 1936 and his worst round was a nine-over-par 81. How ironic seeing how he was co-designer of the course, along with Alister Mackenzie.
7.) Contrary to popular belief, Jones did not have a lot of money. He and his family had to move into his parents’ home for three years in the 1920s. He skipped a lot of the British majors because he didn’t have the money for the trip. In fact, his 1930 grand slam was possible in large part because he was Walker Cup Captain and the USGA paid his way to Great Britain.
8.) He retired from golf in 1930 and at the same time, Warner Brothers paid him $120,000 to make How I Play Golf, a film series that you probably have seen advertised late at night for sale on DVD. He also made some money designing clubs for spalding. He spent most of it the last two decades of his life battling syringomyelia, the neurological disease that left him paralyzed.
9.) Bobby Jones wasn’t what you would call a very loving dad. In fact, in 1959, his son, Bobby III, in his effort to win a U.S. Amateur(and qualify for the Masters), he faced 19-year old Jack Nicklaus and recalled that his dad stayed home because he decided it wasn’t worth a trip to Colorado just to watch him play one match. Thanks for the support dad. Ouch!
10.) In 1942, at the age of 40, Jones volunteered for the Army. He was commissioned as a captain in the Army Air Corps and schooled in intelligence surveillance. He went overseas and interrogated German prisoners, despite having virtually no knowledge of the language. Any comments or facts you would like to add? See you on the blog side.