Here is a list of facts about Bobby Jones that most golf enthusiasts probably don’t know:
1.) Jones had a very violent temper that sometimes got out of control early in his golfing career. He threw a stick in the 1916 US Amateur and struck a woman on the leg with another blow in the air at the 1921 event. In fact, the president of the USGA at the time, George Walker (George W. Bush’s great-grandfather) ) told Jones that he would never play in a USGA event again unless he could keep his temper in check.
2.) Jones had a lot of problems early on that kept him out of some majors, 11 to be exact, for which he was eligible. Problems like family and school, work interruptions and lack of money. Despite those obstacles, he managed to win 13 of the 21 majors 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 in which he participated. He was on the club’s board of directors from 1928 to 1947. In 1971, before he died, he successfully petitioned the USGA to allow the club to host the 1976 US Open.
4.) Jones was addicted to education. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech in 1922 and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Harvard in 1924. In 1926, he entered Emory University School of Law. He passed the Georgia bar exam when he was midway through the program, and joined his father’s law firm in 1928. During these years, he earned eight majors.
5.) Jones worked hard to obtain a Harvard varsity letter and eventually won one as an assistant golf team manager, several months before winning his first US Open. Jones was ineligible to play at Harvard because he had played at Georgia Tech.
6.) He played terrible at the Masters. He played it 12 times from 1934 to 1948 and it never broke. He fired a 64 practice round in 1936 and his worst round was a nine over par 81. How ironic to see how he co-designed 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 many of the British majors because he had no money for the trip. In fact, his 1930 grand slam was made possible in large part because he was Captain of the Walker Cup and the USGA paid for his entry into 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 series of movies you’ve probably seen advertised late at night for sale on DVD. He also made some money designing spalding sticks. He spent most of the last two decades of his life battling syringomyelia, the neurological disease that left him paralyzed.
9.) Bobby Jones was not what you would call a very loving father. In fact, in 1959, his son, Bobby III, in his effort to win a US Amateur (and qualify for the Masters), faced 19-year-old Jack Nicklaus and recalled that his dad stayed home because he decided that it was not like that. It’s worth a trip to Colorado just to watch him play a game. Thanks for the support dad. Oh!
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 received intelligence surveillance instruction. He went abroad and interrogated German prisoners, even though he practically did not know the language. Any comment or fact that you would like to add? See you on the blog side.