April 13, 2024

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For splendid leisure

The Great Bobby Jones

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If one were to mention the greatest players in golf history, no list would be complete without mentioning Bobby Jones, arguably the greatest golfer to compete on a national and international level.

On record, Jones is still the only player ever to win golf’s elusive Grand Slam, which is winning all four major championships in the same year. Jones represented the United States in the Walker Cup five times and won nine of ten matches. He also won two other tournaments against professionals: the 1927 Southern Open and the 1930 Southeastern Open.

Like most other great players, Jones started out as a child prodigy who, at the tender age of six, won his first children’s tournament. At age 14, he reached the third round of the U.S. Amateur Championship. He burst unto the national stage in 1923 when he won his first U.S. Open. From 1923 to 1930, he won 13 major golf championships out of the 20 that he joined. He is second only to Jack Nicklaus (20 wins) on the list of most major championships won. Jones is also the first player ever to win The Double, which is both the US Open and the British Open in the same year (1926).

Beyond the golf course, Jones was also an impressive figure and an exemplary athlete off it, known for being a class act and a paragon of sportsmanship and fair play. For these reasons, the United States Golf Association named its sportsmanship award as the Bob Jones Award.

During the sports-crazy Roaring Twenties, Jones was among the five giant sports icons that the public practically worshipped at the time. The others were baseball’s Babe Ruth, boxing’s Jack Dempsey, football’s Red Grange, and tennis player Bill Tilden.

Although Jones retired from golf at the relatively young age of 28, his success continued in his private life. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Harvard University where he was a member of the Owl Club. After only one year in law school at Emory University, he passed the bar exam and spent the rest of his life operating a successful Atlanta law practice.

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