Happy Birthday to the legendary Bobby Jones
17 Mar 2024
by Justin Golba of

Bobby Jones (right) and Watts Gunn (USGA Archives Photo)
Bobby Jones (right) and Watts Gunn (USGA Archives Photo)

There have been some great amateur golfers and amateur golfing careers over the years, but none of them equal the career and legacy of Bobby Jones. Jones was born in Atlanta, Ga., on March 17th, 1902, and passed away on December 18, 1971, at the age of 69. Not only was he an incredibly accomplished golfer, he was accomplished in many other fields.

In 1925, he studied English Literature at Harvard, and in 1928, he attended Emory University Law School, passing the Bar after only three semesters. He practiced civil and contract law.

During WWII, at age 40, Jones joined the U.S. Army as a captain and served as an intelligence officer. He landed on Normandy the day after D-Day.

On the golf course, his first victory came at the 1923 U.S. Open at Inwood. Jones won 13 championships in 20 tries, a truly unfathomable statistic. He played in his first U.S. Amateur at age 14 in 1916 at Merion Cricket Club, and at age 21, he was a U.S. Open champion.

His greatest achievement on the golf course was The Grand Slam of 1930, in which he became the only golfer ever to win the U.S. Amateur, British Amateur, British Open, and U.S. Open in the same year, and the only golfer to win all four in a career.

Jones was the winner of five U.S. Amateur titles (1924, 1925, 1927, 1928, 1930) and has an impressive Walker Cup record, playing on the winning teams in 1922, 1924, 1926, 1928 (playing captain) and 1930 (playing captain).

Jones won the U.S. Open four times and The Open Championship on three occasions, all as an amateur. In total, Jones won 34 tournaments and the 1930 Grand Slam.

And still never turned pro.

He shocked the golf world later that year, retiring from competitive golf at the old age of 28. However, his biggest achievement was still yet to come. 

Jones founded Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament in 1934. He played in the tournament twelve times, and his highest finish came in the tournament's first year, finishing T13 in 1934.

Not only did he win five U.S. Amateur titles, none of them were particularly close. 

Here are the final results of all five of his U.S. Amateur wins:
1924: 9&8 over George Von Elm
1925: 8&7 over Watts Gunn
1927: 8&7 over Chick Evans
1928: 10&9 over Philip Perkins
1930: 8&7 over Eugene V. Homans

In 1948, he developed syringomyelia, a fluid-filled cavity in his spinal cord, first causing pain, then paralysis. Jones was eventually restricted to a wheelchair until his death in 1971.

So as you responsibly celebrate St. Patrick's Day, take a minute to look back and appreciate the greatest amateur golfer to ever live. 

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