Best known as the only golfer to win all four
major tournaments, the Grand Slam, in one
calendar year, Bobby Jones also collaborated in
the design of Augusta National Golf Course, and
helped found the Masters Tournament there.
Bobby Jones is legendary not only for his
exemplary embodiment of sportsmanship and
fair play, but also for his classic personal style.
Named for his paternal grandfather, Robert Tyre Jones, Jr. is born on
March 17, 1902, in Atlanta, to Robert and Clara Jones,
and grows up across the street from East Lake Country Club.
By the age of six, he is playing golf. Instead of formal lessons,
he tags behind East Lake’s golf pro Stewart Maiden, mimicking the
Scotsman’s swing. He wins his first competition at the
East Lake Children’s Tournament.
At 14, Jones wins the Georgia State Amateur Championship.
He becomes the youngest competitor in the U.S. Amateur at Merion
Cricket Club near Philadelphia, losing the quarterfinal.
Bobby Jones wins his first major championship in 1923, the U.S. Open
at Inwood Country Club in New York. He defeats professional Bobby
Cruickshank in an 18-hole playoff by two strokes. Jones ends what
sportswriter and friend O.B. Keeler describes as the “Seven Lean
Years,” and begins what the writer later calls the “Seven Fat Years."
1926 is the year Bobby Jones becomes the only amateur to win both
the U.S. and British Open championships in the same year, winning at
Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio and Royal Lyham & St. Annes
Golf Club on England’s west coast.
Jones arrives home from England to a hero’s welcome — New
York City’s traditional ticker tape parade up Broadway. Throngs of
Americans cheer him on as he is hoisted on two men’s shoulders and
triumphantly paraded through the streets.
Bobby Jones is the only golfer to win the Grand Slam, four major
tournaments in one calendar year, 1930. In the space of four months,
the playing order is: the British Amateur, the British Open, the
U.S. Open and the U.S. Amateur. When Jones wins all four, the
sports world searches for ways to capture the magnitude of his
accomplishment, until The Atlanta Journal’s O.B. Keeler
perfectly dubs it the “Grand Slam.”
On Nov. 17, 1930, Bobby Jones stuns the world by announcing his
retirement from golf at the age of 28. He returns to his law practice,
but remains active in the sport.
In March 1931, Warner Bros. short films, “How I Play Golf”, begin
shooting in Hollywood. Each of the 12 films develops around a loose
storyline and theme with a golf lesson by Bobby Jones. Because of
the tremendous popularity of Jones, many Hollywood stars volunteer
to appear in the films. Among the notables are James Cagney, W.C.
Fields, Loretta Young, Harold Lloyd and Guy Kibee.
These short films remain classics to this day, not only for the teaching
techniques that are still helpful to today’s golfers, but also the
In March 1934, Bobby Jones co-founds the Augusta National
Invitation Tournament (later named the Masters) at his newly
completed dream course, Augusta National Golf Club,
which he co-designs with Alister MacKenzie.
At the inaugural tournament, Jones plays his first competitive
tournament since retirement. The Masters at Augusta National
proves to be his lasting gift to the game.
The annual Bobby Jones Award, established by the U.S. Golf
Association in 1955, honors a person who, by a single act or over
the years, emulates Jones’s sportsmanship, respect for the game, its
rules, generosity of spirit, sense of fair play, self-control,
and perhaps even sacrifice.
Bobby Jones dies on December 18, 1971 and is buried at Atlanta’s
Oakland Cemetery. When the news reaches St. Andrews, golfers stop
their play and the flag at the clubhouse is lowered to half-mast.
St. Andrews renamed the 10th hole in honor of Jones.