5 Myths About Bobby Jones

Some surprises about the founder of Augusta National, from biographer/historian Sidney L. Matthew

1. The “Grand Slam” wasn’t planned but just happened

Jones first thought he could win all four events—the U.S. and British Opens and Amateurs—in 1926. He didn’t reveal his intentions, and took two that year. His only other chance was in 1930, when he went to the UK as part of the Walker Cup team, and won them all.

2. He QUIT a youthful habit of throwing clubs

Jones did stop throwing clubs in tournament play, but even late in life enjoyed club-tossing in private matches when no one was looking. The fun ended when shafts changed from hickory to steel, which was harder to break.

bobby jones
(photo by Getty Images)

3. A “goody goody,” he was the model of deportment

Hardly. In one match against Walter Hagen, Jones smoked 75 cigarettes. He also drank like a sailor (preferring moonshine, bourbon, and martinis on Sundays) and could turn the
air blue with profanity. But only in appropriate company.

4. He played the same clubs for his entire career

Except for the original Calamity Jane putter, his clubs were destroyed in fires at Atlanta’s East Lake Country Club in 1914 and again in 1925. He tested 300 clubs to select the 16 with which he won the Grand Slam in 1930.

5. As a lawyer, he never lost a court case

He lost a tax case over $103,000 he was paid for making golf instructional films. Suing for a refund in front of a Federal judge and the Appeals Court, he lost both times, making Uncle Sam the only opponent to beat him twice in match-play.