I wish I could have been in New York City on that day in 1930 when Bobby Jones was given a hero's welcome. It was a reception of infinite magnitude.
He had returned from the British Isles after winning the British Open golf tournament. When I think of this jubilant celebration for the greatest golfer of all time, I compare it to the homecoming of General Douglas MacArthur, who, in 1951, returned from Korea and was accorded a ticker tape parade with an exulting crowd of l million people. Jones' victories were not in war, but in the game of golf. He surpassed all the super-athletes of the American scene during the first half of the last century by winning four major championships in one year: the British Amateur and Open, and the U. S. Amateur and Open.
He was the only golfer in the history of the game to have set such a record.
This unparalleled feat, scored in 1930, became known as golf's Grand Slam. His record, aside from the Grand Slam, was spectacular. He won the U. S. Open four times, the British Open three times and the U. S. Amateur five times.
In Scotland, at St. Andrews, Jones set a world record with a 120-foot putt, the longest in history.
From 1923 until 1930 he dominated the golfing scene; he was idolized and honored as an athlete.
Robert Tyre Jones, always known as "Bobby," was born in Atlanta March 17, 1902. He started playing golf at the age of 6 at the East Lake Golf course in front of the boarding house where his family lived during several summers.
East Lake, the site of the popular country club, was a beautiful retreat only 6 miles from downtown Atlanta.
Here in this enchanted place of solitude, Bobby Jones followed the pros of golf; soon the scrawny kid was on the course swinging his own club.
At the age of 9 he launched his career by winning the Atlanta Athletic Club's junior championship, and at 14 he had competed in the Merion Cricket Club near Philadelphia for the first U. S. Amateur championship.
Then in 1922, at age 20, he reached the semi-finals of the U. S. Amateur but failed to win.
The turning point came when, in 1924, at Marion, Pa., he walked off with the honors for the first time by defeating George Von Elm The next six years were startling.
During these years, while he was moving toward the Grand Slam.
Lloyds of London gave 50 to one odds Jones would never win; he earned a degree in mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech, studied law at Emory University and earned a degree in English from Harvard.
During World War I, he played in exhibition tournaments for the benefit of the Red Cross.
Jones retired from tournaments when he was 28, figuring he had won it all. His interest in golf never ended.
While active in his father's law firm, he made a series of golf motion pictures and later became a primary designer of the Augusta National course, home of the Masters tournament.
He died at his home in Atlanta, in 1971, at age 69.