The British Open is underway.
This year, the British Open is being played at St. Andrews - the birthplace of the game of golf. As I write this, after one round of play, the leader is a young man from Holywood, Northern Ireland by the name of Rory Mcllroy. Rory was born in 1989.
I remember another young man at St. Andrews. Well, I don't remember him because I'm not that old, but I have read about him because he is, by many golfer's votes, the greatest golfer to ever play the game. Bobby Jones.
Here's a trick question: how much was Bobby Jones' lifetime earnings from winning golf tournaments? Answer: nothing - Bobby was an amateur.*
Who was the last amateur to win the British Open? Bet you can guess, now.
Bobby Jones won golf's grand slam at the time, 1930, by winning all 4 of the slam tournaments: the U.S. Amateur; the U.S. Open; the British Amateur; the British Open. All in the same year.
Bobby Jones retired at age 28.
A final trivia question: what was Bobby Jones' occupation? Answer: he was an attorney in Georgia.
Bobby Jones contracted a rare disease of the spinal cord that left him paralyzed and, eventually, in a wheel chair.
From the San Francisco Chronicle [July 15, 2010]: In 1958, Jones became only the second American - after Benjamin Franklin - to be honored as a Freeman of the City of St. Andrews. By then, Jones was ravaged by a rare degenerative disease. As he was wheeled from the hall, the crowd burst into the Scottish ballad, "Will ye no come back again?" Everyone wept.
*Bobby Jones did earn money from the game of golf, as an instructor and as a course designer, but never as a player.
See more pictures of the Royal and Ancient at A Postcard A Day.