Thursday, July 15, 2010

An American loved in Scotland

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.


  1. Thank you for that interesting extra. :) I'll add a link to your post from mine. My cards are more Ancient than Royal and seem to pre-date Bobby Jones.

  2. Golf is not my game as it was too expensive for us poor folks....

    There are many Americans popular in St Andrews, and not just golfers. Any famous man who played the game wants to play there and St Andrews is probably the most famous Scots town because of Golf!
    It does rain there however, even during 'The Open' (The title 'British' is not added, it is just 'The Open,' as it began long before any other.

    Bobby Jones was an astounding player by all accounts. There are many stories that appear every so often concerning him, usually good ones.

  3. Sheila! That wasn't me! Someone else must have created that link after I finished the post! I will do research. :)

    Adullamite, Sure it's expensive - if you play at St. Andrews! Lower your sights and try your local town's public courses. Or you can blend in with the local high school team and play for free. :)

    And walk instead of renting a cart. It's cheaper and healthier. If you play like I do, you will walk very far indeed.

    Or come early just as the sun is coming up, long before the course opens for business. If they catch you, just pretend you are out for a morning run. The drawback is you can only take one club with you since you may have to throw it in the weeds on a moment's notice. Also, you must not mind getting wet from grass sprinklers. However, it IS cost effective.

    I don't think you're right about everyone wanting to play at St. Andrews. The old course, at least, is pretty crappy. And the wind is always blowing. And this doesn't even take into consideration the snotty counter help at the clubhouse, I reckon.

    Bobby Jones was ok. For not being a native, at least.

    I really do wish you would take up the game. There is nothing better for the soul than to whack a little ball and then walk after it. Over and over. And over. It teaches one humility. At least it does others - I cheat a lot. They say in golf you are only cheating yourself since you are only playing against yourself. So, once you've come to terms with that, it's fine. :) Thank you for your comments. I'm happy you keep stopping by.



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