Bobby Jones, the last man to win the grand slam (in 1930) and one of golf's all-time legends, is most associated Augusta National, which he co-designed, but he was also a fixture at East Lake, home of this week's Tour Championship. In honor of his home course, here are 11 things you probably didn't know about Bobby Jones.
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Jones brought the U.S. Open to his home club, but not his home course
Jones learned and played his golf at East Lake, which used to be the golf arm of the Atlanta Athletic Club until the two split apart in the 1960s, with a new AAC established in the northwest suburbs. Before he died, in 1971, Jones successfully petitioned the USGA to let the AAC host the 1976 U.S. Open.
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Jones called East Lake's original design "strange."
Bobby Jones first played East Lake as a 6-year-old in 1908. Of the Tom Bendelow design, which was scuttled in 1913, Jones said, "It was sort of a strange layout as golf courses go, because it only had two par-3 holes, the 1st and 3rd. The rest were short par 4s and 5s."
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Jones was a club-chucker
Since 1955, the USGA's sportsmanship honor has been known as the Bob Jones Award. But Jones' violent temper almost killed his career early on. He heaved a club in the 1916 U.S. Amateur and he hit a woman in the leg with another airborne niblick in the 1921 event. This behavior prompted a blast from USGA president George Walker (great-grandfather of George W. Bush): "You will never play in a USGA event again unless you can control your temper."
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Jones tanked in the Masters
Jones co-designed Augusta National with Dr. Alister MacKenzie, but he never did master the Masters course. While he shot a practice-round 64 in 1936, he never broke par in the actual event, which he played 12 times from 1934 to 1948. His worst round was a nine-over-par 81.
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Jones couldn't play golf at Harvard
Jones lusted for a Harvard varsity letter and eventually earned one -- as assistant manager of the golf team -- several months before winning his first U.S. Open. Jones was ineligible to play at Harvard because he had played at Georgia Tech.
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Jones was a pauper
Okay, Jones wasn't exactly poor, but he was no Mr. Moneybags. He struggled financially in the 1920s, even moving his family into his parents' home for three years. He often skipped the British majors because he could not afford the trip. In fact, his 1930 Grand Slam was made possible in large part because he was Walker Cup captain and, as such, the USGA paid his way to Great Britain.
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Jones made his money in Hollywood
When Jones retired from competitive golf in 1930, Warner Bros. paid him $120,000 to make How I Play Golf, a film series in which he gave lessons to stars such as James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson and W.C. Fields.
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Jones was given two NYC ticker-tape parades
Jones was among a small group of people to have been honored with two ticker-tape parades in New York City. The first took place in 1926, after Jones became the first to win the U.S. Open and British Open in the same year. The second occurred in Grand Slam year of 1930.
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Jones was a nervous wreck at tournament time
So fragile were Jones' nerves that it was remarkable that he could win anything. He suffered from a severe fear of heights, and "relaxed" the night before a tournament round by chain-smoking and drinking mass quantities of corn whiskey. During a week of major competition, he usually lost between 12 and 18 pounds and occasionally endured fits of vomiting.
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Jones was a spy!
In 1942, at the age of 40, Jones volunteered for the army. He was commissioned as a captain in the Army Air Corps and schooled in intelligence surveillance. He went overseas and interrogated German prisoners, despite having virtually no knowledge of the language.
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Jones ran the table in 1930 -- almost
Jones competed in only six tournaments in his Grand Slam year of 1930, winning five of them, including the four majors. The only one he lost, the Savannah Open to start the year, was by one stroke.
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