This is the latest in a series of examinations of urban legends related to golf and whether they are true or false.
GOLF URBAN LEGEND: Bobby Jones used to play golf only in the summer while he practiced law in the winter.
Bobby Jones, simply put, was one of the greatest golfers in the history of the game.
In many ways, Jones was the Tiger Woods of his day, as he began dominating the sport of golf when he was in his early 20s.
Jones completed a “Grand Slam” of winning the four major golf tournaments of the calendar year (this was back when the amateur championships were considered “major”).
He never became a professional golfer, as Jones had a law degree so he worked as a lawyer during the year, as well.
He basically retired from golf at the age of 28, only competing in the tournament he co-found, the prestigious Masters, which he helped design.
Much has been written about the greatness of Jones and the fact that he dominated while being, in effect, only a part-time golfer.
However, the amount of time he devoted to golf (or rather, the lack of time) has been overstated over the years.
Ron Rapoport, in his recent excellent study of Jones’ life, The Immortal Bobby: Bobby Jones and the Golden Age of Golf, did a great job of examining the legend of Jones, and he had some interesting discoveries.
On the topic of how much time Jones spent golfing, Rapoport debunked the belief that Jones only played golf during the summer months, devoting the winter to his law practice full-time.
As Rapoport notes:
“That’s bunk,” Rapoport said. “He played a ton of golf. He played all the time. He loved playing golf.”
As an example, Rapoport points to the winter of 1925, when Jones and Tommy Armour played grudge matches in Florida every day for almost five months.
I trust Rapoport’s research, so I will say that the legend is…
Thanks to Rapoport for the awesome info (as you might note, I’m going with Rapoport’s take on Jones’ history)!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is [email protected]