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In Memory of Bobby Jones

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Contributor:
Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland
Bobby Jones

It’s already been said we’ve got to have a dream to make life worth living. I also believe we need some people to share our dream and help us on the way.

During his competitive golfing years Bobby Jones had O. B. Keeler as his confidant and companion. At Augusta National he found a financial backer in Cliff Roberts and a golf course architect called Alister Mackenzie to help turn his dream into reality.

Jones was impressed with the Mackenzie designed Cypress Point and asked him to work with him on the layout for Augusta National.

The working arrangement was Mackenzie would design the course and Jones the specifics of the shotmaking and strategy. Jones playing shot after shot from roughed-out greens and tees until they got it right.

Their goal; a golf course which would give pleasure to the average golfer and a challenge to great golfers—easy bogeys but hard to make pars.

The dream came true and now every year around April time the men who’ve also made their dream come true make their entrance through Magnolia Drive to play in The Masters and thank the Lord and Bobby Jones for being there.

‘Our Bobby’

Robert Tyre Jones Jr. died December 18, 1971 having spent the last 23 years suffering from a rare disease called syringomyelia with a life expectancy following its diagnosis of ten to twelve years—Bobby had battled on for 23.

The news of the death of ‘Our Bobby’ came through to the folk at St Andrews, these same folk who in 1958, awarded him the freedom of the city.

The Provost of St Andrews dressed in his red and ermine robes of office making him an Honourary Burgess of St Andrews which entitled him to other things like the freedom of the city—/‘To cart shells, take divots and hang out his washing on the first and last fairways.../’

After making a moving speech in reply to the Provost, from the electric golf cart he now used because of his illness. ‘Our Bobby’ drove up the aisle and out of the hall to a spontaneous rendition by the audience, of an old Scottish song.

‘Will ye no come back again.’

‘Our Bobby’ was now gone forever and as a final mark of respect players paused while playing the Old Course and the clubhouse flag was lowered to half-mast.

The man who had at first disliked their Old Course but came to love it, was no more. But the memory lived on and a year later the 10th hole on the Old Course was re-named ‘Bobby Jones.’

Bobby Jones would now join the immortal Tom Morris as one of only two people to have a hole at the Old Course named after them.

Excerpt from “Life’s Lessons Frae The Links” by Stan Sutherland

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