Along Came Jones

By Brian HewittMarch 11, 2005, 5:00 pm
Keeping up with the Joneses in golf, with apologies to Rosie and Steve among others, has never been a difficult task.
 
There is really only one that matters: Bobby.
 
And this year marks the 75th anniversary of his singular achievement, the winning of the Grand Slam.
 
So Ron Rapoport, a newspapermans newspaperman who knows a thing or three about the golf, writing and reporting (not necessarily in that order) has written a book about it. Its called The Immortal Bobby. And John Wiley & Sons, Inc. will publish it in April.
 
If you want to learn a thing, or three about Jones and the defining times in which he lived, you should read this book.
 
And if you dont want to take my word for it, take the erudite word of Bob Costas. Rapoports graceful style is well-suited to telling that story, Costas says.
 
Fellow author John Feinstein adds, Just when you think there is nothing new to be said or written on the subject of Bob Jones, Ron Rapoport comes along and proves that theory completely untrue.
 
Biographies are best when they tell us as much about the history of the subjects era as they do about the subject. Rapoport grasps this in the first words of his introduction when he writes: If Bobby Jones did not exist, the mythmaking sportswriters of the Golden Age of Sports might have had to invent him. And in a sense, perhaps they did.
 
We find out that Jones loved opera and pondered Cicero, discussed Einstein and relaxed after a competitive round by soaking in a hot tub and reading Giovanni Papinis Life of Christ.
 
The Golf Channel, of course, not being an option at the time.
 
We find out that Jones home town of Atlanta was once named Terminus because it was founded as a railroad center and one of its early City Councilman was William Hartsfield, the guy they would later name the airport after.
 
We also get a rich portrayal of the characters who surrounded Jones. O.B. Keeler, the local writer who chronicled Jones, also kept him line when his weight fluctuated, feeling free to call Robert Tyre Jones Rubber Tyre Jones. Could you imagine anyone referring to Tiger as Lost In The Woods when he struggled with his driver?
 
Jones had a terrible temper as a youth and was an all-world club thrower. Jones, said Grantland Rice, had the face of an angel and the temper of a timber wolf.
 
My favorite line is Rapoports contrasting of Jones with the flamboyant Walter Hagen: Walter Hagen was everything Bobby Jones was not, and nothing Jones was.
 
Along the way we meet the legendary golf writer, Bernard Darwin, and find out why he rarely quoted players in his stories. My readers want to know why I think he won, not why that fool thinks he won, Darwin scolded.
 
Yet Darwin, in all his pomposity and brilliance, stood in awe of Jones.
 
Rapoport delves into the Grand Slam in great detail and doesnt shy away from the ambiguities of Jones position on race relations in the middle of the 20th century.
 
And there is even more detail on the spinal cord problems that would eventually incapacitate Jones. I have been about as low as a snake can ever get, Jones wrote Herbert Warren Wind in 1971. In December of that year, Jones died.
 
At least two books on Phil Mickelson, the defending Masters champion, are scheduled to be published in April. One of them, entitled One Magical Sunday (But Winning Isnt Everything) has the look of a winner.
 
But if you really want the historical and competitive context of Mickelsons story, Id highly recommend reading the Jones book first.
 
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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.