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.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 20, 2018, 7:08 pm

Tiger Woods is looking to close his season with a win at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him this week at East Lake Golf Club.

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Watch: Highlights from Tiger's first round at East Lake

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 20, 2018, 7:00 pm

Tiger Woods is back at the season-ending Tour Championship for the first time since 2013, and he provided the fans in Atlanta with some highlights on the first day of competition.

Still looking for his first win of the year after coming close on numerous occasions, Woods started the day off by splitting the fairway on the first hole with the driver, not even bothering to watch his ball land.

Despite the picture-perfect opening tee shot, Woods would go on to bogey the first hole, but he rebounded with back-to-back birdies on 5 and 6, making putts from 26 and 15 feet.

Tiger's best shot on the front nine came on the par-4 seventh hole after he found the pine straw behind a tree with his drive. The 14-time major champ punched one under the tree limbs and onto the green, then calmly two-putted for par from about 40 feet en route to a front-side 1-under 34.

Woods added two more birdies on the par-4 12th and 14th holes, rolling in putts of 3 feet and 7 feet after a couple of great looking approach shots.

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Garcia (66) peaking for Ryder Cup?

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 20, 2018, 6:17 pm

Sergio Garcia might be finding his form just in time to terrorize the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Garcia made seven birdies during an opening round of 5-under 66 to sit just two shots off the early lead at the European Tour’s Portugal Masters.

It was Garcia’s fifth consecutive round of par or better, a stretch that includes rounds of 66-65-67-70-66. That solid play at the Wyndham Championship wasn’t enough to extend his PGA Tour season – he didn’t qualify for the FedExCup playoffs – but the Spaniard is starting to round into form with the Ryder Cup on deck.

Full-field scores from the Portugal Masters

A few weeks ago he was a controversial selection by European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn. After missing the cut in all four majors, Garcia could have been left at home in favor of such players as Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matt Wallace (a three-time winner this season who, once again, is at the top of the leaderboard in Portugal), Matt Fitzpatrick or Thomas Pieters. But Bjorn tabbed Garcia, noting his Ryder Cup experience, his sterling foursomes record and his influence in the team room. If Phil Mickelson is the U.S. player under the most pressure to perform in Paris, all eyes will be on Garcia next week – especially since it could be one of his final opportunities to wear a European uniform, as he’ll be 40 for the 2020 matches.

Garcia’s 66 matched his lowest opening round of the year and puts him in position to secure just his second top-10 since March.

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Watch: 100mph storm destroys tent at St. Andrews

By Grill Room TeamSeptember 20, 2018, 4:25 pm

The Old Course at St. Andrews has endured all sorts of wacky weather over the years, but things ratcheted up a notch this week with the arrival of Storm Ali.

The first named storm of the season struck Wednesday, bringing 100 mph gusts, killing two people and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power in parts of Ireland, Scotland and England.

According to the Courier no one was injured in the St. Andrews area, but a video posted from the home of golf shows just how powerful the storm was as wind absolutely destroyed one of the hospitality tents set up in advance of the Dunhill Links Championship:

While plenty of clean-up is sure to be needed, officials say the Dunhill Links, which also be conducted at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, will go on as scheduled October 4-7.