Open history in the making at St Andrews - Bobby Jones 1927
“I could take out of my life everything except my experiences at St Andrews and I’d still have had a rich, full life. ” - Robert Tyre Jones
From the moment that Bobby Jones tore up his card in despair after 11 holes of the third round of the 1921 Open at St Andrews, he must have realised that he owed it to the golfing gods to make amends for such impetuosity at the game’s spiritual home. Six years later and he was doing just that.
One of the finest players of all time, Jones returned to St Andrews as reigning Open Champion after winning the first of three Open Championships at Royal Lytham & St Annes the year before. In his previous visit he let it be known that he didn’t think much of the Old Course, but like many a player before him he came to realise that there was a lot more to the fine old lady than immediately met the eye.
Bernard Darwin, the doyen of golf writers, described Jones as having a swing of “drowsy beauty”. And it was such beauty that he brought to bear this time around. After coming through qualifying – yes, even the Champions had to qualify in those days – he had rounds of 68, 72, 73 and 72 for a Championship record of 285. A distant second, six strokes in arrears, were a couple of Brits – Aubrey Boomer and Fred Robson.
Jones, who died in 1971, is now honoured as one of only two people to have a hole named after him on the Old Course. Thus, the 10th is known as Bobby Jones, while the 18th is known as Tom Morris. From not liking the course at first sight, Jones has gone on to become part of its fabric. The irony would not have been lost on him.