Jim Barnes was 6 feet, 4 inches and was known as “Long Jim”, not just for his height but also because he hit the ball a very long way. Bernard Darwin said: “His finish was a model for a tall man who is inclined to spring up too soon after the ball is hit. Everything he did was pleasant to watch.”
He grew up in Cornwall and became a professional at the age of 15 before crossing the Atlantic and becoming a naturalised American. He won the first two PGA Championships in 1916 and 1919, and then led from start to finish to win the 1921 US Open by nine strokes from Walter Hagen and Fred McLeod.
President Warren G Harding presented the trophy, making Barnes the only winner to receive the trophy from a sitting US president.
In the 1922 Open at Royal St George’s, he almost caught Hagen on the last day but three years later at Prestwick he rallied from five behind Macdonald Smith to take the Claret Jug. Barnes was out early in the final round and posted a total that meant Smith had to score a 78 to win.
Barnes had managed to avoid most of the spectators, thought to be around 10,000 on a links that could not cope with the traffic and was staging The Open for the 24th and last time. But Smith was inevitably distracted by the huge gallery and slumped to an 82 to finish in fourth place, three behind.
Two of his brothers, Willie and Alex (twice) won the US Open but Mac was a runner-up twice at each of The Open and the US Open. Barnes won four majors and became the second player after Hagen to win all three of the available majors at the time. Tommy Armour and Gene Sarazen followed suit, with Sarazen then claiming the Masters as well.