Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bobby Jones retired

when he was only 28

Tiger Woods would not be the first world-ranked golfer to give up the game when at his peak.
Bobby Jones (March 17, 1902-December 18, 1971) chose to retire from competition at the age of 28 - five years younger than Woods!
American Jones was one of the greatest golfers to compete on a national and international level. He participated only as an amateur and primarily on a part-time basis.
He was trained and coached by club professional Stewart Maiden, one of the many who emigrated to North America from Carnoustie.
Explaining his decision to retire, Jones said, "It (championships) is something like a cage. First you are expected to get into it and then you are expected to stay there. But of course, nobody can stay there."
Jones is most famous for his unique "Grand Slam," consisting of his victory in all four major golf tournaments of his era (the open and amateur championships in both the US & Britain) in a single calendar year (1930). He is pictured above with all four trophies.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Jones was successful outside of golf as well. A qualified lawer, Jones concentrated on his law practice in Atlanta when he retired from front line golt. Jones was married in 1924 to the former Mary Rice Malone. They had three children, Clara, Robert Tyre III, and Mary Ellen.
Augusta National Golf Club, located in Augusta, Georgia, and one of the most storied and exclusive golf clubs in the world, was founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts and designed by Alister MacKenzie on the site of a former indigo plantation.
Jones also founded Peachgree Golf Club, Atlanta - which became a Walker Cup match venue - having co-designed the course with Robert Trent Jones.
Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts started and jointly ran the Masters tournament and Jones did play in it every year it was held until 1948, when he was 46 years old. By then, his health had declined to the stage where this was no longer possible.
But with his health difficulties, and being past his prime and not competing elsewhere to stay in tournament form, he never truly contended to win the Masters, although his scores were usually respectable. These were largely ceremonial performances, since his main duty was as host of the event.
Jones' extraordinary popularity, efforts with the course design, and tournament organisation boosted the profile of the Masters significantly.
In 1948, Jones was diagnosed with syringomyelia, a generic term referring to a disorder in which a cyst or cavity forms within the spinal cord. This cyst, called a syrinx, can expand and elongate over time, destroying the spinal cord.
This damage may result in pain, weakness, and stiffness in the back, shoulders, and extremities..., a fluid-filled cavity in his spinal cord which caused first pain, then paralysis. He was eventually restricted to a wheelchair. He died in Atlanta, Georgia at the age of 69 on December 18, 1971, about a week after converting to Catholicism and was buried in Atlanta's historic Oakland Cemetery.



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