Legendary amateur's memory continues to be celebrated in Atlanta
Photo credit: (Kirby/Getty Images)
This story, like so many good stories, begins where it ends: on the home course of a hero and legend, where the top 30 competes for the fame and fortune of the FedExCup.
Atlanta’s love affair with golf started at East Lake – the first course in the city of Atlanta and the birthplace to the legendary amateur, Bobby Jones.
Born on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1902, Jones began playing at age six, when he and his family moved to East Lake from Grant Park. Bobby’s father, “Colonel” Robert P. Jones was an active member of the Club, and both he and Bobby were present when the course first opened in 1908. Bobby’s father served as president of the club from 1937-1942 and as a director for 38 years. Bobby himself also later served as president from 1946-47.
Jones dominated the game in the early 1920s through 1930, winning 13 national golf titles – four U.S. Opens, five U.S. Amateurs, three Open Championships and one British Amateur.
In 1930, Jones accomplished golf’s unprecedented feat of winning all four major championships in the same calendar year: U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open, British Amateur and Open Championship. He remains as the only player in the history of the game to win all four major championships in the same calendar year. Following his historic year, Jones retired from competitive golf at the age of 28 and in 1948, Jones played his final round of golf at East Lake Golf Club, the course where he first learned to play the game. A picture commemorating that event now sits in the historic clubhouse.
In 1993, a local charitable organization, the East Lake Foundation, purchased the club with the intent to restore it as a tribute to Bobby Jones and the club’s other great amateur golfers.
East Lake Golf Club has become the permanent home for the TOUR Championship, the culminating event of the FedExCup Playoffs, where the 30 best players on the planet compete on for the PGA TOUR’s most coveted prize on hallowed ground.
In honor of Jones’ legacy, a sterling silver replica of his putter, the Calamity Jane, widely regarded as the most famous club in the world, will be given to the winner of the TOUR Championship each year. This putter was used by Jones in his final 10 major appearances, including accomplishing the Grand Slam in 1930.
The 2017 TOUR Championship will be played at East Lake Golf Club, September 20-24. Tickets are available at www.tourchampionship.com.