Can you imagine anyone calling Bobby Jones a witch ?

A photo of the Great Bobby Jones.

 

 

Can you imagine anyone calling Bobby a witch ? But here is the exact quote as spoken to O.B. Keeler, "They ought to burn him at the stake. He's a witch." Pretty clearly expresses it don't you think ? But again why, and why in 1930 in particular, well maybe these three little shots contributed; 

Shot 1, the British Amateur on the Old Course in St. Andrews. Jones on the fourth tee hits his drive a little left of target and his ball ends up in The Cottage Bunker approximately 140 yards from the green. As he climbed down into the bunker with his mashie-niblick in hand he turned to the photographer who had been following him and said "Please don't make a picture just now." What ? The guy has played golf in front of thousands with people jumping in front of his line, cameras clicking at every imaginable point in his swing. 

This begs the question as to what did he not want the camera to see as his smooth and powerful swing launched his ball into the hole 140 yards away for perhaps the most electrifying eagle ever made. Later in the tournament, the evening after playing Cyril Tolley, Jones told Keeler that he felt haunted while playing.


A photo of the famous Cottage Bunker on The Old Course at  St. Andrews
The Cottage Bunker, 4th hole
The Old Course

Shot 2, The Open Championship at the The Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, clutching to a lead going into the par 5 sixteenth hole Jones in an effort to reach the green on his second shot hits a 2 wood into one of the green side bunkers. We don't know which bunker, but history does tell us he had a downhill-sidehill lie. Upon assessing his situation he decides to hit a shot with a club, "a sand wedge", that the record shows, he had hit only twice before. With the Open Championship on the line, he took his swing and "rays of sun peeked through the clouds and flashed off the head of the club as Jones drove it down behind the ball." George Trevor, New York Sun. 

"Up came the ball floating in a geyser of sand, flopping like a tired frog, (then) rolling, rolling, it reached the cup, circled the rim as as the crowd shrieked, settled 3 inches from the hole." O. B. Keeler wrote and be sure to notice the wording," as the crowd shrieked", not as the crowd cheered, not as the crowd applauded, but "as the crowd shrieked.........". 

Jones walked up and tapped in his birdie which in the end was the difference between winning and second place. 


A photo of the 16th green at Royal Liverpool Golf Club
The 16th green and surrounds at Royal Liverpool.

 

A photo of the pond and  9th green at Interlachen.
Interlachen Country Club The 9th hole scene of Bobby's  the famous
 "lilypad Shot"

Shot 3, The United States Open played at Interlachen Country Club in Edina Minnesota, struggling in the 100+ degree heat, Bobby is one stroke off the lead after Horton Smith eagles number 9 in the group in front of him. Having pushed his drive right he finds himself in clump of trees with can be best described as as a horrendous lie. Knowing he had to go for it to keep the young Smith within striking distance Jones called for his 3 wood.

While in his back swing he sees 2 little girls darting out from the crowd. Unable to stop his swing he hits the ball painfully thin and sends it rocketing toward the center of the lake protecting the 9th and 18th greens. The  spectators groan as the ball heads for its watery grave then "gasps" in stunned disbelief as the ball shoots off the water to the slope beyond stopping just shy of the green. Horton Smith observing the shot from his perch on the 10th tee later wrote, "When I saw that topped shot come off the water I knew nobody else had a chance to win the tournament." Keeler wrote, "If your name is up, the ball will walk on water for you."

By the time the 4th leg of the Grand Slam came along Jones had no further need for golfing miracles, and left them for the rest of the field. the result was an astonishing tournament with shots so amazing that the huge galleries ran all over the course like some out of control seething mass. From the time play started at Merion until Eugene Homans congratulated Jones on the 11th green conceding defeat in the finals 8-6 Bobby just simply destroyed his competition. His closest match being 5 and 4 against Canadian Fred Hoblitzel.

So here we are again, back to our original question, Can you imagine anyone calling Bobby a witch ?

To learn more about the golfing miracles of the great Bobby Jones, continue your search here....

1913 US Open

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