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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bobby Jones--A Man of Great Humility

            Bobby Jones was one of the greatest golfers, if not the greatest golfer, of all time. During the "Golden Age of Sport", the 1920's, Jones reigned supreme with Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey, Bill Tilden as one of the great athletes. He's the only athlete to ever have received two ticker tape parades on Broadway.

            From 1923-1930 Bobby Jones won 13 of the 21 national tournaments he entered. He won four U.S. Opens and finished second four times. He won all three of the British Opens that he entered. In all of the tournaments he entered, he never missed the cut. And, of course, he is the only man to have ever won the Grand Slam in one calendar year.

            Years ago, I read an article on Jones in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. I learned that Bobby Jones was a man of great intellect. He earned a degree from Georgia Tech in mechanical engineering. Not satisfied, he earned another degree at Harvard in English literature. Later, he entered Emory University's school of law. After his second year, as a lark, he decided to take his bar exam. He passed.

            You would think, with all his fame and success, Bobby Jones would be a man with tremendous ego. Such was not the case. His habit, whenever he played golf, was not to play with the “big-shots.” Instead, he would habitually go to the course and play with anyone he met, great golfer or lowly duffer.

            But to me, perhaps, the greatest testament to Bobby Jones' humility was when he was a student at Harvard. Obviously, he would have loved to have played on the golf team. By then, he was a world famous champion.

            Harvard rules; however, would not allow a college graduate to play on their team. So Bobby Jones offered to be the team manager. Much to their embarrassment, Harvard officials informed him their team already had a manager. Bobby Jones then volunteered to be the assistant manager for golf team. And that was how he served. He was just glad to be able to help.

            Now how many of us would be willing to do that?

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