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Herbert Warren Wind
September 19, 1955
Twenty-five years ago, Bobby Jones, the all-conquering Atlantan, returned from his victories in Britain and completed his historic sweep of golf's four major championships by winning the United States Open and Amateur
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September 19, 1955

The Silver Anniversary Of Jones's Grand Slam

Twenty-five years ago, Bobby Jones, the all-conquering Atlantan, returned from his victories in Britain and completed his historic sweep of golf's four major championships by winning the United States Open and Amateur

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When the final began, Homans was so nervous that it took him six holes to register his first par. Jones was a little rocky himself. For all of Homans' faltering, Jones stood only 3 up at the end of six. Then both men threw off some of the tension they were under and began to hit their shots. As they made their way over Merion's green acres, they were followed by the largest single gallery in the history of American championship golf—over 18,000 spectators. Homans played the second nine in 37. Jones, moving into an irresistible mood, came in in 33—4-3-4-3-4-3-4-4-4. This brilliant burst placed him 7 up. It was no longer a question if Jones would win but how soon.

When Jones and Homans resumed play after lunch, the huge, ponderous gallery spilled noisily over the course after them. No one wanted to miss the dramatic climax, the actual moment when Bobby, by winning the Amateur, would wrap up his historic Grand Slam. The 18,000 had a while to wait. Bob moved quickly to 8 up, to 9 up, and there he stopped. Beneath the rhythmic pace of his step down the fairways and the frown of concentration that enveloped him as he played his shots, here was a thoroughly exhausted man. His golf began to show it. He three-putted the 25th. He found a bunker on the short 27th. On the 28th, it took him two to recover from a greenside bunker. These errors, however, cost him only one hole, and he stood dormie 8—8 up and 8 holes to play—on the tee of the 29th, the superb 11th hole, a 378-yarder to a small, slightly plateaued green hemmed in on three sides by Baffling Brook. Rousing himself from his tiredness, Jones laced out an accurate drive and dropped a tall pitch nicely on the green, about 20 feet or so short of the cup. Homans was also on in two, at the back of the green. Bobby tapped his approach putt very close to the cup. To keep the match going, Homans had to hole his long one. It was never in. As the ball veered definitely off the line, Gene strode rapidly across the green to be the first to congratulate the winner.

Homans was hardly halfway to Jones when the bodyguard of Marines, which had protected Bobby from the idolatrous thousands all day long, dashed onto the green and formed a cordon around him. It was a good thing they did. Hundreds of spectators were sprinting towards Jones, eager to shake his hand or pound his back or to touch him or merely to shout their congratulations to the weary hero who had always exerted such a magical hold on the nongolfing public and who epitomized for golfers all that was the best and finest in the game. In the background, the other thousands, their ambitions for Jones fulfilled, stood and roared and roared. It was for everyone a moment of heartfelt release that had been building for at least two months or ever since Jones had followed his triumphs in the British Amateur and British Open in May and June with his pivotal victory at Interlachen.

Jones walked with his escort slowly back to the clubhouse, acknowledging as best he could the congratulations poured upon him but, for the most part, overcome with awe himself at what he had succeeded in doing. In the clubhouse, after a talk with his father, he began to digest the reality that the Grand Slam was factually behind him and with it the ever-accumulating strain he had carried for months. When he appeared for the presentation ceremonies, he looked years younger.

Some two months later, Robt. T. Jones Jr. announced his retirement from competitive golf. In the years that lay ahead, Bob played lots of friendly golf but he emerged from his retirement only once a year and then to play in the Masters, the tournament in which he acted as host to his fellow champions and which was played over the Augusta National, the course which he helped to design. As Bernard Darwin has written so beautifully, "Bobby retired at the right time and could say with Charles Lamb, 'I have worked task work and have the rest of the day to myself.' After Tom Cribb had beaten Molineaux for the second time at Thistleton Gap, it was decided that he never need fight again and should bear the title of Champion to the end of his days. I think most golfers in their hearts grant the same privilege to Bobby Jones."

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