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Life With Bub
Michael Bamberger
April 08, 2013
The man with the golden name, Robert Tyre Jones IV, rarely plays golf and isn't even a member of Augusta National, but he's devoted to the truth and the memory of his legendary grandfather
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April 08, 2013

Life With Bub

The man with the golden name, Robert Tyre Jones IV, rarely plays golf and isn't even a member of Augusta National, but he's devoted to the truth and the memory of his legendary grandfather

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Three months later, at the '72 Masters, Bob3 prepared remarks to commemorate the start of the tournament, following in his father's tradition. As Dr. Jones tells it, Roberts co-opted the moment and Bob3 never said a word. The namesake son of the golf legend died the next year, 24 months after his father, from a heart attack. He was 47. Roberts's death came four years later, by suicide beside Augusta's par-3 course. Dr. Jones has been trying to figure things out ever since.

He sees much more Cliff Roberts at Augusta today than he does Bobby Jones. "The club is big business, in its own way," he said, "and my grandfather would not recognize it." Bobby's club was clubby, and his spring tournament was a gathering of friends, for those playing and those watching.

Robert Tyre Jones Jr. and Mary Malone Jones share a tombstone at Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta. There's a small, flat rectangle of a putting green in front of the tombstone, maintained by the Atlanta Athletic Club. Visitors often leave golf balls—driving-range balls, Top-Flites, the occasional Pro-V1. Across the street, at a bar and restaurant called Six Feet Under, you can order an Arnold Palmer (all together now: iced tea and lemonade) and a Mr. Jones, an Arnold Palmer with vodka. Who knows what Jones would have thought of that combo—maybe the ruination of three good drinks.

For Bob4 and his relatives, the Masters is an annual family reunion. The heirs of Bobby Jones receive tickets each year, and that lovely springtime sign-off—See you at Augusta!—is like a call to Mecca for them. Bobby's namesake grandson can stand on a swath of green there, amid the crowds, close his eyes and see his father walking down the fairway on number 1, his mother spreading Famous Sauce on a club sandwich, his grandfather with the winner in Butler Cabin. He can hear him congratulating another fahn champion.

Now and again, somebody will see Dr. Jones's name tag and make the connection. One day in 1999 it was a stranger in a hat festooned with Masters badges going back to the '50s. Bob4 was standing beside the 10th fairway when the hatted man introduced himself and said, "I was standing right here one time, and your granddaddy came by in a cart, driven by your daddy, and they stopped and said hello. I'll always remember that." Later, Dr. Jones realized he had never seen a picture of his father and grandfather together at Augusta National. Now he had something better.

It was brief but intimate, that exchange between the man in the hat, for a moment not a stranger at all, and the grandson of the legend. Bub would surely understand that. He'd get it every which way to Sunday.

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