There was a sameness to golf in the Twenties," Herbert Warren Wind has written in The Story of American Golf. "Jones nearly always won." It was, of course, a "sameness" as far removed from monotony as high noon from midnight. And with it Robert T. Jones Jr., the incomparable perfectionist from Atlanta, raised both himself and golf to an eminence and respect from which neither has ever since declined.
But if there was a special sort of sameness to golf in those bright years of the first Golden Age of Sport, what of the single year 1930? Then, within a tense, brief span of four months, that sameness reached a climax of unprecedented and nearly incredible achievement. In succession Bob Jones won the British Amateur, the British Open, the U.S. Open and the U.S. Amateur—a feat ever after called the Grand Slam, a title borrowed of necessity from a somewhat more sedentary game, then entering, with golf, a permanent ascendancy. The expression well described the completeness of Jones's triumph, and it is small wonder that it had no equivalent in the vocabulary of the fairways. For nothing like Jones's 1930 performance had ever happened before or, in fact, been more than wistfully contemplated; it has never happened again. Since 1930 the four-minute barrier of the mile has been broken; Everest has been conquered; and various unbeatable records have been beaten. But the "impregnable quadrilateral" has not once been even seriously threatened.
Countless words were written about the Grand Slam as it happened; countless more came after. Many are enduring in the literature of golf, notable among them those by such close and careful critics of the game as Bernard Darwin, O. B. Keeler, Grantland Rice and Herb Wind.
Until now, however, the story has not been told by the one man qualified beyond all others to tell it. Next week in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Bob Jones begins his own account of the Grand Slam and the events that led up to it in the first of two parts taken from his book Golf Is My Game, which Doubleday is publishing November 4.
As he played golf, so Robert T. Jones Jr. writes about it—with skill and style and a rare ability to reward the attention of his gallery.
ROBERT T. JONES JR.