"Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius" – More Than a Golf Movie
- Friday, April 30, 2004
He spoke six languages. He had three degrees, including one from Harvard University. He founded a prestigious law firm and served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He was in Normandy, France, one day after D-Day. He created one of the most-renowned golf courses in the world and designed a set of popular playing clubs that were widely used in the sport. He was and is the only golfer to ever win the Gram Slam Championship.
Renowned sportswriter Grantland Rice called him “not one in a million …[but] one in ten million – or perhaps one in fifty million.”
He was speaking, of course, of Robert Tyre Jones, Jr., better known as Bobby Jones. Sportsman, scholar, writer, teacher, attorney, golf-course designer and family man, Jones was nevertheless best known for his love of the game – his insistence on remaining an amateur golfer, when everyone around him was taking home cash prizes of thousands of dollars.
He is, perhaps, the greatest legend the sport has ever known.
Now, the rest of the world will know Jones, too, thanks to an independent film about his life, “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius.”
More to the Story
“It’s so much more than a golf movie,” said Executive Producer Rick Eldridge. “Jones had the adversity of a disease to overcome, family dysfunction, a love relationship with his wife to maintain. There’s so much more to his story than most people know.”
Made in cooperation with the Jones family, the film follows the story of Jones’ life to a tee. An only child born on St. Patrick’s Day, 1902, to Colonel Robert P. Jones, an avid golfer and a prominent Atlanta attorney, Bobby Jones was so ill that he could not eat solid food until he was five years old. When the family moved to their summer home next to the East Lake Country Club, Bobby followed the golfers – particularly East Lake’s Scottish pro, Stewart Maiden – imitating their swings.
Although he never received any formal training, Jones won his first tournament, , at the age of six. He won both the East Lake Invitational and the Georgia Amateur tournaments at just 14, which qualified him for the U.S. Open. He was the youngest player to be eligible for and play in a U.S. Amateur Championship. Although he did not win, he came in second behind defending champion Bob Gardner.
With success came pressure, not only from the public but from Jones’ own desire to succeed. According to his biography, Jones was an inwardly-driven perfectionist who placed tremendous pressure on himself, which caused him to lose as much as fifteen pounds during a tournament. He also struggled with his temper.
Much like modern-day tennis champion John McEnroe, Jones had a tendency to curse and throw his golf clubs after a disappointing swing – something that the press was only too happy to report. Rice once wrote that Jones had the “face of an angel and the temper of a timber wolf.”
“There are some emotions that cannot be endured with a golf club in your hand,” said Jones’ character in the film, by way of explanation.
Faithful to Jones' Life
Played by actor Jim Caviezel (“The Passion of the Christ”), Jones comes across as a winsome guy who, though he smokes, drinks and curses, is nevertheless appreciated by all as a gentleman. According to Eldridge, the actor and the legend share many of the same qualities.
“Jim is a wonderful guy,” he said. “He’s shy and reserved, and a deep thinker. In fact, the values and virtues of Bobby Jones are exactly the ones that Jim has.”
Recently on Movie Features
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content