Bobby Jones at the British Open Championship, Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, 1930.
By Jill Vejnoska
September is gonna be all about Bobby Jones on TV.
Spring is usually when the legendary, lifelong Atlantan (who died in 1971) is considered to be “in season:” That’s because that’s when Augusta National Golf Course (which Jones founded and helped design) hosts the annual Masters golf tournament (which he co-founded).
Not this year. Georgia Public Broadcasting will premiere “Georgia Greats: The Long Shadow of Bobby Jones” at 8 p.m. on Sept. 15. That’s just one week before the top 30 golfers in the world descend upon Atlanta for the year-ending Tour Championship. Airing live Sept. 22 – 25 on NBC and the Golf Channel, the tournament annually takes place at East Lake Golf Club — the home course of Jones, where a picture of him playing his last round of golf in August 1948 permanently resides in the clubhouse.
According to GPB, the new film by Bruce Burkhardt “traces Jones’ journey from Georgia boy wonder to international superstar, beginning with his first tournament win at the age of six, to his shocking retirement from competitive golf at the age of 28.” In between, he won 13 of golf’s “majors,” including the Grand Slam in 1930, the same year he retired.
The film also delves into Jones’s life off the course, where he scooped up degrees from Georgia Tech, Harvard and Emory before going on to a successful career as a lawyer.
“My goal here was to try and understand this man apart from golf,” says Burkhardt, who interviewed several of Jones’s biographers and his grandson, Robert Jones IV, among others. “In interviewing those few who still remember him, the surprise was that the conversation focused not on his golf but on the kind of man he was.”