The Immortal Bobby: Bobby Jones and the Golden Age of Golf

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B&N The Immortal Bobby: The Life and Legend of Bobby Jones


"Just when you think there is nothing new to be said or written on the subject of Bob Jones, Ron Rapoport comes along and proves that theory completely untrue. The Immortal Bobby is wonderfully reported and superbly written."
- John Feinstein, author of A Good Walk Spoiled

"The story of Bobby Jones' singular life is one of the most fascinating in sports history. Ron Rapoport's thoughtful, graceful style is well suited to telling that story."
- Bob Costas, Broadcaster, NBC Sports and HBO Sports

"I haven't read a better golf book since Tiger Woods was a cub."
- Mike Downey, Chicago Tribune

"A fabulous new biography . . . remarkable . . ."
- Leonard Shapiro, Washington Post

More Raves

Listen to Ron Rapoport discuss The Immortal Bobby with Robert Siegel on "All Things Considered."

From the dust jacket:
Of all the great athletes of sport's Golden Age, Bobby Jones was the most revered. His intelligence, modesty, eloquence and charm--and the fact he remained an amateur throughout his career--so completely captivated the public that at times it seemed almost beside the point that he was also the best golfer in the world. Jones's fame reached its peak in 1930 when he became the only golfer ever to win the Grand Slam, and the only person in history to receive a second ticker-tape parade on Broadway. Two months later, he shocked the sports world by announcing his retirement.

Yet beneath the easy grace he exhibited on and off the golf course, there was another Bobby Jones--one who through the years battled his volatile temper, the pressure of competition that grew so unbearable he was often left near tears and unable to take any pleasure in winning, and, in the final decades of his life, an agonizing physical decline that robbed him of everything but his dignity.

Now, drawing upon scores of interviews, a careful reconstruction of contemporary accounts and Jones's voluminous correspondence, award-winning sportswriter Ron Rapoport reveals the man behind the legend. The Immortal Bobby shows that on the golf course, Jones was capable of some of the most brilliant shots ever struck--and of sensational blunders and unthinking lapses that were never more evident than during his quest of the Grand Slam. It shows the gracious champion who set the standard for sportsmanship and fair play--and the bearer of an implacable grudge against another great golfer who had wronged him.

Rapoport also recreates an era when golf rose from an unfamiliar game born in Scotland to one of America's most popular pastimes. He depicts Jones's colorful and so-often frustrated opponents, visits each of the Grand Slam courses--they are all still in play today--and shows that while Jones was admired in his own country, he was adored in Great Britain. But for all his international fame, Jones remained a true son of Atlanta and The Immortal Bobby demonstrates how that fact affected his views on politics and race. The book also offers compelling new evidence that much of what has been widely believed about the spinal condition that made Jones's final years so tragic is incomplete and incorrect.

Capturing the story of this towering figure with a depth and richness never before achieved, The Immortal Bobby is a both a penetrating profile and a moving depiction of a long-gone sporting age.


"Beyond the grainy newsreels and the confetti falling on Broadway and Peachtree Street, there was an essential Bobby Jones and Ron Rapoport reveals him splendidly in a portrait as graceful as the man. There.s more here than Grand Slam 1930.the jangling nerves and self-doubt, the towering modesty in response to fame, the complexity of an Atlanta patrician, a life richly lived."
- Gary M. Pomerantz, author, Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn

"The skills of writing and reporting that fans of Ron Rapoport, like me, have come to expect from him over the years.candor, thoughtfulness, insight, perspective, humor .are once again demonstrated and illuminated in The Immortal Bobby. It is an important book about an important sports figure that, typically for Rapoport, goes beyond the confines of sports and fits firmly in the context of our culture."
- Ira Berkow, sports columnist and author of Red: A Biography of Red Smith.

"Here is Bobby Jones as you've never seen him, almost fearful in the fires of competition, and Ron Rapoport shows us how that man became a legend."
- Dave Kindred, co-author with Tom Callahan of Around the World in 18 Holes.

"The Immortal Bobby is a well-reseached and unvarnished biography of Jones . . . Rapoport excels at adding sociological content to Jones' achievements."
- Golfweek

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