Bobby Jones, Stroke of Genius | 2004
Before Tiger Woods, before Jack Nicklaus, before professional sports became the behemoth industry that it is today, there shined one of the most gifted natural athletes the world has ever known: a man whose extraordinary talent and will to win earned him the Grand Slam of golf--a record he still holds to this day--and universal recognition as one of the greatest golfers in history. A reluctant hero, his grace and charm made him one of the popular figures of his day. His name was Bobby Jones, and his tale is the inspiring story of an extraordinary man struggling to find balance in his life. As a boy, his competitive zeal and mastery of the sport propelled him into the national spotlight drawing huge, even boisterous, crowds to the tournaments he played. But his fiery temper and pressure from family, friends, fans, and press turned his fun into toil. His fierce ambition collided with his personal integrity, and he faced the reality that the hopes, dreams and fortunes of the people he loved the most were being sacrificed for his career. Under this unbearable burden his heroic nature became clear. Completing degrees in mechanical engineering, English literature and law, he then fell in love with Mary Malone, and started a family, all the while planning an exit from the competitive world of golf, with hopes of returning to playing it for fun again, as he did as a boy. In the modern world, where the pure in spirit are hard to find, this is the story of a man who, in spite of his flaws, strove to be the best he could be. He was a great champion because he was the best at his game, but he was a hero because he realized there was something far more important in life than winning golf tournaments. In one of the most ironic twists of fate, Jones is crippled later in life with a degenerative back disorder, syringomyelia. True to his character, he never complained but stated simply that one must "play the ball as it lies." His living legacy is the Masters Golf Tournament played at Augusta National Golf Club which he designed and founded with the help of his friends.