“I could take out of my life everything except my experiences at St. Andrews, and I would still have a rich full life.”
Robert Tyre Jones, Jr. spoke those words at the University of St. Andrews in 1958, during a ceremony in which he was made an Honorary Burgess of the Borough, an honor only one other American had ever received: Benjamin Franklin, in 1765. It is one thing to understand how much Bobby Jones enjoyed the Old Course at St. Andrews; although his first visit to the birthplace of golf, to play in the British Open in 1921, did not end well. The then-nineteen year old Jones proceeded to pocket his ball and rip up his score card after some of the worst golf of his short career. After that day, Jones would never lose another match or contest at St. Andrews, winning the 1926 Walker Cup matches, the 1927 British Open, and the 1930 British Amateur.
It is quite another thing to understand the bond that Bobby Jones had with the seaside village. After clinching the British Open championship in 1927 Jones said, at the trophy ceremony: “Nothing would make me happier than to take home your trophy, but I cannot. It was placed for here 30 years before I was born. Please honor me by allowing it to be kept here at the Royal and Ancient Club where it belongs.” As his fame and legend grew, Jones always had a second home at St. Andrews.
It is with a keen understanding of this special relationship that it is Emory University’s honor to bring the exhibit “Bobby Jones: The Game of Life” to St. Andrews once again, as it hosts the 2015 Open Championship. The exhibit, curated by Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library Curator of Modern Political and Historical Collections Randy Gue and Kristin Morgan, provides a glimpse into Jones’ life on and off the course. A condensed, traveling version of the exhibit will be on display in the Spectator Village at The Open July 12-19 at the Old Course at St. Andrews. This is the first time that a MARBL exhibit has been on display at a major sporting event. The Open draws over 200,000 fans each year.
The exhibit is co-sponsored by Emory University’s Laney Graduate School. In addition to information about Jones’ life, the exhibit will highlight the unique connection between Emory University and the University of St. Andrews, a relationship created and fostered by Bobby Jones. Emory’s Robert T. Jones Jr. scholarship recipients studying in Scotland will assist with the exhibit. The scholars are Emory students who exchanged schools with their counterparts from the University of St. Andrews for a year of study. The Robert T. Jones Fellowship, the Jones Biomedical Engineering Fellowship, and the Jones Program in Ethics will also be featured in the exhibit. This evidence of Jones’ lasting legacy, and the connection between Atlanta and St. Andrews, is a main focus of the traveling exhibit.
We want to welcome you to follow along with our coverage of the exhibition, and to interact with us on social media using the hashtag, #EmoryAtTheOpen. You can find daily coverage on the Emory Library Tumblr account: emorybobbyjones.tumblr.com. You can also see regular updates on the MARBL Facebook page and Twitter account.
After the ceremony at the University of St. Andrews in 1958, an ailing Bobby Jones, suffering from a painful spinal disease, made his way out of the hall with the help of a walking cane, the citizens in attendance broke out in a song: “Will Ye No’ Come Back Again?” After 57 years, we are bringing a part of Bobby Jones back to his adopted home, 4,000 miles away.