The great Bobby Jones wanted to create a golf venue. Clifford Roberts facilitated the Augusta National in 1933 and was found dead from self-inflicted gunshot wounds there in 1977
Friday 30 September 1977. The Augusta Chronicle’s front-page headline is profound:” Roberts found dead; Masters co-founder “. As detail is subsequently relayed, that the 83 -year-old chairman of Augusta National had been discovered on the property with a self-inflicted gunshot meander, the widespread perception of Clifford Roberts is very easy to detect.
He was, the newspaper insisted, the chairman” with an iron hand “. Inside, an editorial portrays” a genius organiser” and” the indestructible man, the forceful personality whose iron will would normally carry him through any crisis, physical or otherwise “.
In reality, degenerating health proved too much for Roberts to bear. He had not been able to leave his bed during the Masters that year. He killed himself, just as his mothers had done in what represents a horribly sad culmination of circumstances. Roberts, with hair cut and dressed in new pyjamas, was detected close to the water on Augusta National’s par-three course. Alongside a handgun were a brief note of apology to his wife and, by way of justification, a transcript of his medical records.
The Roberts story is not one anyone in Augusta is encouraged to revisit, for pretty obvious reasons. Nonetheless, his role in the formation of not only a club but also one of sport’s most identifiable events is a fascinating one. It is generally overlooked. Roberts is virtually absent from view, save a three-minute YouTube clip which reveals his curious speaking style.
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