Jim Barnes towered over most of the golfers of his day, standing at 6'3''. He also was one of the best players in the game in the period just before and after World War I, winning all of what were then considered major championships (the U.S., British, and Western Opens and the PGA Championship).
Barnes's greatest performance came in the 1921 U.S. Open at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He led by three strokes after the opening day and extended his margin after each round to four, seven, and then nine strokes at the finish -- the biggest victory margin of the 20th century.
He was serenaded up the 18th fairway by a Marine band and is the only Open champion ever to receive the trophy from the president, with Warren Harding doing the honors.
Barnes also has the distinction of winning the first two PGA Championships ever held, in 1916 and then in 1919, after a two-year gap due to World War I.
He edged Jock Hutchison in the first one when he holed a five-foot putt on the 36th hole and Hutchison missed from the same distance to give Barnes a 1-up win. Barnes whipped Fred McLeod, 6 & 5, in 1919.
Although the pro tour consisted of only a few scattered events each year in Barnes's day, he is credited with 20 wins in the U.S. These include the 1914, 1917, and 1919 Western Opens.
He capped his career by winning the 1925 British Open, considered somewhat of a surprise since he had not played particularly well in the previous couple of years. He came from five strokes back to win, taking advantage of Macdonald Smith's collapse in the final round at Prestwick.
For more information about golf, see:
- The Best Golfers of All Time
- How Golf Clubs Work