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Jim Barnes


Jim Barnes and Walter Hagen

Jim Barnes (left) poses with Walter Hagen, circa 1920.

General Photographic Agency/Getty Images

Jim Barnes was the first winner of the PGA Championship - and also the second winner of that tournament. He added two other majors, as well, and most of his wins came in the 1910s and 1920s.

Date of birth: April 8, 1886
Place of birth: Lelant, Cornwall, England
Date of death: May 24, 1966
Nickname: Long Jim

Tour Victories:


Major Championships:

• 1916 PGA Championship
• 1919 PGA Championship
• 1921 U.S. Open
• 1925 British Open

Awards and Honors:

Member, World Golf Hall of Fame

Quote, Unquote:

• Golf writer Bernard Darwin on Jim Barnes: "His finish was a model for a tall man who is inclined to spring up too soon after the ball is hit. Everything he did was pleasant to watch."

• From New York Times article, 1916: "All that Barnes needs to win a golf tournament is a golf course, a putter, and a liberal supply of the clover leaves that he carries in the corner of his mouth."


Jim Barnes is the only U.S. Open winner to be presented the trophy by the U.S. president. President Warren G. Harding was on hand to give Barnes the trophy following Barnes' 1921 U.S. Open championship.

Jim Barnes Biography:

Jim Barnes was born in England, and worked as a caddie and clubmaker before becoming an assistant pro at the ripe old age of 15.

He immigrated to the United States in 1906, moving to San Francisco, and later became a U.S. citizen.

At 6-foot-4 inches, Barnes was one of the tallest players of his era, and was one of the longest hitters, both of which led to his nickname of "Long Jim."

Barnes began winning big events on the pro circuit in 1914, when he won the first of his three Western Open titles - probably the second most important tournament of that time in America (behind the U.S. Open).

The PGA of America was founded in 1916, which led to the start of what we now call the PGA Tour. And Barnes was one of the dominant players over the first half-dozen years of the new pro tournament circuit. He led the young tour in victories in 1916 (3), 1917 (2, tied with Mike Brady), 1919 (5) and 1921 (4).

He also won the first two PGA Championships ever played. The first was in 1916, but the second - because of World War I - wasn't played until 1919. In 1921, Barnes added a U.S. Open crown, and he also won the 1925 British Open. Barnes also lost in the championship match at two other PGA Championships, 1921 and 1924, both times to Walter Hagen.

Along the way, Barnes produced one of the first highly popular golf instructional books written by a professional golfer, a photo book entitled, Picture Analysis of Golf Strokes.

His U.S. Open title was won by nine strokes, a record for margin of victory that stood until Tiger Woods broke it 80 years later.

Barnes continued playing the PGA Tour through the 1920s and in the 1930s. His final victory came at the age of 53 in the 1939 New Jersey Open.

Jim Barnes was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1989.

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