Lifetime amateur Jackson in Sr. Open hunt
SAMMAMISH, Wash. – I have Bobby Jones on my mind.
My fondest dream is that a golfer with the ability of Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson decides to remain an amateur.
For his entire competitive career. Just like Bobby Jones.
Which brings me to Tim Jackson of Germantown, Tenn. He is 51 years old and has been an amateur for 51 years. Imagine that.
Here at Sahalee Country Club, Jackson shot an opening round 68 at the U.S. Senior Open and is tied for second place. It brings back memories of last year’s U.S. Senior Open, where Jackson took the 36-hole lead with rounds of 66 and 67, then finished 73-76 to tie for 11th.
This guy has the gift of golf.
Thank goodness, he also has the gift of family. It’s the family, particularly 16-year-old son and golf partner Austin, that keeps him an amateur.
At 49, Jackson thought of entering the Champions Tour Q-School. “I actually printed the application,” he related, “but it sat on the corner of my desk three months. I picked it up the day before it was due, read the first page and threw it in the garbage can. I don’t think it’s for me. I don’t want to be away from my family.”
Way to go, Tim.
Jackson spent two decades as a certified public accountant, then switched careers, becoming a residential developer.
You might think a residential developer from Tennessee would spend the winter in Florida, working on his golf game. Not this modern version of Bobby Jones.
“I got beat in the (U.S.) Mid-Am on October the 8th last year (2009),” he said. “I did not play a round of golf (after that) until February the 20th this year, so I took about four months off. Typically I play 10 or 12 events in the year between March and September.”
And that’s it.
“I play with Austin. He’s about the only golf partner I have,” Jackson claimed. “Playing golf for me is better than hitting a lot of balls.”
So he plays sparingly and practices very little. Sounds like an amateur to me.
Jackson has made his mark in match play, winning the U.S. Mid-Amateur twice and the Tennessee Amateur four times. He has played on two Walker Cup teams.
So what’s your strategy, Tim?
“Well, I talked to Austin about this,” he said. “We have to do what we did last year – play one side at a time here, because the trees are hanging out (over the fairways) and the hole locations are right over the mounds and you’ve got to be pretty precise. You’ve got to be patient. You’re making pars, and those are pretty good numbers out here.”
You go, Mr. Amateur Man.