Posted by: furmanbisher | October 10, 2009

The Name of the Game

How much good does it do a company that has its name attached to a golf tournament? I don’t know that there is a possible way to measure it. The Los Angeles Open ran under its original name from 1926 until 1971. Then it became the Glen Campbell LA Open until 1984, when the Campbell name was dropped. His behavior got too boozey.

Then it became the Nissan LA Open, then the LA was dropped and two years ago it became the Northern Trust Open, but with banking economics the way they are, Northern Trust may not be around for long.

The first tour tournament I ever visited was the Greater Greensboro Open in 1938, and it was played under the same title until 1987, probably as long, or longer, than any other American tournament, other than the classics. Since then it has operated under a fluctuating string of aliases—KMart, Chrysler, Chrysler Classic, and now Wyndham. But I was there for the beginning, and it’s still Greater Greensboro to me.

Oh, did I ever tell you this? For all the scurrilous things that have been said about the Atlanta Falcons, it was the first NFL expansion franchise team that didn’t finish last. Lo, they did make up for it in time.


When Bobby Jones’ youngest daughter, Mary Ellen, was in elementary school, her teacher asked all her pupils to tell the class what their fathers did. Mary Ellen’s answer was:

“I don’t know what he does but he has an awful lot of blue ribbons, so he must have won something.

But my brother and sister have a lot of blue ribbons, too, and they ride horses,”

Later in her adult life, she was asked if being the daughter of a famous dad such as Bobby Jones became an annoyance. “With a name like Mary Jones, you don’t attract a lot of attention.”

Jones himself was quite kind to me and gave me a lot of time when I was a newcomer in town, always in his downtown law office. One day, in a casual conversation, I boldly asked him if the ailment that limited his mobility had a name.

“Oh, yes,” he said. “Syringomyelia. It’s in the dictionary.”

“Is there any cure for it?” I asked.

“Oh, yes,” he said.

“Well, for heaven’s sake, what is it?’

He removed the cigarette he held in one of those long, black Roosevelt kind of holders, and said:


I had no further questions.



  1. Love these columns, Furman. Keep them coming.

  2. A great way to start my mornings. Thanks for not sitting back and relaxing.

  3. Thanks for the bolg Bish! I hope to read many more.

    I grew up reading your stuff. As a 47 year Atlanta native, many memories of reading your column after the big one, win or lose.

    Best wishes


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