The official Tour Championship trophy: The story behind ‘Calamity Jane’
In addition to the traditional Tour Championship trophy awarded to the winner, the victor also gets a replica putter as a prize.
Bobby Jones’ Calamity Jane is one of the most famous golf clubs of all time. The Augusta native Jones used the Calamity Jane putter to help him win 13 major championships, including the Grand Slam in 1930. During the course of his career, Jones used two versions of the Condi rose model.
The original version of the club was actually made for William Winton, a golf club dealer from West London, but made its way to the U.S. via Jim Maiden, a Scotsman who emigrated to the country and eventually became head golf professional at Nassau Country Club on Long Island.
It was Maiden who game the Calamity Jane name for the putter after learning about American sharp shooter Martha “Calamity Jane” Canary, who was a notorious character during the mid to late 1800s.
Maiden kept the putter in his possession for years until the 1920 U.S. Amateur when he offered Jones the chance to try it out following a defeat to Francis Ouimet. As the story goes, Jones buried no less than eight consecutive putts with Calamity Jones and left the course with the putter in his possession.
Jones would go on to win his first three major championships with the original Calamity Jane before clubmaker J. Victor East noticed the club had become defective. The emery cloth caddies used in the 1920s to buff the head had put a twist in the sweet spot, wearing out the face of Jones’ putter.
East would go onto make further versions of the Calamity Jane putter with Jones going on to win a further ten majors with the original clubs now housed in a trophy case at Augusta National Golf Club, while Calamity Jane II can be found at the USGA’s museum in Far Hills, New Jersey.
As of 2017, it was decided that as well as the traditional winner’s trophy, the champion at the East Lake course in Atlanta, Georgia would also be given a replica silver Calamity Jane putter as a tribute to local legend Jones.