Monty Jones: Monty the Rain Man gets into the swing of things

Getty Images

While Tiger Woods turns to fatherhood and the golf course less frequently, Monty Jones has been succeeding with their descendants – the set of offspring of PGA Champions Tour events who regularly compete as their name suggests.

Those offspring have given a lifetime of sports achievement – five Olympians, two Paralympians, four world champions and five major champions, and a place in the Pro-Celebrity All-Star Team at the Miss America pageant.

His best performances have come on the course.

But in 1997, he drove from Atlanta in full flight, finding himself the subject of – much-publicised – photography that became the subject of an artful 20-minute moving story, also called ‘Rain Man’, that follows the man himself from birth.

Sports Illustrated picked up on the story on which it has now released a behind-the-scenes feature called Monty at Work.

“People think it’s only his actions on the golf course,” said Monty, who played in 30 PGA Tour events in the course of his career.

“But I am spending about 45 minutes trying to think of the name of every [one of the eight] major champions – at least, I wish I was.”

If you want to visit the home of Monty Jones, you’re going to have to settle for a short drive along a gravel road outside his former home town of Roswell, Georgia.

The 1972 LPGA champion’s old house is now a magnet for fans of his golfing exploits, his quirky description of them earning him the nickname ‘The Rain Man’ in the first place.

The switchboard phone in the office of the Brevard Museum and History Center (his childhood home) almost comes to life as the assistant operator answers.

She clearly has an idea of the famous former figure in the looped orange shirt and short-lived career.

“He’s a humble person,” she said. “Sometimes the media want the story about the ‘Big Iron’ and you’re good as done.”

The job is now being given to a younger assistant. She looks slightly bemused when the call is made and thinks back to her former colleague – a man who succeeded in his professional life despite his inability to train for it.

“It was surprising how many people appreciated his accomplishment,” she said. “Not many could do this.”

Monty is still hoping to inspire people, although there’s little evidence of it so far with a tidy earnings haul, but little on the golf course.

Leave a Comment