He’s been largely forgotten in the pantheon of pioneering Scots who helped spread the golfing gospel in America.
But the 100th anniversary of the Texas Open – now sponsored by Valero – will be marking the 1922 victory of Dornoch ex-pat Bob MacDonald.
Celebrations planned for the Lone Star State milestone are lavish, including a country music concert and a centenary history penned by sportswriter Kevin Robbins.
Renowned Scottish artist Graeme Baxter has been commissioned to mark the occasion and 2013 winner Martin Laird and Inverness-born Russell Knox are set to join the 144-strong field teeing-up in advance of The Masters.
Bob’s surviving son Bill (77) will be making tracks for the Centennial tournament, being staged at the TPC San Antonio Oakes Course.
Florida-based Bill is planning a pilgrimage with the treasured putter his dad used in capturing what was then the biggest cash prize offered in professional golf.
“They are very interested in my father’s putter, the one he used in winning the Metropolitan Open in 1921 and 1923, and the Texas Open in between,” explained Bill.
“I can’t take the putter on the airplane and I don’t want to risk it in the hold, so I am driving to San Antonio.
“It will take me three days to drive there but it is a cherished family heirloom. I won’t be parted from it on the trip.
“I believe the winner of this year’s tournament will be photographed with my father’s putter.
“He actually won the tournament on February 4, 1922, at the then Breckenridge Park Links.
“There were 66 professionals taking part and on the night of his win they attended a dinner in the ballroom at the Menger Hotel, just 100 yards from The Alamo, which was already an historic building by 1922.
“He was given a gold medal and $1633 prize money, at a time when a man could buy a suit for six dollars
“Newspaper articles of the time said it was the largest purse ever offered for a professional tournament.
“I have other medals he won for tournaments but they aren’t gold so it is possible he may have sold the Texas one. That would have been the crown jewel in my collection of memorabilia.
“I was invited to the Breckenridge club to make a presentation in November last year when they dedicated a bronze plaque on the first tee marking my father’s win.
“I was in very good company, sitting beside fellow guest Lee Trevino.
“For this occasion, I have got an outfit in the 1920s style my father was wearing on the golf course.
“In addition to having found some of his signature clubs at auctions, I have two hickories going back to when he was a boy caddying in Dornoch. He kept them all his life so they meant a lot to him.
“He was a caddie at Royal Dornoch and played in their tournaments. He had to borrow clubs to play.
“I was 15 when he died but he never spoke about his golfing successes. He was very modest but he was very proud of his Scottish roots.
“He fought in the Boer War with the 7th Squadron Scottish Horse as a teenager, having lied about his age. He was captured after a month and imprisoned in Pretoria with several thousand other soldiers.
“They organised a golf event with homemade clubs and many years later playing at a tournament in America he met the Irish soldier he beat in the prison final. They went out and had a pint together.
“After spells as a young pro in France, he arrived in America in 1910 with his first wife, who was French, and she kept a scrapbook filled with newspaper articles.
“My father played with pros like Walter Hagen, who was in the field when he won the Texas Open, Gene Sarazen and even a young Bobby Jones. He was a long-time member of the USPGA.
“My father was regarded as one of the longest drivers of his day, striking the ball over 300 yards, he endorsed his own line of clubs and he was the first to launch an indoor golf course, in Chicago, where they held chip and putt tournaments over the winter.
“He wrote one of the first best-selling books on golf, along with a pocket instructional book golfers could take out on the course.”
“Long Bob,” who died in 1960, was also in demand in Hollywood, giving lessons to movie stars Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, along with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, who was inspired to make the trip to play Royal Dornoch in 1971.
His 85-year-old niece and past Royal Dornoch ladies captain Christine Murray will be keeping a close eye on the action unfolding in San Antonio from March 31-April 3.
“The family has always been very proud of Bob and his accomplishments,” said the retired teacher.
“Bob was born in 1885 and he was 12 years older than my father, Jim, who stayed here while brothers Bill and Jack also went to America and became professionals.
“The brothers were all caddies at the golf club early on in their lives.
“When you think about the legendary golf course architect Donald Ross, his younger brother Alex, who won the 1907 US Open, and many others, it’s amazing how influential this club in the Highlands of Scotland has been in the development of golf.”
The Texas Open is hailed among the oldest professional tournaments in the USA and the only one to have been played in the same city throughout its entire history.
MacDonald, who finished third in the 1915 US Open before war intervened, was followed in 1923 by Walter Hagen and the list of past winners in Texas includes Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, last year’s champion Jordan Spieth and Royal Dornoch honorary members Ben Crenshaw (in 1973 and 1986) and Tom Watson.