Fun Find: Newsreel Footage of 4-Year-Old Bob Rosburg in 1930

Bob Rosburg was a longtime PGA Tour golfer, a successful one, and the 1959 PGA Championship winner. He later enjoyed a long career as an on-course analyst on ABC TV's golf broadcasts in the USA. Everyone called him "Rossie."

But long before all that, Rosburg was a childhood golfing prodigy. And I just stumbled across the newsreel footage to prove it.

Take at look at the following video. It's a 1930 newsreel from British Pathetone that showcases Rosburg at age 4. Alas, they misspelled his last name as "Roseburg," but the "Bobby Roseburg" in the newsreel is really Bob Rosburg.

The newsreel is titled "Another Golfing Bobby!" A leaderboard before the footage begins states, "Meet Bobby Jones' rival — Bobby Roseburg (sic), a 4-year-old Californian but a golfer in miniature!" We then see little Rossie beating balls, and then playing a hole accompanied by an older girl. When the ball drops into the cup at the end of the short newsreel, 4-year-old Rossie exclaims, "How do you like that!"

In 1939, when Rosburg was 12 — approximately eight years after the footage above was shot (Rosburg was born in October 1926, so the newsreel footage had to be shot very late in 1930) — he played in the first flight of the The Olympic Club's club championship in San Francisco. And he beat baseball legend Ty Cobb 7 and 6. Cobb was 53 at the time. According to some accounts, Cobb was so embarrassed at losing to a 12-year-old, and took so much ribbing from Olympic Club members, that he quit the club.

Rosburg said this, in a My Shot interview with Golf Digest in 2002, about playing Cobb:

I beat Ty Cobb, 7 and 6, in the first flight of the club championship at the Olympic Club when I was 12. He was a fierce competitor, and I remember him getting mad at himself for not playing better. But he was nice to me. He shook my hand. It was almost the last I saw of Mr. Cobb, because the guys at the club rode him unmercifully for losing to a child. He disappeared and didn't come back to Olympic for years.

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