"The boy who beat Bobby Jones!"
That's what they used to call Johnny Goodman. But on June 10, 1933, the Omahan, then 23, became Johnny Goodman, U.S. Open golf champion.
Before Goodman, four amateurs had won the national open championship in the almost 40 years of its existence; he was the fifth. Since Goodman, though, no other golfer playing as an amateur has won the U.S. Open.
Born in South Omaha, Goodman was orphaned at age 14. His mother died when he was 11, after giving birth to her 13th child, and his father later abandoned the family.
Goodman became a caddy at the Field Club in Omaha and, in 1925 while a student at Omaha South High, he won the Omaha city championship. Four years later, Goodman won the first of three consecutive Nebraska Amateur titles. He won the Trans-Mississippi Amateur three times (1927, 1931 and 1935).
He gained national fame at age 19 in 1929 when he defeated Bobby Jones in the first round of match-play competition at the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach. Goodman served in the U.S. Army during World War II and did not turn professional until 1960. He supported himself throughout his career by selling insurance.
A municipal golf course in southwest Omaha is named for him.
Because of Goodman's hard-earned stature, the United States Golf Association brought the 1941 U.S. Amateur to the Field Club of Omaha. His final match in amateur competition was that year, an extra-hole loss in the first round.