When illness struck down Jones, Roberts assumed total responsibility over the club and the tournament. It was the unbending manner in which he refused to grant special favors that made the Masters such an efficient operation. “The standards and quality with which he conducted the Masters are unmatched anywhere,” said Jack Nicklaus. “All of us in golf appreciate what he has done for the game.”
It didn’t matter whether it was a member of the media pressing him for tournament attendance figures or a member of the club pushing him on policy. Roberts, as veteran columnist Tom Callahan once wrote, was something of a stone monument.
One year, a member suggested that a mound be put behind a certain green. “Fine, we’ll do that,” Roberts reportedly said. Several months later the member received a bill for the entire cost of the improvement. Asked in later years if that ever happened, Roberts replied firmly, “I don’t remember it.” Roberts instituted such innovations as gallery roping, pairings sheets, course maps, stadium mounding and an elaborate scoring and leader board operation.
“Although he was a tough man, he was a person who was truly dedicated to golf and the quality and standards of the game,” Arnold Palmer said. “And when you got to know him-as I was fortunate enough to be able to do-you found him to be a very nice and warm person. I liked and admired him very much.”