Nebraska: Johnny Goodman
Johnny Goodman is another player appearing on this list with a great personal story to go along with his accomplishments on the golf course. Goodman was orphaned at just 14 years old, but the Omaha native still found a passion for golf as he began his journey as a caddy. It was soon after that he started to make his way into being one of the state’s best amateur players and he cemented his mark in that right without question.
It was in 1929, at just 19 years old at the time, that Goodman really started to come on in the state of Nebraska as an amateur golfer. He won the Nebraska Amateur for the first time that year, having won the Trans-Mississippi Amateur two years prior (he won that tournament twice more as well in 1931 and 1935). That Nebraska Amateur victory, however, would be the first of three consecutive victories in the tournament for Goodman.
While Goodman eventually would go on to win the U.S. Amateur title in 1937 at a spry 28 years old, perhaps his biggest claim to fame wasn’t a tournament win at all, but rather a win in an amateur tournament match. That would be from 1929 when, again at just 19, the Omaha native was able to top golf royalty in Bobby Jones in the first round of match play competition. Though Goodman didn’t win the tournament, unseating Jones put him on the map.
Mark Calcavecchia certainly has a claim to the Nebraska throne, but let’s be honest — did Calc ever get the best of the great Bobby Jones?