Jackie Cummings, who won the 1990 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, died on Aug. 1 in his hometown of Tuscaloosa, Ala., at the age of 80.
A storied amateur in Alabama, Cummings competed in 15 USGA championships, including seven U.S. Senior Opens, making the cut three times.
Cummings won three Alabama State Amateurs (1961, 1965 and 1971) and was the recipient of the 2001 Joe H. King Award, given by the Alabama State Golf Association to an individual who has made significant contributions to amateur golf in the state.
Born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Cummings attended the University of Alabama, but never hit a golf shot for the Crimson Tide. “I was a late bloomer,” Cummings told AL.com in 2007. Although his parents were members of Tuscaloosa Country Club, Cummings didn’t touch a club until he was in high school. It wasn’t until he established a truck-leasing dealership that he began to devote more time to golf.
Cummings competed in his first USGA championship at age 50 in the 1985 U.S. Senior Open. “Boy, was that a different experience,” Cummings recalled. “I was a good local golfer, but I wasn't prepared for USGA golf. I played my butt off to shoot 75.”
When he defeated Bobby Clark, 3 and 2, at Desert Forest Country Club in Carefree, Ariz., in the 1990 U.S. Senior Amateur final, Cummings joined the likes of Jerry Pate (1974 U.S. Amateur and 1976 U.S. Open), Hubert Green (1977 U.S. Open), Larry Nelson (1983 U.S. Open) and Martha Lang (1988 Women’s Mid-Amateur) as players with Alabama ties to have won a USGA championship.
But he almost didn’t make it to Desert Forest. En route to his sectional qualifier at Old Waverly Country Club in West Point, Miss., Cummings got lost. He arrived two minutes prior to his scheduled starting time and managed to shoot a 70, despite making a double bogey on his opening hole.
At the championship proper, Cummings opened stroke play with an 80, but his game kept improving each day. En route to the final match, he defeated two-time champion Clarence Moore in the quarterfinals.
Cummings was a longtime member at Indian Hills Country Club in Tuscaloosa, where he played often with legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant.
“We had a lot of good times together,” he said of Bryant.
Cummings leaves his wife, Sydney (Finnell); his daughters, Catherine Pugh and Frances Rumsey; his brother, Henry; five grandchildren, and nine nieces and nephews.
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com