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Tim Rosaforte remembered as titan in golf industry

TIM ROSAFORTE, who "rose from a newspaper reporter to become one of the top American golf journalists," died yesterday at 66 of Alzheimer's, according to Craig Dolch of the PALM BEACH POST. Rosaforte was "golf's original 'insider,' one of the first print journalists since WILL MCDONOUGH to make the transition to network TV." Rosaforte worked at several Florida-based newspapers, including the Palm Beach Post and South Florida Sun Sentinel, before moving on to SI and Golf World/Golf Digest. His first TV gig was "alongside veteran JAY RANDOLPH on the old Sunshine Network in the 1990s." Rosaforte "moved on to PGA Tour Sunday on USA Network in 2003 before he started appearing regularly on Golf Channel in 2007." If a story broke, Rosaforte "would soon have the inside info." Rosaforte "started having memory-loss issues" at the '19 U.S. Open. He was stopped from doing on-air work as doctors "originally thought he was having anxiety issues." He was later "diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's and retired at the end of 2019" (PALM BEACH POST, 1/12).

REMEMBERING A LEGEND: PGATOUR.com's Cameron Morfit noted Rosaforte "went out of his way to take an interest in younger, less known colleagues, praising an article or insight that caught his attention." A former Golf Writers Association of America president, Rosaforte "often emceed the GWAA writing awards dinner and won all four non-daily GWAA awards himself." He won the PGA of America's Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism and also was awarded a "rare lifetime PGA membership -- a first for a golf journalist." He also won the Memorial Tournament's lifetime achievement award, and The Honda Classic "named its media center after him after his retirement" (PGATOUR.com, 1/11). GOLF.com's Michael Bamberger wrote Rosaforte "invented something that had not existed: golf-on-TV as a news beat." NBC golf producer TOMMY ROY or others "would cut from BOB COSTAS to Tim and he'd have a minute, notebook in hand, and he made every word count" (GOLF.com, 1/11). GOLFCHANNEL.com's Jaime Diaz wrote it was Rosaforte's "bold willingness to vulnerably enter big arenas ... that made him a constant and outstanding achiever." Whether for print or TV, he "would quickly identify a story angle that often no one else had, figure out who he needed to talk to in order to make it good, and set out on a mission ... to bring it all home" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 1/11).

OUTPOURING OF SUPPORT: Members of the golf world paid tribute to Rosaforte yesterday at news of his passing. Golf Channel's Rich Lerner: "Broke stories, but never his word. Unselfish, tough but tender, trusted friend who’d do anything for you, a genuinely good soul." Golfweek's Beth Ann Nichols: "Tim always, always had a word of encouragement for younger journalists. I looked up to him. I carried what he said with me, often surprised he even knew my name." NBC's Dan Hicks: "He was a legend in golf journalism and good friend. Everyone loved him." Ernie Els: "A brilliant journalist, a great friend and shared many life discussions." Chris Paul: "Although I’d never met him I listened to and watched him all the time. Was always full of energy and kept me engaged as a fan of golf!!" Golf Channel's Steve Burkowski: "Rosie was the original golf insider, digging deep to share insight that made viewers feel invested." Golf reporter Alan Shipnuck: "Rosey was a great mentor and friend and a spirited golf companion. Also competitive as hell; later, he put me in a headlock in the Masters press room. I loved the guy and already miss him." Golf reporter Ewan Murray: "Tim Rosaforte was the best connected guy in golf journalism and therefore outstanding at his job."

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