Tim Rosaforte, 1955-2022

Tim Rosaforte, 1955-2022, ‘A tremendous pillar in the world of golf’ Alzheimer’s claims Tim Rosaforte, who moved to South Florida in 1981. Said Jack Nicklaus: ‘If there was an important story to be told in golf, Tim was usually the first one to report it.’

South Florida is home to the world’s greatest golfers, courses and weather.

And, until Jan. 11, the sport’s preeminent journalist.

That was the day Tim Rosaforte passed away after a 2½-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Our world – and the sport – is lesser for it.

Tim moved to South Florida, specifically Fort Lauderdale, in 1981 and, like superstars such as Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, he never left. Within a couple of years, Rosaforte started writing exclusively about golf and he never stopped.

Tim is best-known for his 12 years working as Golf Channel as golf’s first true TV insider. He broke stories like Jack and Tiger broke records, had the inside information and was passionate about the sport he covered.

For almost four decades, Rosaforte chronicled everything there was about golf in South Florida; the big-time PGA Tour events at Doral and Inverrary, including the Honda Classic’s eventual move to PGA National, as well as PGA Tour Champions and LPGA Tour events.

I used to kid Rosie – as everyone called him – the Honda moved to Palm Beach County only because he did. He spent the last 20 years living in Jupiter, about a 20-minute commute to PGA National.

Rosaforte covered almost 150 majors, but he didn’t just attend the high-profile events. He covered South Florida golf from its roots, attending U.S. Open qualifiers, county amateur and mini-tour events when only their families knew most of the players’ names.

It may have been a non-descript tournament, but Rosie always would come away with an interesting story. And he would get it right. There are no mulligans in journalism, save for the backspace key.

Rosaforte’s hometown Honda Classic honored him last year by naming its Media Room after him and creating the Tim Rosaforte Distinguished Writers’ Award. Naturally, he was the award’s first recipient.

Rosie was at his best on the biggest stage, most notably his 40-year relationship with North Palm Beach resident Jack Nicklaus. Tim was at Augusta National when Jack won his sixth green jacket at 46 in 1986, a moment that horrified some golf writers, but one Rosaforte easily could handle.

Nobody knew Jack (and Barbara) better than Tim. Their paths first crossed at the 1980 PGA at Oak Hill and they crisscrossed ever since.

“You have to go back more than 40 years to find the start of our friendship with Tim,” Jack and Barbara said in an e-mail. That relationship only grew through the decades with his work at the Palm Beach Post, numerous national magazines and eventually Golf Channel, where his reporting and relationships throughout the game were best showcased.

“Our paths continued to intersect, no matter where Tim’s career went. Tim had such a wonderful ability to develop relationships and trust from so many, and because of that – plus his work ethic – if there was an important story to be told in golf, Tim was usually the first one to report it. He was a true journalist who was never afraid to ask the tough questions. The only thing that ever deterred Tim and his passion was the hideous disease of Alzheimer’s, and it eventually took him way too soon.”

Jack’s Memorial Tournament honored Rosaforte with its Golf Journalism Award last year. Tim was unable to attend the ceremony because of health reasons, but went to the Nicklaus home two weeks beforehand to reminisce with Jack and Barbara

“We shared stories, laughs and a few tears,” Nicklaus said. “It was the last time I got to visit with Tim.”

Rosaforte’s hometown Honda Classic honored him last year by naming its Media Room after him and creating the Tim Rosaforte Distinguished Writers’ Award. Naturally, he was the award’s first recipient.

“Tim has always been a larger-than-life person and a tremendous pillar in the world of golf and media,” said Honda Classic executive director Ken Kennerly. “His contribution to the game and in particular to the Honda Classic has been so well documented and the game of golf has been blessed to have had Tim Rosaforte.”

Kennerly said there will be a moment to honor Rosaforte at the tournament.

Tim Rosaforte and nephew Grayson Chandler

Rosaforte gave back, too. He would often emcee charity events and served in that role a half-dozen times at the South Florida PGA annual awards dinner – except in 2012, when he was inducted into the section’s Hall of Fame.

“Tim would call me in the summer and say ‘Here are my open dates, I want to do it again,’ ” said South Florida PGA executive director Geoff Lofstead. “Some of Tim’s best friends were PGA Professionals in out section who grew up with Tim in the business.

“Tim was certainly an iconic figure, but when you walked up to him, you didn’t feel like you were talking to an iconic person. He had this ability to put you at ease.”

Rosaforte loved to play the sport, getting his handicap into single figures late in his career. He was always thinking about the game – and his job. He passed that passion on to his 14-year-old nephew, Grayson Chandler.

“Tim was always with Grayson when he would enter the Drive, Chip and Putt or be at team practices,” Lofstead said. “I remember one year, I was watching the U.S. Open on TV as it was about to end and I got a call from Tim. I said, ‘What are you doing? Don’t you have to cover the finish?’

“He said, “Yes, but I wanted to make sure Grayson is entered in the next tournament.’ That to me was unbelievable.”

And so Tim Rosaforte.

RIP, Rosie.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.