Golf journalist Tim Rosaforte got the type of tribute today from Jack Nicklaus that journalists usually heap on legends like Jack Nicklaus. Rosaforte, who was one of the top golf journalists in the world and one of the most popular announcers on Golf Channel and NBC Sports, died Tuesday of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 66.
Nicklaus began a three-tweet tribute to Rosaforte with the following: “Many hearts, including Barbara’s & mine, hurt today after the passing of our friend Tim Rosaforte. Tim had a wonderful ability to develop trust from so many, and because of that—plus his work ethic—if there was an important story to be told in golf, Tim usually reported it first.”
The idea of trust comes up repeatedly in a video the golf great posted of his final visit with Roasforte last year, in which they speak about their bond, respect and, as Rosaforte puts it, “what’s going on with me, medically.”
We were blessed to honor Tim at the 2021 Memorial with the Memorial Golf Journalism Award. That led to a day I'll remember forever. It was May 12 and Tim’s wife, Genevieve, brought him to our home. We shared stories, laughs and tears. It was the last time I got to visit with Tim. pic.twitter.com/RWYfqLEgCp
— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) January 11, 2022
Rosie, as he was known, was born on October 25, 1955, in Mount Kisco, NY, and played football in college. As an undersized linebacker, he used smarts and tenacity to make a mark.
After school, he brought those traits to the Tampa Times, where he got his first journalism job in 1977. He later moved on to the Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Sports Illustrated and Golf Digest/Golf World.
He appeared on USA Network’s PGA Tour Sunday before settling in at the Golf Channel in 2007, where he grew into his role as golf’s “insider,” offering notes, behind-the-scenes perspective and interviews with the sport’s biggest names.
Rosaforte had a 12-handicap, wrote four books and served as the president of the Golf Writers Association of America.
Among his honors were the PGA of America’s Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award. In 2020, the PGA of America made him its 12th honorary member, a list that also includes former Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald R. Ford and George H.W. Bush. He was the first journalist be so honored. Rosaforte received the Memorial Golf Journalism Award from the tournament that Nicklaus founded in 2021. The University of Rhode Island, his alma mater, endowed a scholarship in his name. Also in 2021, Rosaforte’s hometown tournament, the Honda Classic, named its media room after him and inaugurated the Tim Rosaforte Distinguished Writers’ Award.
Chairman of NBC Sports Pete Bevacqua issued the following statement on his passing:
We at NBC Sports are all so deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our friend and colleague, Tim Rosaforte. Tim was one of the great voices of the game for many years, and a strong and trusted presence for the entire golf community. On a personal level, I will miss our conversations and the walks we would take around championship venues over the course of the last two-plus decades.
Golf Channel EP Molly Solomon also remembered Rosaforte:
Tim Rosaforte was golf journalism’s original ‘insider.’ He was endlessly curious about people, tirelessly intrigued by golf and blessed with an indefatigable work ethic. He combined all of that to produce entertaining and informative storytelling that distinguished him, first as a newspaper and magazine writer, and then as a television personality. More than that, his gentle, caring demeanor and love for quality conversation made him a singular friend and colleague. All of us at GOLF Channel have struggled over the past two years to reconcile that our best teammate was losing his memory, curiosity and perspective to this insidious disease. We send our love to Genevieve, Genna, Molly and his family.
In addition to Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Fred Couples, David Duval, Ernie Els and Annika Sorenstam all weighed in online.
As golf reveals a person’s true nature, Tim Rosaforte returned the favor, fairly and warmly illuminating the game's many facets while his own incredible character came to light. Everyone at Bay Hill will miss him greatly, and our hearts go out to his entire family. pic.twitter.com/vHh7bMdqO1
— Arnold Palmer (@ArnoldPalmer) January 12, 2022
I like the media. I love Tim Rosaforte @GolfChannel
— fredcouplesgolf (@fredcouplesgolf) January 11, 2022
Tremendously sad to hear of Tim Rosaforte passing. Abundantly kind and fair to all he came across. Blessed to have known him my entire career. More blessed to call him my friend. We all just lost a beautiful person.
— David Duval (@david59duval) January 11, 2022
Saddened to hear of Tim Rosaforte’s passing today. A brilliant journalist, a great friend and shared many life discussions …I will never forget you Tim.
— Ernie Els (@TheBig_Easy) January 12, 2022
We are so sorry to hear about the passing of Tim Rosaforte. I had known him for many years and always respected the way he went about his business. He was trusted by everyone. His word was gold. He worked hard, but had a soft side. He will be greatly missed. RIP Rosie
— Annika Sorenstam (@ANNIKA59) January 12, 2022
Since 2009 second to only Bball, I’ve watched more golf than anything…prayers to Tim Rosaforte’s family 🙏🏾. 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!!
— Chris Paul (@CP3) January 11, 2022
We are deeply saddened by the loss of PGA Honorary Member and legendary golf journalist Tim Rosaforte. His wonderful grace, charm and insight will be dearly missed by his many friends at the PGA of America and all across the game of golf.https://t.co/YUwy0611ko
— PGA of America (@PGA) January 11, 2022
We are sad to hear of the passing of Tim Rosaforte. Tim was an incredible journalist and a great advocate for golf. He will be missed.
We extend our condolences to Tim's family and friends. https://t.co/rcV5SMKO6o
— LPGA (@LPGA) January 11, 2022
Tim Rosaforte, #theMemorial Tournament 2021 Journalism Award recipient, will forever be remembered as a great friend, award-winning journalist, and inspiration to us all.
Today we offer our thoughts and prayers to the entire Rosaforte family upon his passing. ❤️️ pic.twitter.com/WOw69qV2d0
— #theMemorial (@MemorialGolf) January 11, 2022