Tribute to these golfers lost in 2021 | Golf News and Tour Information
The world of golf has lost important personalities in 2021, people who have made lasting contributions to the game and its community. From tour pros to business leaders and international golf ambassadors, everyone can boast of having a unique and significant impact on the sport.
Among the deaths that have had the most resonance in the sport over the past 12 months is that of Lee Elder, a pioneer and trailblazer in golf. The PGA Tour stalwart broke the Masters color barrier in 1975 and also became the first black Ryder Cup player in 1979. Earlier this year, Elder joined Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player on the first tee at Augusta National after being named an honorary holder. Although he couldn’t land an opening shot, Elder received the loudest ovation and called it “one of the most moving experiences” of his life.
Along with Elder, those mentioned below cared about golf and tried to improve the game we love through hard work, stellar play, and thoughtful analysis.
PGA Tour and PGA of America pro club that eventually broke through to PGA Tour Champions and won four times. Helped North Texas State’s dominant golf program win four consecutive NCAA titles from 1949-1952.
Member of the PGA Tour from 1978 to 1983 before becoming a two-time Champions Tour winner. The first professional on the circuit to be a major contributor to the GIVE (Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere) foundation. Inducted into the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
Played full-time on the PGA Tour after serving in the military, winning the Orange County Open Invitational (1961) and Sunset-Camellia Open Invitational (1964). Played for USC golf as an amateur, receiving All-American honors from 1956 to 1958 and became the first player to win Pac-8 Conference and Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles in the years consecutive.
First African-American to win a USGA event, the US Amateur Public Links Championship in 1959. Won the NAIA Men’s Golf Championship individual title in 1960 while representing Western Washington College of Education. Played at 1966 US Open and five US Senior Opens after winning. Was a golf pro at The Lakes Golf Course in El Segundo, CA for 25 years.
A tour professional who competed in 611 PGA Tour and Senior Tour events before finally winning a title at the 1991 MONY Syracuse Senior Classic. Won two more senior titles and played in over 500 events on the senior tour . Served as mayor of Toco, Texas, (pop. 150) while playing the Senior Tour in the 1990s.
USGA Technical Director, overseeing equipment regulations from 1974 to 2000. Known for crossing the line between golf innovation and protecting the traditions of the game. Inventor of the graphite shaft and played an important role in creating the Slope System for rating golf courses.
Twice winner of the PGA Tour (1971 Liggett & Myers Open Match Play Championship and 1972 Southern Open) and once winner of the Champions Tour: Bank One Senior Classic (1991). Held pro positions at Sea Palms, Sky Valley and Innsbruck golf clubs and ran a golf consulting company, DeWitt Weaver Golf Solutions, with his children. Inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
Re-entered amateur golfer who finished second in the inaugural U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in 1981 and two other USGA events. Four-time member of the US Walker Cup team before captaining the 2003 and 2005 US teams. Helped the United States win the World Amateur Tag Team title in 1982. Inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Ohio Golf Association.
Four-time PGA Tour winner and member of the 1977 US Ryder Cup team. Known for his superb play around the greens. Took a club pro job at Oak Tree Country Club in Pennsylvania. McGee’s son Mike is married to former LPGA Tour star Annika Sorenstam.
Served in the US Air Force before becoming a professional golfer in 1952. Worked as a club pro under Claude Harmon at Winged Foot while playing on the PGA Tour. Inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Association Hall of Fame.
A two-time PGA Tour winner, he designed several well-known courses in Arizona and Texas, such as Continental Country Club in Flagstaff, Legacy Ridge Country Club in Bonham and Hideout Golf Club in Brownwood. Also a three-time Arizona Open winner.
A former landscape contractor who turned his passion for golf into a world renowned course architecture firm, building over 200 golf courses around the world touching all segments of the golf market. Notable courses included Half Moon Bay, GC of Georgia, Boyne Highlands, Bighorn GC, Palmetto Dunes and Palmetto Hall.
Englishman who competed in the 1965 Ryder Cup. Competed in every Open Championship from 1961 to 1977 (best result: T-12 in 1965).
Won the Schweppes PGA Close Championship (now known as the PGA Championship) in 1961 and was selected to the English Canada Cup squad for his outstanding play. Turned pro at Tavistock Golf Club.
Prominent golf agent for 30 years and Executive Vice President of the Wasserman Golf Group. Represented John Daly, Roger Maltbie and Scott Verplank over the decades, also worked with Matthew Wolff, Rickie Fowler and Viktor Hovland.
A member of the PGA of America who worked as the director of golf at Pinetree Country Club in Chamblee, Georgia, who was found shot dead along with two other people on the 10th hole of the course. Police later said he came across a crime on the course.
GCAA Hall of Fame college golf coach at Northwestern, Stanford and Northern Colorado who coached Tiger Woods for two seasons with the Cardinal. A year before Tiger arrived, Goodwin’s team in 1994 won the NCAA championship.
Longtime chairman of Hamilton Tailoring Co., in Avondale, Ohio, which in 1967 reached an agreement with Clifford Roberts, president of the Augusta National Golf Club, for Hamilton Tailoring to resume manufacturing the green jackets awarded to Masters winners (and also worn by club members). Was faithfully tight-lipped about his company’s relationship with the club, rarely acknowledging it, let alone granting interviews.
Canadian golfer with a brilliant amateur career before joining the LPGA Tour. Twice winner of the Canadian Women’s Amateur in 1965 and 1971. Won LPGA Rookie of the Year in 1972 and became the first Canadian to win the Canadian Women’s Open (then called the La Canadienne golf championship ). Won the 1972 Bobbie Rosenfeld Award for Canada’s Top Female Athlete and was eventually named to the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.
A friend described him as “one of the toughest, baddest men on this planet”. Played in 255 combined PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions events. Joined the US Army and became a paratrooper three years into his career.
Wife of golfing legend Gary Player and co-founder of The Player Foundation and the Gary Player Invitational Series tournaments, which has raised millions for educational opportunities for underprivileged children.
A self-deprecating storyteller who, after a career in newspapers and magazines, worked as a golf commentator for CBS for over 20 years, delivering memorable appeal during network coverage of the Masters. Longtime member of the Association of Golf Writers. Was taken off the air in 1996 following controversial comments he made about female golfers to a reporter during an interview the previous May at the LPGA Championship.
Stand-up comedian, host of the Saturday Night Live weekend update, and golf enthusiast. Avid Tiger Woods fan and prolific tweeter and golf punter. “Nobody knows golf better than I do. Nobody.”
Seven-time PGA Tour winner, known for his stunning short game who also played on the 1963 Ryder Cup team. Won the 1951 US Amateur and helped North Texas State win four championships consecutive NCAA team games from 1949 to 1952.
Former United States Amateur Champion (1968) who won the 1991 New England Classic on the PGA Tour and eventually became a dominant presence on the Champions Tour with 18 wins. Winner of the 2001 US Senior Open and became the first player to win back-to-back wins in his first two Champions Tour events. Was head coach of the US Open golf team at the 1989 Maccabiah Games and the 2013 Maccabiah Games in Israel.
Broadcaster/journalist known as “The Voice of the European Tour”. Covered 165 major tournaments, including 58 open championships. Became the first non-US journalist to cover 40 consecutive Masters tournaments in 2014. Also served as Chairman, President and Secretary of the Association of Golf Writers in the UK.
The 2010 BMW Italian Open champion and two-time Challenge Tour winner. After playing on the European Tour, he became a golf commentator for Sveriges Television in his native Sweden.
Founder of OB Sports Golf Management, which oversaw the operations of several golf facilities across the country. Was twice named PGA Professional of the Year and a seven-time recipient of the PGA Merchandiser of the Year. Played on the PGA Tour prior to his job at OB Sports.
Four-time PGA Tour winner who broke the Masters color barrier in 1975 after earning an invite with a victory at the Monsanto Open in 1974. Made 448 tour starts, then became the first black player in the Ryder Cup in 1979. Developed a scholarship for low-income students seeking money for college and served on the board of Goodwill. Served as an honorary starter at the 2021 Masters along with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player for his contributions to golf.
Longtime golf writer from Columbus, Ohio who covered Jack Nicklaus as a junior golfer. Has gone on to cover 56 Masters tournaments. Served as president of the Golf Writers of America and in 1984 was named Ohio Sports Writer of the Year. He later became the director of media and player relations for The International, a now-defunct PGA Tour event at Castle Pines Golf Club in Colorado.
Mother of Ryder Cup winning captain and Hall of Famer Davis Love III and widow of famed swing coach Davis Love Jr. An accomplished golfer in her own right and a fixture in the Georgian community of St. Simons Island.
Peter Andrews, 90, December 20
A former child actor who, after serving in the US Army during the Korean War, became a prolific writer with articles appearing in The New York Times, American Heritage, Playboy, Newsweek and Reader’s Digest. Has been a regular contributor to Golf Digest, with stories appearing in the magazine for over 35 years.