Tim Rosaforte, a former newspaper reporter who climbed to become one of America’s finest golf journalists, died of Alzheimer’s Disease on Tuesday. The Jupiter, Florida, resident died at the age of 66.
Rosaforte was only the second person in his family to attend college, and he used his dedication to become a sports journalist, then one of the most popular broadcasters on Golf Channel and NBC Sports as golf’s first true insider.
He didn’t have any outlandish ideas and wasn’t a previous athlete. Rosie, as he was called, simply told you what was going on behind the scenes, and he had the perspective to understand it. He became almost as well-known as the celebrities he covered thanks to his distinctive bald pate.
Honda Classic pays tribute to Rosaforte: the Honda Classic media room is now open. Tim Rosaforte Media Center is a non-profit organization founded by Tim Rosaforte
Tim Rosaforte, a longtime golf journalist and Jupiter resident who is battling Alzheimer’s, will be missed at the Masters.
Rosaforte had phone numbers for other heads of state and practically brushed elbows with presidents. He also had access to the game’s biggest names, including Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and everyone else who mattered. Rosaforte carried two phones because he had so many contacts. Rosaforte once had Woods on one line and Palmer on the other, according to legendary broadcaster Jim Nantz.
Rosaforte was recently recognized in a number of ways: He was named the PGA of America’s 12th – and first – honorary member. Last year, he won the Memorial Golf Journalism Award. He received a scholarship in the neurology department at the University of Rhode Island, where he graduated in 1977. His hometown Honda Classic named its media room after him, and the Tim Rosaforte Distinguished Writers’ Award was established in his honor.
Rosaforte, the son of a sanitation company owner from Brewster, N.Y., used his tremendous work ethic and can-do attitude to get into the University of Bridgeport and play as an undersized linebacker and on special teams. Rosaforte’s tenacity drew the attention of future Dallas Cowboys head coach Dave Campo, who was an assistant at the time.
Before Rosaforte received the 2014 PGA of America Lifetime Achievement Award, Campo told longtime golf writer Jaime Diaz, “Tim was a good golfer who studied video, took angles, recognized limitations, and played hard.” “He was one of those exceptional athletes who was practically able to get everything from himself.”
Diaz remarked Rosaforte nodded as she read the quote. “That’s me,” says the narrator. “I’ve taken that football formula and turned it into my life.”
What a life that had been. Rosaforte’s work carried him to areas that golf enthusiasts can only imagine. At legendary golf grounds such as Augusta National, Pebble Beach, St. Andrews, and Oakmont, he covered 147 major championships and 17 Ryder Cups. He didn’t just show up to these events; he soaked them up like dew in the morning.
Rosaforte was golf’s first “insider,” one of the first print writers to make the leap to network television since Will McDonough. After spells at the Clearwater Times, Tampa Times, and Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, Rosaforte worked at The Palm Beach Post from 1987 to 1994 before moving on to Sports Illustrated and Golf World/Golf Digest.
In the 1990s, he co-starred on the old Sunshine Network with veteran Jay Randolph. In 2003, Rosaforte moved on to PGA Tour Sunday on USA Network, and in 2007, he began appearing regularly on Golf Channel.
And we do mean on a regular basis. Rosaforte would be the first to know if a story broke.
“I’d get a call from Tim when no one else would,” said Nicklaus, who met Rosaforte for the first time at the 1980 PGA. “‘Jack, I need your opinion on something,’ he’ll say. That’s something not many guys would do.”
“I think one of the reasons Tim was so brilliant was because he knew the game,” said Nick Price of Jupiter Island, a World Golf Hall of Famer. “He was quite enthusiastic about playing the game. Tim was known for asking very specific inquiries. He was always eager to get the answers right, which meant a great deal to me.”
Rosaforte was similar to Ben Hogan in that their success was built on digging – for scoops or to get the ball out of the soil. Rosaforte was always the one who went above and above. Or four, in this case. It was ingrained in his DNA.
“In today’s sports, there are a lot of insiders, like Adam Schefter, Peter Gammons, and Tim Kurkjian,” said Geoff Russell, Rosaforte’s employer at Golf World and later at Golf Channel. “Tim was doing that before most of them 30 years ago.”
However, not in the same way.
Tommy Roy, NBC golf’s executive producer, stated, “He was certainly the trailblazer in this job.” “It appears that there are a lot of ‘gotcha’ writers out there.” They devise a method of ripping individuals apart and attacking them. Tim, on the other hand, was not like that. He was extremely well-liked.”
Rosaforte earned the trust of the players over time, as well as a network of relationships that his peers could only dream of. It wasn’t so much the number of phones he had as it was the quantity of phone numbers he had.
“I used to tease Timmy, ‘How many US presidents do you have in there?'” asked Rich Lerner of Golf Channel. “‘Who don’t you have?’ should have been the question.” ‘Nobody,’ was the response.
“And he was the last one to inform you of it.” He wouldn’t brag in the way that some journalists do. He is completely devoid of arrogance.”
In the 1980s and 1990s, getting a phone number from the world’s top golfers wasn’t easy – you had to create years of credibility – and it’s even more difficult now. Rosaforte keeps up with today’s stars thanks to his hard effort, perspective, and understanding of the game.
“You have to be able to tell when you have knowledge you can share and when you can’t,” Woods added. “I think Tim did an outstanding job on that.”
When Rosaforte broke the story that President Barack Obama was playing golf with Woods at the Floridian in Palm City in 2013, he actually beat the White House press corps.
The only time Rosaforte made a mistake was when he met President Obama on the range. “When he walked over, I tapped him on the shoulder,” Rosaforte added. “I didn’t realize you couldn’t touch the President.”
Rosaforte was the president of the Golf Writers Association of America and the author of four books. His low-piercing shots were as forthright as his opinions, and he was a 12-handicapper.
Ernie Els said, “You could always trust Timmy.” “He’d ask the tough questions, but he’d always be fair with you.”
At the 2019 U.S. Open, Rosaforte began to have memory loss. He was hauled off the air because physicians suspected he was suffering from anxiousness. He was later diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and had to retire at the end of the year.
Rosaforte was contacted by Nantz, whose father died of Alzheimer’s disease, in 2020 to visit the Nantz National Alzheimer Center in Houston. Doctors assessed that Alzheimer’s disease had progressed and chose not to test an experimental medication due to the risk of side effects.
“Tim’s mind was razor sharp for so long and suddenly he was lost,” Nantz said in an interview with the University of Rhode Island magazine. “Unfortunately, I know the anguish it has brought for all who love Tim because of my own father’s battle with this insidious cancer.” The caregiving aspect of this has been handled well by (wife) Genevieve and the girls (Genna and Molly).
“It’s the untold Alzheimer’s story.” More people’s life are impacted virtually instantly than merely those who are afflicted with the disease.”
Wife Genevieve, daughters Genna (Nick) Bezek and Molly (Mason) Colling, nephew Grayson, and grandchildren Graham, Finn, and Saylor are among the survivors.