HARTFORD, Conn. – In 50 years in journalism, I’ve rarely met a more personable, knowledgeable, professional or respected individual than Tim Rosaforte.
Rosaforte, who lives in Jupiter, Fla., has had award-winning coverage in print and on television for more than four decades and received recognition from many areas of the golfing world. He made history on Thursday when he was elected the first journalist to receive honorary membership in the PGA of America for promoting the impact that PGA professionals make in growing the game of golf. He’s only the 12th recipient of the prestigious status, joining the likes of Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald R. Ford and George H.W. Bush, Gary Player, Bob Hope and Joe Louis Barrow Sr.
Rosaforte, 65, a former senior writer for Golf World/Golf Digest and “Mr. Insider” as an analyst for Golf Channel/NBC, was recognized during the PGA’s 104th annual meeting, which was scheduled to be at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford as the end of the two-year presidential reign of longtime Connecticut resident Suzy Whaley but was conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rosaforte retired in December 2019 and has battled early on-set Alzheimer’s Disease.
“Tim Rosaforte’s passion for getting to the heart of a story matched his admiration for the PGA Professional,” said Whaley, the first female elected a PGA officer in 2014 and now the honorary president for two years. “His career journey was one of love and devotion to this great game. Tim earned the title ‘Mr. Insider’ for his attention to detail and dogged pursuit of the facts that often resulted in his ‘scooping’ his peers. He also earned a rightful place among the PGA family for the care he put into his work about our members. It is with great pride that we welcome him as an Honorary Member of the PGA of America.”
The son of a mechanic for the highway department in Bedford, N.Y., Rosaforte got discarded wooden clubs from his father and later took lessons at age 6 from a caddie with an inspirational name, Billy Graham. Rosaforte excelled in football and baseball in high school and attended the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut before transferring his junior year to the University of Rhode Island, where he started his senior year as a linebacker and excelled on special teams. He was a two-time member of the dean’s list and graduated with a degree in journalism in 1977. Shortly afterwards, I first met Rosaforte at a Golf Writers Association Championship in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Rosaforte credited Wilbur Doctor, a former Providence Journal editor turned University of Rhode Island professor who was “as blunt as any position coach in football” for “turning me around in my attempt to build a writing career.” Rosaforte’s journalism career began in 1977 with the former Tampa Times, where he was mentored by Tampa Tribune Sports Editor Tom McEwen. Rosaforte said McEwen recommended he start playing golf to help his work because “you can learn far more about someone in a span of five hours on a course.” Rosaforte called it “the epiphany of my career.”
Rosaforte then worked at the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the Palm Beach Post in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Sports Illustrated. While at SI, he was GWAA president, then joined Golf Digest and blended his work between the parent magazine and as a senior writer for Golf World. In 2003, Rosaforte was named co-host of USA Network’s “PGA Tour Sunday,” providing early-round coverage of Tour events, the Masters and the Ryder Cup. In 2007, he joined Golf Channel and was a fixture as a contributor to NBC’s PGA Tour and Ryder Cup coverage until his retirement.
On Feb. 17, 2013, Rosaforte became the sole reporter gaining access to “scoop” the White House press corps on the first meeting between then-President Barack Obama and Tiger Woods for a day of golf at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla. He was recipient of the 2014 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism and has won more than 40 writing awards, including a GWAA “Grand Slam” for first-place magazine coverage in features, columns, event coverage and special projects. Since 1980, he has covered 147 major championships and 17 Ryder Cups and written five books, including two on Woods.
PGA Honorary Membership is determined by a vote of PGA delegates that recognize individuals for their outstanding contributions to golf. It includes recipients who were long-tenured staff that distinguished themselves as national representatives of the Association, national and international business leaders providing volunteer service to the PGA of America, professional golfers whose lack of U.S. citizenship or disabilities precluded their acquiring membership and entertainers or sports figures who generated charitable support for the sport or by their endeavors striving for inclusion and diversity in the game and business of golf.
Rosaforte and his wife, Genevieve, live in Jupiter and have two daughters, Genna and Molly. I couldn’t be happier that such a dedicated journalist and terrific human being has received such tremendous notoriety and pray his Alzheimer’s Disease doesn’t cut short his life. In the meantime, many congratulations, Tim!