By petedirenzo
Friday, May 15, 2009

To one generation he was the dulcet voice of a game, a roving television reporter bringing life to birdies and bogeys. To another, earlier generation he was the epitome of West Coast golf—a professional born in San Francisco, raised on the game at The Olympic Club, a graduate of Stanford University, and a player who made his tour debut in the Los Angeles Open.     But whether he was broadcasting the Open Championship or winning the 1959 PGA Championship, Bob Rosburg was known to one and all as “Rossie,” a man who spent his entire life happily woven into the fabric of the game he loved.Rosburg died Thursday morning in Palm Springs, Calif., at the age of 82. Though he had been battling cancer for 18 months, the cause of death was a head injury sustained in a fall."Bob Rosburg represented the best in golf as a player, champion, gentleman and as the voice who brought viewers the best insight on what it was like for his fellow professionals to perform inside the ropes," said PGA of America President Jim Remy. "We will dearly miss being able to help Bob celebrate this summer the 50th anniversary of winning the PGA Championship and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. He will forever be in our hearts as a true champion."  Rosburg gained his greatest fame as an ABC golf announcer, working with television legends such as Jim McKay and Dave Marr, but his earliest marks in golf were made as a player.As a four-year-old, Rosburg went on a six-week golfing exhibition, hitting balls with the Antarctic explorer Admiral Richard E. Byrd. At age 12, he defeated baseball’s Ty Cobb, 7 and 6, during an early round of match play at the Olympic Club championship.He would go on to a fine playing career, winning six tour events, most memorably the 1959 PGA Championship at Minneapolis Golf Club, overcoming a six-shot deficit after 54 holes and edging Doug Sanders and Jerry Barber by one stroke.Rosburg and Sam Snead are the only players in history to win both a PGA Championship and PGA professional national championship. (Rosburg won the national championship in 1969, Snead in 1971.)Rosburg spent 31 years at ABC, where he his candor and storytelling became integral parts of every broadcast. Reflecting on his years in golf and television in an interview with stanfordmensgolf.org, Rosburg said, "Everything in life is about timing. My timing was pretty good."

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