Tim Rosaforte of Jupiter, Florida, whose award-winning coverage from print to television promoted the impact PGA Professionals make in growing the game of golf, has been elected the first journalist to receive Honorary Membership in the PGA of America. He is just the 12th person ever to receive the designation of PGA Honorary Member.
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 104th PGA Annual Meeting, which was conducted virtually due to COVID-19. 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 PGA Honorary President Suzy Whaley. “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, New York, Rosaforte received 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 (Connecticut) before transferring his junior year to the University of Rhode Island, where he started his senior season as an outside linebacker and also excelled on special teams. He was a two-time member of the dean’s list and graduated with a degree in journalism in 1977.
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 with the former Tampa Times in 1977, where he was mentored by Tampa Tribune Sports Editor Tom McEwen. Rosaforte said McEwen recommended that he start playing golf to help his work because, said McEwen, ‘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 began to find his stride as a reporter, working from 1981-87 at the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; the Palm Beach Post in West Palm Beach, Florida, from 1987-93; and on to Sports Illustrated from 1994-96. While at Sports Illustrated, Rosaforte served as president of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA). Rosaforte joined Golf Digest in 1996, and blended his work between the parent magazine and as a senior writer for Golf World.
In 2003, Rosaforte was named co-host of the USA Network’s “PGA Tour Sunday,” providing early-round coverage of Tour events, the Masters and the Ryder Cup. In 2007, Rosaforte joined Golf Channel, and was a fixture as a contributor to NBC’s PGA Tour and Ryder Cup coverage through to 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, Florida.
Rosaforte was recipient of the 2014 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism. He 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, Rosaforte has covered 147 major championships and 17 Ryder Cups. Rosaforte has written five books: “The PGA Tour” (1990); “Heartbreak Hill: Anatomy of a Ryder Cup” (1996); “Tiger Woods: The Makings of a Champion” (1997); “World Golf Hall of Fame Yearbook” (with Jaime Diaz, 1998); and “Raising the Bar: The Championship Years of Tiger Woods” (2000).
PGA Honorary Membership is determined by a vote of PGA delegates that recognize individuals for their outstanding contributions to the game of golf.
Honorary PGA Members include former Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald R. Ford and George H.W. Bush, who were recognized for service to the United States of America and the game of golf; along with professional golfers Gary Player and Dennis Walters; and entertainer Bob Hope.
Honorary PGA Membership includes recipients who were long-tenured staff that distinguished themselves as national representatives of the Association; as national and international business leaders providing volunteer service to the PGA of America; as professional golfers whose lack of U.S. citizenship or disabilities precluded their acquiring membership; and as entertainers or sports figures who generated charitable support for the sport or by their endeavors strived for inclusion and diversity in the game and business of golf.
Rosaforte and his wife, Genevieve, live in Jupiter, Florida, and are parents of daughters, Genna and Molly.
Honorary PGA Members (Year of election)
Thomas Crane, 1962
Hon. Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1967
Gary Player, 1974
Hon. Gerald R. Ford, 1975
Bob Hope, 1982
Lloyd Lambert, 1986
Dennis Walters, 1992
John Jachym, 1994
Hon. George H.W. Bush, 2003
Joe Steranka, 2008
Joe Louis Barrow Sr., 2009
Tim Rosaforte, 2020