Broadcaster, PGA champ Rosburg dies

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PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Bob Rosburg, who won the 1959 PGA Championship and spent three decades with ABC Sports as a pioneer in on-course reporting, has died. He was 82.

The PGA Tour said Rosburg died Thursday at home in Palm Springs, Calif. Rosburg fell and hit his head while walking out of a restaurant in Indio after lunch Tuesday, Ken Venturi told the San Francisco Chronicle. Venturi said Rosburg had been weak from chemotherapy treatments for cancer. Venturi, the 1964 U.S. Open champion, was a close friend of Rosburg’s since their childhood days in San Francisco.

Rosburg won six times on the PGA Tour, his biggest victory coming at the 1959 PGA when he rallied from six shots behind at Minneapolis Golf Club to beat Jerry Barber and Doug Sanders for his only major.

Rosburg had finished second at the U.S. Open earlier that year, and a decade later missed a 3-foot putt that would have forced a playoff in the 1969 U.S. Open at Champions Golf Club in Houston.

He achieved greater fame through television.

Rosburg, known as “Rossie” by his colleagues, was hired by ABC Sports in 1974. Instead of sitting in a tower, the network decided it needed a golfer to call the action from the course. Today, every network has on-course reporters.

Rosburg was famous for responding to questions about a particular shot by saying, “He’s got no chance.”

“I haven’t said, ‘He’s got no chance’ in four years,” Rosburg said in a 2002 article for Golf Digest magazine. “I have nothing against the expression. It’s just that players nowadays always have a chance.”

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem hailed Rosburg in a news release as “a great communicator and student of the game.”

“We all owe a debt of gratitude to him for bringing the sport of golf to life, both as a competitor and a commentator,” Finchem said.

Rosburg grew up in San Francisco playing golf at The Olympic Club, where at age 12 he defeated Baseball Hall of Famer Ty Cobb in the club championship. Rosburg played baseball and golf at Stanford, then turned solely to golf in 1953.

He won his first PGA Tour event a year later, beating Bo Wininger by one shot in the 1954 Miami Open. His last victory came at the 1972 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

Rosburg is survived by his wife, Becky, and children Robert, Deborah and Bruce.

Funeral arrangements were not immediately known.

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