Missouri hit with tragedy
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Missouri’s golf program experienced a week of extraordinary highs and lows.
Peter Malnati’s victory in the Tennessee State Amateur was tempered by a death in the Tigers’ golf family.
Mickey Fisher, 55, whose son Ryne recently completed his eligibility, died of a heart attack Aug. 5 in Clarksville, Tenn. Two days later, Malnati made his acceptance speech at the Honors Course in Ooltewah and acknowledged the conflicting emotions.
“I had high expectations and put a lot of pressure on myself to perform,” Malnati, 22, told Golfweek by phone from his home in Dandridge. “I got a little nervy, just thinking about the Fishers.”
Malnati graduated this spring with a 3.992 GPA, his only “blemish” being an A-minus in an American history class as a junior. He acknowledged the Fisher family after posting a 12-under 276 to hold off runner-up Tim Jackson (69–280) and third-place Adam Mitchell (76–283).
“I was hoping that at least it would make him smile to look down and see a Missouri Tiger holding the trophy.”
Mizzou coach Mark Leroux, driving west on Interstate 24 after Fisher’s funeral in Clarksville, fought his emotions as he recalled a friend of the Tigers program.
“The wins don’t seem as good,” Leroux said, “and the losses seem worse. That’s probably the way I’m feeling right now.”
Leroux had come to know Fisher as a man whom “we all want to be like.”
“He is so infectious, so positive,” Leroux said. “Everybody who came in contact with Mickey absolutely loved him, or they didn’t know him.”
Fisher recently retired after 33 years as an educator in the Fort Campbell (Ky.) schools, where he coached basketball. He was instrumental in starting the Clarksville Junior Golf Tour in a city with a strong golf tradition.
The family requests, in lieu of flowers, that memorial contributions be made to the Clarksville Junior Golf Tour or the Craig Rudolph Memorial Golf Tournament, 1708 Merritt Drive, Clarksville, TN 37043.