PALM BEACH GARDENS — Larry Dorman is one of the most decorated golf writers in the business, but his latest award is different. It is special. He is a dear friend.
The award Dorman received on Tuesday at the Honda Classic shook his heart and brought him to tears. Dorman was named the second recipient of the Tim Rosaforte Distinguished Writers’ Award. Rosaforte, who died on January 11 at age 66 from Alzheimer’s disease, was one of Dorman’s best friends.
“It’s really a personal thing,” said Dorman, who also became emotional when Honda Classic executive director Ken Kennerly called him recently with the news. “Tim and I were best friends for all the years we were together.
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“It’s a huge honor for me. I know Tim would be happy. We would have a few laughs about it. It is certainly very high on my list of honors that I have obtained.
In 2017, the PGA of America presented Dorman with the Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism. A year later, Dorman won the Jack Nicklaus Memorial Golf Journalism Tournament Award. And in 2019, he received the Lincoln Werden Golf Journalism Award from the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association.
Appropriate as it was when Rosaforte won the inaugural award last year, it was fitting that Dorman would be the one to follow his longtime pal. They met in the early 1980s at the PGA Tour event at the Doral Resort & Spa and their friendship and career intersected like an interlocking handful.
“We are thrilled with the committee’s nomination of Larry as the recipient of the 2022 Rosaforte Distinguished Writer’s Award,” Kennerly said. “Not only were Larry and Rosie great friends throughout Tim’s illustrious career, but Larry is recognized as one of the great golf writers of all time. Her contributions to the game are well documented and it’s only fitting that Larry should follow Rosie as this year’s recipient of the award.
With their dark, full beards, they looked more like musicians than golf writers, usually sitting close together in the newsroom. But they knew how to make music on their keyboards and they didn’t shy away from getting to know the stars of the game.
“Tim would always introduce you to who he knew,” Dorman said. “Once you were hanging out with Rosie, everyone knew you were okay.”
Dorman, who lives with his wife Chris in California, vividly remembers the first time he met Rosaforte in the early 1980s. It was hard to forget.
“It was at the Doral Tournament earlier this week when I saw this big guy jogging around the course in a sweat,” Dorman said. “He had ignored six signs that said ‘golfers only’. I think, ‘Who the hell is this jogger?’ I know jogging is a thing in South Florida, but not on a golf course.
This guy turned out to be Rosaforte. They quickly struck up a friendship and became something of a Butch Cassady and the Sundance Kid of golf journalists. It was rare not to see one without the other, inside or outside the media room.
“It was an easy relationship,” Dorman said. “What I miss most about Tim are the afternoons when there was no pressure and we just played golf. Then he became the guy who wanted to know everything about the golf swing. That’s how Tim was – very curious about everything.
Like Rosaforte, Dorman’s career quickly took off. After covering golf for the Palm Beach Post from 1977 to 1980 — a Rosaforte beat eventually followed him from 1987 to 1994 — Dorman moved on to covering sports for the Miami Herald.
Dorman’s reputation was boosted when he was appointed golf editor for the National Sports Daily during its brief run in 1990-91. He returned to his native New York to begin the first of two terms as golf writer for The New York Times (’93-97).
Dorman then took a sabbatical from The Times to write a book about Ely Callaway, the founder of Callaway Golf. After a few months of working together, Callaway backtracked and hired Dorman as Callaway’s vice president of public relations. Dorman spent 10 years with Callaway, living in California, before returning to The Times to cover golf again in 2007.
Dorman and Rosaforte covered nearly 100 major championships together and took turns as president of the Golf Writers Association of America in the mid-1990s. When Dorman returned to the sport in 2007, Rosaforte’s career took off as became Golf Channel’s first golf insider.
“Tim wanted to master everything he did, just like he mastered television, and I admire that quality,” Dorman said. “Very few writers have been able to master TV, and he made the transition smoothly. And he was still the same guy once he went on TV, asking how you were doing.
Soon the question was turned around when reports of Rosaforte’s health issues began to trickle in late 2019. Anyone who’s had a loved one with Alzheimer’s knows heartache.
“It hit me pretty hard,” Dorman said. “It was very hard to take because I know he had a lot more left. It was like losing a brother, and I lost my brother, Frank, to ALS.
Dorman looked back on the fond memories Tuesday after Kennerly presented him with the award, fittingly so, in Tim Rosaforte’s media room.
All prices mean a lot. Some mean even more.
Remarks: The Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation to the late Tim Rosaforte on Tuesday for his contributions to professional golf in Palm Beach County. Former LPGA player Maria Marino serves as Palm Beach County Commissioner.