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2020 took some of golf’s greats from us, Part 2


One of modern golf’s most prolific and admired golf course architects, Pete Dye, Jr., died early last January at age 94. Dye was born Dec. 29, 1925, in Urbana, Ohio, and in 1943 won the Ohio state high school golf championship.

In 1944, at age 18, he enlisted in the Army and went to airborne school to be a paratrooper, but the war ended before he got a chance to jump in combat. While he was at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Dye worked as greenskeeper on the base golf course.

As Dye Recalled, “I played the [nearby] golf course at Pinehurst No. 2 for six solid months and got to know Mr. Donald Ross. Famous for designing No. 2. Ross, like Dye, is one of the most famous golf architects ever.

After his Army discharge, Dye enrolled at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, where he met his wife, Alice, in 1950. The two moved back to Alice’s hometown of Indianapolis, where Pete sold insurance before finding his true lifelong passion as a course designer in 1961.

During the course of his golf architecture career, Dye designed more than 119 golf courses in the U.S. and 11 in foreign countries. I have played only six of them. My favorite is Red Mountain Ranch Country Club in Mesa, Arizona.

Other recognized courses include TPC Sawgrass (Stadium), Harbour Town Links, Kiawah Island (Ocean), Whistling Straits, Blackwolf Run and Crooked Stick in Indiana.

In 2004, Dye was the recipient of the PGA Distinguished Service Award which recognizes individuals who display leadership, integrity, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the game of golf. A year later he was given the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award.

But among the many other honors and awards bestowed on Pete Dye, the one that stands out the most is his 2008 induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame by Australian golfing legend Greg Norman.

Peter Alliss, who died Dec. 5, 2020, at age 89, was a professional English golfer, controversial TV golf commentator, author, golf course designer and the “voice of golf” in the U.K. for 30 years.

From the time he turned pro in 1947 until he retired from golf in 1975, he won 31 tournaments around the world and played on eight European Ryder Cup teams.

In October 1958, Alliss won the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese Opens in three successive weeks.

Alliss began his broadcasting career in 1961 doing television work for the BBC at the Open Championship. He continued with the BBC, ABC Sports and ESPN as a golf analyst until 2015.

Alliss was accustomed to speaking his mind, no matter what, with a style as a golf broadcasting figure that often rubbed folks the wrong way.

Of his many famous quotes, I like this one about noisy tournament spectators: “Some of the fans there (seem) fueled by the local giggle-juice.” And on the golf itself, “It’s an enigma wrapped in a mystery impaled on a conundrum!”

Alliss was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012.

On Friday, May 1, 2020, my longtime friend Guy Wimberly died at age 81. Guy was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and moved to Albuquerque as a child.

He started out his golfing career by helping Highland High School win the New Mexico state high school championship in 1956.

He served four years in the U.S. Air Force, where he met his wife, Alice. He then went on to play golf for Coach Dick McGuire at the University of New Mexico, where he was a two-time NCAA All-American in 1963. In 1969, he became a PGA golf professional.

I first met Guy when he was co-head pro at Arroyo Del Oso golf course in Albuquerque. Guy and his brother, Herb, developed the Professional Golf Management Program at NMSU in 1988.

In 2006, Guy retired to Elephant Butte, where he was instrumental in developing Sierra del Rio Golf Course. He was honored with the Sun Country PGA Section’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001 and inducted into the PGA of America’s Hall of Fame in 2011.

Having grown the game selflessly for over four decades, Guy Wimberly was known as Mr. New Mexico Golf.

Dr. Charlie Blanchard is a licensed psychologist specializing in sports and leadership. Contact him at docblanchard71@gmail.com.

Charlie Blanchard