Previous PGA Tour difficult man dies from COVID-19 complications

Jim King, who performed on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions in five decades, died Tuesday from COVID-19 difficulties. The longtime Jupiter, Florida, resident was 86.

King was known for his excellent ball putting and tricky-dude picture. At 6-foot-2 and 230 lbs, the previous boxer experienced his share of run-ins with rules officers and fellow golfers.

“He was just one of the toughest, baddest guys on this world,” longtime good friend Jeff Lewis stated Wednesday. “He was also the most courageous, intense, fearless, regimented unique I ever fulfilled in my everyday living. He generally experienced to have a strategy. From the time he woke up in the early morning right until he went to mattress, he had a program.”

Regardless of not picking up the game right until his early-20s when serving as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division in the U.S. Military, King grew to become an All-American golfer at Western Illinois. He also was a linebacker on the faculty soccer crew ahead of participating in in his initially PGA Tour occasion in 1960.

He performed in a mixed 255 occasions on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions, compiling 12 major-10 finishes when earning almost $370,000. His previous start on the 50-and-older circuit arrived in 2001.

A life span member of the PGA of The us, King established the 72-hole match file of 278 on PGA National’s Champion Program when he gained the 1982 PGA Stroke Participate in Championship from the again tees.

His most significant challenge was prospect, not expertise – he had comprehensive-exempt standing on both tour for only three seasons.

“I imagine I can hit the ball as effectively as any person,” King explained after finishing 3rd at the 1986 Senior PGA Championship at PGA Countrywide. “Ask Orville Moody or Gary Participant. They know I can hit the ball. If I can get in the doorway, I can get a tournament.”

Arrived at Wednesday, Participant reported this about King: “I normally acquired together good with Jim. I appreciated Jim. He could not have had the most talent, but he was a trier. He never ever gave up.”

King was a confirmed winner regionally. He twice received the Florida Open up (1971, 1976) and the Florida Senior Open (1985, 1986) and won a lot more than a 50 %-dozen PGA Tournament Sequence occasions.

Although serving in the Military, King took up boxing, seldom shed and appeared to have a profession in the sport. But Lewis stated King endured a intense eye damage when he was hit by a bottle in a bar combat and physicians told him he could lose his eye if he fought all over again.

King switched to golfing and realized to enjoy on a narrow Army system in which he concentrated on hitting the ball straight. As a professional, he had the chance to perform with celebrities this sort of as Dean Martin, Clint Eastwood, Mickey Mantle, Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano.

According to a story in the New York Instances, all through the second round of the 1973 USI Traditional exterior of Worcester, Massachusetts, King allegedly grabbed Peter Sesso, an formal, “by the throat in a threatening manner” right after King had finished actively playing 16 holes. He was subsequently suspended by the Tour.

“Who appreciates what would have transpired if Jim experienced uncovered how to participate in golfing when he was young,” Participant explained. “Life is a sport of ifs. What if Ben Hogan didn’t miss out on 30 majors in his key when serving in the military services? What if Lee Trevino liked the Masters instead of hating it – he would have won the Grand Slam? You hardly ever know in everyday living.”

King’s daughter, Marla Ribeiro, who usually caddied for him, mentioned her father had to defeat his panic of heights when he became a paratrooper. He produced absolutely sure she didn’t have the identical difficulty.

“He would have me jump off the next-tale making so he could catch me,” she mentioned. “He didn’t want me to have any concern of heights like he had just before he begun jumping out of airplanes.

“I became his caddie just so I could be close to him on the golfing course. I was quite privileged to be near with him all the remaining years of his everyday living.”

King is survived by his daughter, son-in-law Artur Ribeiro and grandchildren Daniel and Rosalina.

A assistance will be held Aug. 22 at 3-7 p.m., at Aycock-Riverside Funeral House in Jupiter.