The historian and author Jim Finegan has passed away, reports the Golf Association of Philadelphia. He was 85.
Finegan is best known to golfers for his golf travel books, the beautifully produced and eloquently written Emerald Fairways and Foam Flecked Seas (Ireland) followed by Blasted Heaths and Blessed Greens (Scotland) and finally, 2003's All Courses Great and Small (England).
In the Philadelphia area his Centennial Tribute to Golf In Philadelphia is the definitive account of that golfing mecca's contributions to the game.
**Gil Hanse, one of many who was inspired by Finegan's writings, offers this:
"Jim Finegan was an exceptional gentleman, as committed to golf as any person I have ever met. With a true flourish for both the spoken and written word, he could keep you hanging on his every thought and the payoff was always more than you could hope for. We will miss him dearly. A great voice for our game has been silenced, and on every golf course he ever graced with his presence it is a truly sad day."
From David Fay, former USGA Executive Director:
Jim's unbridled joy of all things golf was unmatched, and infectious.
George Peper, longtime Golf Magazine Editor.
No one loved the game and its myriad pleasures more than Jim, or knew better how to describe the joy golf can bring. And he was a fine player, despite being slight of built with self-described "wrists the size of a sixth-grade girl's." I recall watching him shoot 79 at Pine Valley, never having hit a shot of more than 200 yards. Jim never adapted to the computer but that was a blessing to all of us who had the frequent pleasure of chatting with him on the phone. I will miss those chats very much.
**Michael Bamberger with a wonderful remembrance of Jim Finegan:
As a voice in the game, both oral and written, Mr. Finegan's will never be imitated. There was no such thing as a casual game with him. If an opponent happened to hit a 4-wood from a fairway trap onto a distant green, Mr. Finegan might exclaim, "Can't be done any better!" To the escalating green fees at, say, Pebble Beach, he might say, "A scandal!" Once, playing the 16th hole at the Philadelphia Cricket Club, he stood on the tee and said, "Nothing less than the quintessential American dogleg par-4 left -- nothing less!" If he ever ended a sentence without an exclamation mark, it went unheard.
Mr. Finegan was nothing less than the embodiment of all that is great about a game that captures so many of us.