GREAT AMERICAN TOURING PROFESSIONAL – TONY LEMA
Tony_Lema_headshot_newsletter

Long before Payne Stewart died in a plane crash in 1999, “Champagne” Tony Lema met the same fate in 1966. A winner of 12 Tour events, including the 1964 Open Championship at St. Andrews, Lema was likely on his way to a Hall-of-Fame career when tragedy struck. Flying from the PGA Championship to an exhibition event in Illinois, the plane on which Lema, his wife, two others, and the pilot were flying ran out of fuel and crashed, ironically, on a golf course.

 

Lema was born in Oakland, California, in 1932 and began playing the game as a boy at a local course. After a stint in the Marines, serving in Korea, Lema returned stateside and began his pro career as an assistant. He was good enough to join the Tour in 1957, but a partying lifestyle off the course led him to underachieve until 1962, when he got more serious about the game and began winning. He captured three events that year, and had his best year in 1964, winning four other events in addition to The Open.

 

In 1965 he was second on the money list to Jack Nicklaus, and teamed with Nicklaus later that year in the World Cup of Golf. In 1966 he had one victory to his credit before his untimely death at age 32.

Copyright 2014 United States Golf Teachers Federation, All Rights Reserved
US Golf Teachers Federation 1295 SE Port St. Lucie Blvd. Port St Lucie Florida, 34952 (888) 346-3290 www.usgtf.com
Back to USGTF Newsletter Previous Article: GOLF TEACHERS APPRECIATION DAY

Golf Teaching Certification

For more information on the United States Golf Teachers Federation
please log on to usgtf.com