Tuesday, January 3

The Sudden Departure of Jim Huber

Jim Huber
JIM HUBER WAS A MEDIA MEMBER I wanted to meet when I knew I would be attending the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional. It was my first U.S. Open inside the media center. It turned out that Jim was seated in the row directly behind me, just a few feet away. We met, talked and shared a lunch table one day. He was as gracious in person as he came across on the TV screen in his role as an award-winning sports broadcaster and essayist.

Jim died on Monday just days after being diagnosed with acute leukemia. He was 67. He had been caring for his wife, Carol, who was released from the hospital on December 20, when his own health was suddenly in jeopardy. His family, friends and colleagues are shocked and extremely saddened by the sudden loss.

Back to my encounters with Jim at the Open and in the latter half of 2011. I had brought along his book about Tom Watson’s near history-making win at the 2009 British Open, FOUR DAYS IN JULY, which Jim autographed for me at Congressional. I learned we had something in common. Jim and I were with the same publisher (St. Martin’s Press-Thomas Dunne Books), including the same editor, for our golf books.

I stayed in touch with Jim after the Open. I wanted to do something on his book in this space, so in early July I sent him some questions. Less than an hour later the answers arrived in my inbox.

“You’re amazing, Jim,” I replied. “Fastest turnaround ever.”

“It’s the old paperboy in me, Neil,” Jim quipped.

You can read our Q&A here.

Later on, in late summer or early fall, I mailed a copy of FOUR DAYS IN JULY to Atlanta, where Jim lived. He autographed it for my brother and mailed it back, the $10 for return postage still clipped to the dust jacket.

While I only knew of Jim and his broadcast work until this past summer, there are many journalists, players and fans who knew him well through his long career covering golf and other sports. I’ll close with Jim’s main subject in FOUR DAYS IN JULY. Tom Watson said this in a statement at PGA.com:

“We will sorely miss Jim and his Huberization of the events, people, and places in our wonderful world of golf. His grand storytelling and the way he treated his fellow human beings are what I will remember most about this fine gentleman.”

−The Armchair Golfer

Read more:
Huber’s sudden passing is a sad blow (Augusta Chronicle)
Jim Huber remembered (PGA.com)

3 comments :

globalgolf said...

The "old paperboy" in Huber and his quick answers to your questions would have made him ideal for social media. What could have been...

globalgolf.com

Phil Capellle said...

I was sorry to hear of the passing of Jim Huber - his essays were among the very best, his love of the game shining through. I am glad to hear, Neil, that he was just the same guy he appeared to be on TV when off the mic. He will be greatly missed!

The Armchair Golfer said...

I agree, globalgolf. Jim was a social media participant. His Facebook messages about his sudden illness were apparently his last words to the outside world.

Well said, Phil. I agree. I'm glad I got to meet Jim.