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Famed Golf Writer Furman Bisher Passes


Longtime sportswriter Furman Bisher died Sunday at the age of 93. Bisher, who spent 59 years working for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, covered the Masters Tournament every year since 1950.

Over an illustrious six-decade career Bisher's subjects ranged from "Shoeless" Joe Jackson (in 1949) and the "Black Sox" scandal to baseball great Ty Cobb. He was the author of several books, including an autobiography of Hank Aaron.

Golf writer Dan Jenkins, who will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in May, once said of Bisher, "Furman has written better over a longer period of time than any other member of our lodge."

In addition to covering 62 Masters, ranging from champions Jimmy Demaret (1950) to Charl Schwartzel (2011), Bisher reported on nearly every Super Bowl and 56 Kentucky Derbies.

"He put more quality words on newsprint than any other writer in the last half of the 20th century," former Journal-Constitution editor Jim Minter said Sunday evening. "He never wrote a bad column."

"Mr. Bisher was as passionate about the AJC in his final days as he ever was," added AJC sports editor Ray Cox in a statement. "And he was always a perfect Southern gentleman. He was first and foremost a journalist but one whose ability to write far surpassed the skills of most of us who came into the business hoping to emulate him."

Bisher retired in 2009, writing his final column on the same typewriter he used in 1950. At his retirement, he said: "I just decided that's enough - I had been thinking about it a couple weeks. I wanted to get it done, get it over with, and as far as I'm concerned it's no big deal. I just won't be writing a column."

Despite his official retirement, Bisher continued to write for the Journal-Constitution and cover golf tournaments. He was all set to attend his 63rd Masters next month.

During his lengthy, remarkable career Bisher received numerous accolades, including the Red Smith Award for sports journalism and the William D. Richardson Award from the Golf Writers Association of America, of which he served as president from 1992-94. Last year he was an inaugural inductee into the Atlanta Press Club's Hall of Fame.

He was also president of the Football Writers Association of America from 1959-60 and president of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association from 1974-76.

Bisher was born November 4, 1918, in North Carolina. He began his career at the Lumberton Voice in 1940, and later became an editor at the Charlotte News before moving on to the Journal-Constitution.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 24, at 1 p.m. at Northwest Presbyterian Church in Atlanta.