Last week, sports fans everywhere, especially those living here in Georgia, lost a true legend when long-time columnist Furman Bisher passed away at the age of 93. His Masters reflections every April, take on the latest gridiron battle between Ga. Tech and Georgia, and annual Thanksgiving column were absolute staples of any Southern sports fan’s diet.
“He put more quality words on newsprint than any other writer in the last half of the 20th century,” Jim Minter, former editor of The Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution, told the newspaper. “He never wrote a bad column.”
Bisher started with the Atlanta Constitution in 1950 as a reporter, and by the end of his long, illustrious career had garnered Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame, International Golf Writers Hall of Fame, and National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame accolades, as well as the Red Smith Award for contributions to journalism.
Even with all his achievements, Bisher was still willing to share his time and encyclopedic knowledge of sports with a green freelancer like me. Eleven years ago this month, I was lucky enough to interview the legend for a Columbus (Ga.) Golf Guide cover story on the unprecedented amount of primetime golf events in the state of Georgia in 2001.
“No state in the country has that many golf tournaments of such proportion,” the preeminent pundit told me over the phone about a Peach State lineup that not only featured the Masters and two regular PGA Tour events, but also the PGA Championship, an LPGA Tour event, a senior tour championship and the two most prominent annual amateur golf competitions. “It’s about as full a calendar as I’ve ever seen in the state of Georgia.”
And, oh, the things Bisher had seen during his incredible sportswriting career! Thanks so much for your time, your inspiration and the many memories, Furman.