Although he nearly captured Rookie-of-the-Year honors on the PGA Tour in 1958, Tony Lema of San Leandro, CA struggled for five grueling years before a major breakout in the fall of 1962. Celebrating his first PGA Tour victory at the Orange County Open, the handsome, former Marine with a “playboy” reputation became know as Champagne Tony when he uncorked bottles of champagne for the press. Find out about the changes he made in his golf game and in his life as he quickly became one of the top golfers in the world. Read about his exciting challenge to Jack Nicklaus in the 1963 Masters and his unbelievable streak in the summer of 1964 when he won four tournaments in a six-week stretch, highlighted by his triumph in the British Open at St. Andrews, Scotland. You will discover how he used a “borrowed putter” and a “borrowed caddy” to launch himself to the top in the world of golf. Read about his unbelievable winning percentage in the two Ryder Cup teams he played on in 1963 and 1965.
In a hotel room in Minneapolis, a successful PGA Tour player challenged Tony Lema to straighten out his life and become a top golfer on the Tour. That same year, 1961, a dejected Tony Lema visited with a former Masters champion and received advice on his putting that catapulted him to the top of the leaderboards across the country. On an airline flight from Dallas to San Francisco, Tony met someone who had the biggest impact on his game and on his life. Enjoy reading about Champagne Tony Lema’s exciting journey from boyhood to one of the tour’s most respected players.
"He was a very special man. It's incredible to think what he might have accomplished. He was a talent and everyone knew it. He had a little bit of a temper, maybe, but he had a great personality. People loved him."
Tom Place - Cleveland Plain Dealer