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The Tour Report

November 5 2012

7:37 PM

Flick loses battle with cancer


Legendary teaching pro Jim Flick died Monday at his home in Carlsbad, Calif., after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 82.

Flick, who was a native of Bedford, Ind., was inducted into the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame in 2011. Among the more than 150 PGA TOUR pros he has worked with are Jack Nicklaus and Tom Lehman, who won the Charles Schwab Cup Championship on Sunday.

Live Report Image
Jim Flick

Lehman said his instructor and good friend was on his mind as he shot a final round 65 on Sunday to win the Champions Tour finale, as well as an unprecedented second straight Charles Schwab Cup.

"The last hole, I know that he was probably watching today," Lehman said. "I felt quite certain that that was probably the last driver he was ever going to see me hit and I wanted to make it a good one. And the last 7-iron he will ever see me hit, and I wanted to make that a good one. And the last putt, I wanted to make that putt."

Lehman spoke to Flick prior to the final round, and Flick told him to "Be Tom Lehman." His student didn't make the putt but Lehman still won his seventh Champions Tour event.

Flick, who started playing golf at the age of 10, attended Wake Forest on a basketball scholarship. As a sophomore, he roomed with Arnold Palmer. He served in the U.S. Army from 1953-54 and then embarked on a highly successful career first as a club professional, and later as a teaching pro.

Flick taught golf in 23 countries. He became a PGA of America member in 1958 and received its Teacher of the Year award in 1988. He and Jack Nicklaus co-founded the Nicklaus-Flick Golf Schools (1991-2003). He also served as the lead instructor for the ESPN Golf Schools from 2003-05 and has served as the ambassador for TaylorMade Golf since 2006.

In 1999 Golf World magazine selected Flick as one of the top 10 teachers of the 20th Century. He contributed to or wrote  five books: Square to Square Golf (1974), Square to Square in Pictures (1974), How to Become a Complete Golfer (1980), Jim Flick on Golf (1997), and Swing Analysis by Jim Flick – Jack Nicklaus, Simply the Best (2007).

In a recent interview with Golfweek magazine, Flick said he was concerned with too many golfers trying to achieve a perfect swing.

"We've let the game be taken over by science," he said. "Golf is an art form. The golf swing is an athletic movement. Becoming mechanical and robotic is the worst thing you can do."

Although Flick taught hundreds of professionals, according to a statement released by his family on Monday, he often said that the most rewarding of all his students were juniors.

“He cared a great deal about junior golf, I think that will probably be his legacy going forward,” Lehman said. “We can honor his memory by doing something with junior golf.'”

From 1986-2005,  Flick was the director of instruction at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, host of last week’s season finale on the Champions Tour. Lehman frequently worked with him in Scottsdale and kept in daily touch with Flick.

“He's just a good man,” Lehman said. “If there's anything we could learn from him, if we all treated people the way he treated people, we'd be a lot better off.”

Details about a memorial service will be announced at a later date.

"Though he lived to teach," the family said, "Flick himself never stopped learning, and one of things the game taught him, he said last week, was that golf is not about searching for the perfect swing or working at golf – it’s about playing golf.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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