Roger Maltbie had two excellent careers in golf, the first as a player who won five PGA tour tournaments including in 1976 the Initial Memorial, the other as one of prime announcers for the NBC network. Born in Modesto, Maltbie grew up in San Jose and competed as an undergraduate at San Jose City College and San Jose State. He played full time on tour from 1975 to 1996, scoring his first victory in the 1975 Pleasant Valley Classic in Massachusetts and then becoming just as famous for leaving the $40,000 winner’s check in a bar. His upbeat approach to a game that frustrates millions became a trademark both as a pro and commentator. As a player he turned interviews into comedy routines, delighting journalists. However, he called his best finish in a major, fourth in the 1987 Masters, disappointing after sharing the third-round lead with Ben Crenshaw and then after shooting a 2-over par 74 to miss a playoff by one shot. Overall, Maltbie had top 10s in 55 tour events. In 1985, when taking the Manufacturer’s Hanover Westchester Classic, he finished eighth on the money list. As an on-course commentator, Maltie was nicknamed “The Golf Whisperer” because he stands nearer the greens than other reporters and must talk quite softly.
Inducted into the BAY AREA SPORTS HALL OF FAME – 2015
Narrative by Art Spander