Williams leaves his mark on golf

September 26, 2012

To generations of music fans, singer Andy Williams was the voice behind the iconic "Moon River" and dozens of other hits from the second half of the 20th century.

To golf fans of a certain age, Williams will be remembered as more than a singer. He was the face behind a welcome respite from a long winter: the PGA Tour's annual early season stop in San Diego.

Williams, 84, died Sept. 25 at his home in Branson, Mo.

The Andy Williams-San Diego Open, forerunner to today's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, was a fixture on the West Coast Swing from 1968 to '88. Its roster of winners included such stars as Tom Weiskopf, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Johnny Miller.

Williams, in the mold of Jackie Gleason, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, bridged the gap of entertainment and golf. He was an avid golfer who still played into his 80s upon relocating to Branson, Mo., where he performed regularly at the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre.