Floyd re­calls late wife’s love

Four-time ma­jor cham­pion’s ca­reer took off af­ter his mar­riage to Maria.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS BRIEFING - By­j­eff shain Spe­cial to the Palm beach Post de­nis Passa / ap The As­so­ci­ated Press contributed to this ar­ti­cle

OR­LANDO — Ray­mond Floyd thought he knew ev­ery­thing there was to know about his beloved Maria.

For the bet­ter part of four decades, Maria Floyd was a fix­ture at her hus­band’s side. She was the sta­bi­liz­ing force who prod­ded Ray­mond to raise his game, col­lect­ing three of his four ma­jor ti­tles af­ter they mar­ried. The phrase “Maria and I” was as much a part of his ver­nac­u­lar as birdies and pars.

Then came the let­ters and cards that ar­rived af­ter she suc­cumbed to can­cer in Septem­ber.

“There were some things that she had done for peo­ple that I didn’t know about — peo­ple that I didn’t know she knew that well,” Floyd said at the Fa­ther-Son Chal­lenge, where he teamed with his son Robert to tie for 12th on Sun­day.

Floyd stopped play­ing tour­na­ment golf a few years ago, mak­ing the 2010 Masters his fi­nal ap­pear­ance. But the Fa­ther-Son’s re­vival — he won five of the first seven edi­tions with ei­ther Robert or Ray­mond Jr. — brought him back to the stage for a cameo with his off­spring.

For years, Floyd has said he had two ca­reers — the one be­fore Maria came into his life and the one af­ter they met.

When they mar­ried in 1973, Floyd was 31 and had spent four years stalled on five PGA Tour vic­to­ries. His next nine sea­sons pro­duced 13 wins, in­clud­ing the 1976 Masters and 1982 PGA Cham­pi­onship.

Still to come was the 1986 U.S. Open ti­tle.

■ Love had a nice pitch shot on No. 18 and son Dru fin­ished off the birdie to cap­ture the ti­tle. The Loves teamed for an 11-un­der 61 in the fi­nal round and fin­ished at 23 un­der in the two-day scram­ble for­mat.

■ Jack Nick­laus and son Gary, who be­gan the day two shots off the pace, fin­ished four back af­ter a clos­ing 63. ELSE­WHERE Jo­hor Open: Ser­gio Gar­cia won the rain­short­ened tour­na­ment in Jo­hor, Malaysia, clos­ing with an 11-un­der 61 for a three-stroke vic­tory in the Asian Tour’s sea­son fi­nale.

Al­fred Dun­hill Cham­pi­onship: Charl Schwartzel coasted to a 12-shot Euro­pean Tour vic­tory in Male­lane, South Africa, fin­ish­ing at 24un­der 264.

Aus­tralian PGA Cham­pi­onship: Aus­tralasian Tour rookie Daniel Popovic earned a wire-to-wire vic­tory in Coolum, Aus­tralia, shoot­ing a 3-un­der 69 for a four-stroke win.

LAS VE­GAS —

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