One of the Northwest’s first true sports celebrities, Ken Still of Tacoma passed away on Sunday, March 19 due to kidney failure. He was 82.
His death came on a day when the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational was played in Orlando, Florida – the first PGA Tour event he won 48 years ago.
Still won three PGA Tour tournaments – the 1969 Florida Citrus Open Invitational, the 1969 Greater Milwaukee Open and the 1970 Kaiser International Open Invitational. He placed in the top 10 at major championships, too – fifth at the 1970 U.S. Open, and tying for sixth at the 1971 Masters.
Still spent 22 years on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour. He was in the top 60 on the tour money list for eight straight years, from 1966-73. His best year as a touring pro was 1969, when he qualified for the U.S. Team in the 1969 Ryder Cup at England’s Royal Birkdale Golf Club, an event that became famous for Jack Nicklaus’ concession to Tony Jacklin on the final day.
Ken won the Washington Open in 1966 and played in the Hudson Cup in 1983 and 1984. He played on the Champions Tour for 11 years. In 1995 he was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Section PGA Hall of Fame, and in 2014 he received the “Local Legend” award from the Northwest Golf Media Association.
A big sports fan and a big fan of sports media coverage, Ken rarely had any concern over coverage of his own career, and would rather make sure up-and-coming golfers get their share of the coverage, and that the public as a whole knows all about golf in the Northwest. His mentorship of the region’s players and concern for their careers made him a recognized figure throughout the golf community.
Five months after he graduated from Tacoma’s Clover Park High School in 1953, he turned professional.
Still continued to teach lessons at the club he first caddied at – Fircrest Golf Club – but cut back after he started battling health issues over the past few years.
Nearly a month ago, Still moved to the Orchard Park Health and Rehabilitation Center in Tacoma where he recently decided to forgo kidney dialysis.
No funeral arrangements have been announced.
RIP Ken Still My Mentor, Friend, Encourager, Constant Support, and down right GREAT MAN! I will always appreciate what you did for me!
— Michael Putnam (@Michael__Putnam) March 20, 2017
Sad day in the golf world. Ken represented WA golf with confidence and class and always brought a smile to my face. RIP Kenny still.
— Andres Gonzales (@Andres_Gonzales) March 20, 2017