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From the pro shop to winner's circle

PGA champion Loren Roberts is proud of his humble beginnings.

By Steve VirgenPublished: December, 2012

When Loren Roberts was asked his greatest accomplishments in golf, he didn’t point to his eight victories on the PGA Tour or his 13 Champions Tour wins.

Roberts takes greatest pride in his background, he explained during a session with the media for the Toshiba Classic (March 11-17) at Newport Beach Country Club. He took a road less traveled to find success as a golfer.

“I’m proud of the fact that I’ve had a pretty good dog-gone career for somebody coming out of the pro shop,” said Roberts, who won the 2012 Toshiba Classic by two strokes. “You don’t see kids now work a pro-shop job and then two days before qualifying school take a week off, play a practice round and tee it up. These kids are playing mini-tours and playing golf 365 days a year. I’m pretty proud of the fact that I was able to come out of the golf shop and establish a pretty good career.”

His connection to the pro shop at San Luis Obispo Country Club greatly helped the part of the game for which Roberts is most known – and nicknamed: Boss of the Moss. As a golf pro at the small club, he became elite with his putter.

“When it got to 2 or 3 p.m., no one really played any more,” Roberts explained. “The pro shop was literally 20 yards away from the putting green, and I could hear the phone with the door open from there. So I just kept putting and putting.”

No wonder Roberts has great confidence in his short game. Sharing his expertise with Toshiba Classic sponsors at NBCC, where he recently conducted a putting clinic, Roberts said perhaps the most important part of putting is speed control.

Roberts’ short game has helped sustain his longevity as a pro. He won his first PGA Tour event – the Arnold Palmer Invitational, then known as Bay Hill, in 1991 — 12 years into his career.

He said his love for the game also has helped in a career that has included two Ryder Cup appearances, as a player (1995) and as an assistant (2006).

Roberts continues to play on the Champions Tour and in the spring will be at the Toshiba Classic to defend his title.

When not competing, Roberts gives time to several charities, including First Tee. He also trains junior golfers near his home in Memphis, Tenn. Roberts said he enjoys working with young golfers, advising them that key to success in the game is to remain passionate about it.
“If there’s something you’re passionate about,” Roberts said, “it makes the rest of your life great.”

In being named to the Toshiba Hall of Fame, Loren Roberts joins an exclusive club of Toshiba Classic winners and Hall of Fame members.

Past champions include Nick Price (2011), Fred Couples (2010), Eduardo Romero (2009), Bernhard Langer (2008), Jay Haas (2007), Brad Bryant (2006), Mark Johnson (2005), Tom Purtzer (2004), Rodger Davis (2003), Jose Maria Canizares (2001), Allen Doyle (2000), Gary McCord (1999), Bob Murphy (1997), Jim Colbert (1996), George Archer (1995) and Hale Irwin (1998, 2002).

Steve Virgen is the sports editor of the Daily Pilot in Orange County and has been a freelance golf writer for six years.


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