Anthony "Tony" David Lema (February 25, 1934 – July 24, 1966) was a professional golfer from Oakland. He got the nickname "Champagne Tony" after he bought champagne for the entire press corps following his first PGA tournament win. 1 Lema died in a plane crash at age 32, just as his career was on the rise.
Tony was born February 25, 1934, to parents of Portuguese descent. His father died of pneumonia when Tony was 3, leaving Tony's mother to raise four children. He began playing golf at Lake Chabot municipal golf course and working as a caddy. He learned his skills from a variety of people: Lucius Bateman, who worked at a driving range in Alameda, helped develop Lema's swing. Ralph Hall, an Oakland police officer, taught him course strategy. Dick Fry and Bill Burch, the pros at Lake Chabot, taught him the square stance that made his game so consistent. 1
Links and References
- Tony Lema on Wikipedia
- Champagne Tony Has A Winning Look Sports Illustrated March 25, 1963