keith country singer and avid supporter of college golf dies

Keith, country singer and avid supporter of college golf, dies

Diamond Resorts Tournament Of Champions - Round One

Diamond Resorts Tournament Of Champions – Round One

Country singer Toby Keith died Monday after a battle with stomach cancer. Keith, 62, had 20 Billboard No. 1’s, including his first hit, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” the most played country song of the 1990s, and patriotic anthem “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.”

He also was a major philanthropist, often traveling overseas to play concerts for U.S. troops and raising money for pediatric cancer through his Toby Keith Foundation, which funded the OK Kids Korral, a 12-suite home for families whose kids are undergoing cancer treatments in Oklahoma City.

One of Keith’s big vehicles for his charity was golf.

Keith, a frequent competitor on the celebrity circuit over the years, co-owned Belmar Golf Club in Norman, Oklahoma, site of his annual Toby Keith and Friends Golf Classic, which was played for the 19th time last year. He also hosted a women’s college golf tournament at Belmar, the Schooner Fall Classic.

Baylor head women’s golf coach Jay Goble, whose Bears won the Schooner in 2020, remembers the “amazing parties” that Keith and his wife, Tricia, would host for teams at their home in Moore, Oklahoma.

“You could not find a person at that party enjoying themselves more than Toby was, and I will never forget that,” Goble said. “He was playing games with the participants, singing karaoke with them and just overall having a great time with everybody he came in contact with.”

Even while he was battling cancer, Keith was on hand for last fall’s Schooner trophy presentation, where he handed Wake Forest one of his signed guitars.

Keith also loved the University of Oklahoma, especially Sooner sports. After the Oklahoma men’s golf team won the 2017 NCAA Championship, Keith joined them back home for the big celebration.

Following Keith’s death, Oklahoma Athletics released this statement: “The OU Athletics family is incredibly saddened by the passing of our dear friend Toby Keith. It’s a profoundly sad reality to exist in a world where Toby doesn’t. He brought life and joy to every room he entered, and our hearts are dimmer today without him. An American icon and a stalwart Sooner. A superstar talent and a fierce friend of our program. We thank him for the unwavering support he always gave, his generosity as a human being and the countless smiles and memories he created here in Oklahoma and around the world.”

Keith worked in the oil fields as a kid and later played semi-pro football before getting his big music break and releasing his first record, “Toby Keith,” in 1993. Though he had many bigger hits, golfers may be partial to his tune, “S—ty Golfer.”

I’m a s—ty golfer, you can ask my wife.
I’ve been out there hacking every day of my life.
I got the shorts and all the plaid sweaters.
And new TaylorMade driver didn’t make me any better.

Keith’s family said he died “peacefully … surrounded by his family, and added, “He fought his fight with grace and courage.”


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