Lloyd James remembered fondly by Bermuda Professional Golfers Association
The Bermuda Professional Golfers Association is recognising Lloyd James for his contribution to golf as part of its series profiling Bermudian professional golfers.
James made his name in cricket where he went on to become one of Cup Match’s most successful players. He was the top run-scorer in the Annual Classic for 18 years with 988 runs scored between 1955 and 1974, before Wendell Smith became the first batsman to reach 1,000 runs.
James’s highest individual score of 173 not out stood for 39 years before Janeiro Tucker of Somerset set the record with his knock of186 in the 2001 match.
After his Cup Match career ended in 1974, James found a new sport, golf, where he went on to make a name for himself, first as an amateur in the 1970s and then as a professional.
“Of course, Lloyd James made a name for himself as one of Bermuda’s greatest cricketers of all time, having held the record for most runs and the highest score in Cup Match for decades while representing the most celebrated St. George’s Cup Match teams led by Calvin ‘Bummy’ Symonds,” the Bermuda PGA said.
“But when Lloyd James retired from domestic cricket he turned his attention to golf with an unrivalled pursuit of excellence.
“Lloyd James’s work ethic in golf towards practice and playing the game of golf was obsessive to put in mildly. He was driven to succeed and he recognised that he had a unique style. But he owned it, learnt to perfect it and made it work.
“As the biggest player in any golf field, his size and power were an intimidating factor but he had to cultivate a method to better control the golf ball, which he did.”
Close friend and fellow golf professional Kim Swan remembers the time spent with James on the golf course. “Lloyd James was a friend, father figure and mentor rolled up into one,” said Swan, the secretary of the BPGA.
“He was a self-taught golfer and was not shy sharing with me the method he was working on that week.“
Swan continued: “Lloyd had a work ethic like no other when it came to golf and he would not think twice about playing 36 holes of golf and practising before and afterwards. We competed against all takers in very serious games with a lot on the line.
“He was highly respected for being well educated, wise and a real gentleman who freely offered advice to anyone who asked. And many did, as his reputation for being a caring schoolteacher and a successful but approachable entrepreneur in the tourism industry preceded him.
“These traits made his golfing prowess all the more outstanding in the eyes of others.“
As an amateur golfer in the 1970s, James was a finalist in the Bermuda Amateur Match Play Championship, losing to the legendary Louis Moniz. But two decades later as a professional golfer, James’s golf career would reach its zenith when he qualified and participated in the 1994 US Senior Open at Pinehurst No 2 Course in North Carolina.
It was a fitting accomplishment for an outstanding athlete who transferred his sporting excellence from one sport to another,“ the BPGA said.
“Through it all, it was Lloyd’s love for golf and his passion to strive for excellence that set him apart from other golfers. It was indeed a blessing to have had this Hall of Fame cricketer make his presence known on the world stage of golf as a senior.
“He hailed from a great era of Bermuda sports that created iconic men and women who excelled internationally.
James died in April 2019 at the age of 82.
Also recognised for their contributions to golf were Brian Morris in February, Walter King and Keith Smith in March, and Louis Rafael “Kid” Corbin in April.