The Palm Beach Post's 50 Historic Moments in Palm Beach County sports

·26 min read

Charles Speer and Coco Gauff were born 101 years apart.

Speer wrote for the Palm Beach Post; E.R. Bradley once owned the Palm Beach Post.

Jack Nicklaus and JoAnne Carner both moved to Palm Beach County in the 1960s and combined to win 100 Tour championships as area residents.

Research over the last two months for The Palm Beach Post's ambitious project identifying 50 of the most historical moments in Palm Beach County sports has taken us to places we never knew existed.

From legendary figures such as Bradley, who was known as much for running a casino (the restaurant came much later) as winning the Kentucky Derby several times; and Speer, a renowned lifeguard, writer and world-class swimmer to Brooks Koepka and Lamar Jackson, modern-day icons in their prime. This list covers a wide variety of characters, sports, teams, facilities and, yes, even animals.

Palm Beach County's first high school state title came 102 years ago. And we all think of the area as a football mecca, but did you know Palm Beach County had state champions in swimming, tennis, basketball and baseball before Carver High School in Delray Beach became the first county school to win a state football title?

And on the footprint of the two most iconic baseball stadiums in Palm Beach County history - Connie Mack Field (where Jackie Robinson once played) and Municipal Stadium (where Hank Aaron trained) - sit a parking garage and a Home Depot.

For an area without a professional franchise and one that is a fraction of the size of many sports obsessed cities and counties in the country, Palm Beach's sports history is as rich as its sunshine.

Enjoy reading. Two months working on this project has been an education. I hope some of that knowledge is passed along to you.


HIGH SCHOOL


Palm Beach High boys swimming first champs

Charles Speer
Charles Speer

In 1920, Palm Beach High School boys swimming captured the county's first championship and the state's first official swimming and diving championship. Charles Speer, the county's first recognized sports star, set state records in the 40-meter freestyle and 500-yard freestyle. At 18, he held the 50-, 100- and 200-yard world records. Ed Roddy established the first 100-meter and 200-meter freestyle state records and Ed Sisson won the first diving state championship. The team won the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Palm Beach High tennis first girls state champs

Palm Beach's Nancy Morrison poses for a photo in The Palm Beach Post in 1943.
Palm Beach's Nancy Morrison poses for a photo in The Palm Beach Post in 1943.

Palm Beach High School’s girls tennis team defeated Miami Beach 5-4 in Orlando in 1944 to become the first county high school girls sports team to win a state championship. Nancy Morrison of Palm Beach won the individual singles championship. Morrison later played in Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and French Open, and was ranked as high as No. 15 nationally in singles and fourth in doubles. She is a member of the Rollins College Sports Hall of Fame.

Industrial High basketball first FIAA state title

Industrial High School, West Palm Beach, 1930
Industrial High School, West Palm Beach, 1930

Black high schools competed in the Florida Interscholastic Athletic Association (FIAA) from 1932 until the postseason tournaments were integrated in 1968. In 1944, Industrial High School boys basketball, coached by Ernest Lamb, won the county’s first FIAA state championship. Industrial, which became Roosevelt, went on to compete at a national tournament in Tuskegee, Alabama. Everglades Vocational in Belle Glade won the county’s lone girls basketball FIAA state championship in 1953.

Herb Score's six-pack of no-hitters

Herb Score set the American League rookie record for strikeouts in 1955 with 245. That record still stands.
Herb Score set the American League rookie record for strikeouts in 1955 with 245. That record still stands.

Before Mickey Mantle said Herb Score was "the toughest pitcher I've faced," Score threw six no-hitters and led Lake Worth High to its only state baseball championship in 1952. Score had an eight-year big league career with the Indians and White Sox. He was the 1955 AL Rookie of the Year and a two-time All-Star. He never was the same after being hit in the face by a line drive in 1957 and retired as a player in 1962.

Looking back at local legendre: Lake Worth's lost legend: Herb Score

Newman, Kennedy play first integrated game

Bob Rowan (right) of Cardinal Newman seeks to tackle Samuel Clark (left) from Kennedy High School in a 1967 high school football game.
Bob Rowan (right) of Cardinal Newman seeks to tackle Samuel Clark (left) from Kennedy High School in a 1967 high school football game.

In 1967, three years before federal courts ordered Palm Beach County schools to desegregate, legendary high school football coaches Sam Budnyk of Cardinal Newman in West Palm Beach and Ben McCoy of John F. Kennedy in Riviera Beach scheduled a game at Cooley Stadium. This historic event, which marked the first integrated high school athletic competition in county history, was broadcast live by WPTV-Channel 5.

Roosevelt's historic state basketball title

Floyd Andrews, shown here during his coaching career after Roosevelt High School was shut down, led the 1968 Roosevelt team to the state title in the first integrated state playoff. File photo
Floyd Andrews, shown here during his coaching career after Roosevelt High School was shut down, led the 1968 Roosevelt team to the state title in the first integrated state playoff. File photo

Florida held its first integrated state basketball tournament in 1968, allowing Black schools to play white schools. Coach Floyd Andrews' Roosevelt High team ripped through the regular season undefeated. Led by Rick Easley and Greg Lowery, the Maroon Devils then overcame all obstacles and brought home the state title finishing 27-0.

Carver closes with two football titles

Delray Beach Carver head football coach Roger Coffey celebrates the Eagles' second consecutive Class B state football championship in 1969.
Delray Beach Carver head football coach Roger Coffey celebrates the Eagles' second consecutive Class B state football championship in 1969.

Before Carver High School in Delray Beach shut down, the football team made sure it took along some trophies. Carver, led by coach Roger Coffey, won the 1968 and 1969 state championships, the first played when tournaments were integrated. The 1968 team was the first from Palm Beach County to win a state football title. In 1970, Carver was  merged with all-white Seacrest High to form Atlantic High.

Powerhouses formed through integration

Twin Lakes High School basketball player Charlie Swain celebrates with the Class AA trophy after returning home from the state championships in March 1971.
Twin Lakes High School basketball player Charlie Swain celebrates with the Class AA trophy after returning home from the state championships in March 1971.

Integration came to Palm Beach County schools in 1970-71 and cities such as Belle Glade, Riviera Beach, West Palm Beach and Delray Beach saw predominantly Black and white high schools become one. This also changed the landscape of area athletics, creating or furthering powerhouses. The immediate benefit went to Twin Lakes, the 1971 state basketball champions; and Glades Central, the 1971 and 1972 state football champions.

Kim Moran, Heather Koren breaking barriers

Kim Moran (37)
Kim Moran (37)

In 1987, Kim Moran, a 5-foot-7, 120-pound senior at Santaluces High, became the first girl in Palm Beach County to play football. She was a third-string wide receiver. At that time, there were fewer than 10 girls playing varsity high school football in the country, according to USA Today. Four years later, Palm Beach Lakes' senior kicker Heather Koren made all four extra points in a win over Forest Hill, becoming the first girl to score a point in the county's football history.

Anquan Boldin first Mr. Football

Jermaine Sanders (21) and Desmond Rickets (7) hoist Anquan Boldin after a Pahokee win in December 1998. Greg Lovett/Palm Beach Post
Jermaine Sanders (21) and Desmond Rickets (7) hoist Anquan Boldin after a Pahokee win in December 1998. Greg Lovett/Palm Beach Post

Anquan Boldin's distinguished career started at Pahokee, where he was the county's first Florida Mr. Football recipient in 1998. The next year, he won a national championship at FSU after being converted to receiver. During a 14-year NFL career, Boldin made three Pro Bowls, won a Super Bowl and was named NFL Man of the Year in 2015. Two others from the county have won Mr. Football: Pahokee's Antone Smith (2004) and Dwyer's Matt Elam (2009).

The Muck grows champions

Glades Central head coach Willie Snead is carried off the field by Jatavious Jackson (77) and Ernest McCoy (57) after the Raiders won the Class 3A state football championship by beating Pine Forest, 39-27, in 2006.
Glades Central head coach Willie Snead is carried off the field by Jatavious Jackson (77) and Ernest McCoy (57) after the Raiders won the Class 3A state football championship by beating Pine Forest, 39-27, in 2006.

Glades Central (3A), Pahokee (2B) and Glades Day (1A) won state titles in 2006, putting a spotlight on the area of the state known as "The Muck." This marked the first time three teams from Palm Beach County captured state championships in the same year. Glades Central, coached by Willie Snead, won its sixth title. Coach Leroy Foster led Pahokee to its third championship. Glades Day and coach Pete Walker won it all for the fifth time.

Big changes during pandemic

American Heritage players sit in assigned chairs during a water break in Delray Beach, September 8, 2020. Players are assigned chairs for practice and during games for social distancing. [ALLEN EYESTONE/palmbeachpost.com]
American Heritage players sit in assigned chairs during a water break in Delray Beach, September 8, 2020. Players are assigned chairs for practice and during games for social distancing. [ALLEN EYESTONE/palmbeachpost.com]

Like every district in the country, Palm Beach County schools were forced to adapt when COVID hit in March 2020. The biggest change after 2020 spring sports were canceled came in the fall when the majority of the county's sports teams joined with Broward and Miami-Dade counties and opted out of the FHSAA championships. Instead, the three counties held their own postseason tournament.


FOOTBALL

Miami Dolphins come to Boca Raton

Wahoo McDaniel played for the Dolphins from 1966 to 1968 but was better known for his professional wrestling career.
Wahoo McDaniel played for the Dolphins from 1966 to 1968 but was better known for his professional wrestling career.

The expansion Miami Dolphins held their first training camp in Boca Raton in 1966 after scrapping plans to train in St. Petersburg. Instead, they set up headquarters at St. Andrew's School. With George Wilson as their coach and Wahoo McDaniel among their more notable (and colorful) players, the Dolphins finished 3-11 in that inaugural season.

Anderson, Holmes Super Bowl MVPs

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Ottis Anderson (right) and Santonio Holmes (left) are the only players from the county to earn the highest individual honors in the Super Bowl. Anderson, a football and track star at Forest Hill High, was MVP of the Super Bowl in 1991, leading the Giants over the Bills. He is a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Giants. Holmes was the MVP of the Super Bowl in 2009 after his 6-yard game-winning TD catch with 35 seconds remaining secured the Steelers' win over the Cardinals. Holmes was part of two state championship teams at Glades Central and winner of two state track titles in the 4x400 relay.

Schnellenberger starts football at FAU

Then-FAU football coach Howard Schnellenberger walks onto the field at the school's new football stadium after flipping the switch to turn on the lights for the first time in August 2011. Post file photo
Then-FAU football coach Howard Schnellenberger walks onto the field at the school's new football stadium after flipping the switch to turn on the lights for the first time in August 2011. Post file photo

FAU's vision to start a football program in 1998 has resulted in the county's lone FBS program, biggest stadium and a bowl game. Under the direction of coach Howard Schnellenberger, FAU played its first game in 2001 and became the second-youngest program ever to receive an invitation to a bowl game in 2007, when it defeated Memphis in New Orleans. Schnellenberger's dream of an on-campus stadium was realized in 2011, his final year as coach. That stadium hosts the annual Boca Raton Bowl, which started in 2014.

Schnellenberger put FAU on map: Former FAU, Miami coach Howard Schnellenberger dies, coaching career included national title

College football HOF calls on Anthony Carter

Anthony Carter visits his old playing field at Suncoast High School in Riviera Beach in 2002, the year he was inducted into the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame. Post file photo
Anthony Carter visits his old playing field at Suncoast High School in Riviera Beach in 2002, the year he was inducted into the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame. Post file photo

Receiver Anthony Carter, who starred at Suncoast High, is a trendsetter in Palm Beach County when it comes to football. In 1978, he became the first player from the county to be a Parade All-America selection; he was a three-time All-America at Michigan; he was one of the first players to sign a multi-million dollar contract with the upstart USFL (Michigan Panthers); and in 2001, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Carter also was a three-time Pro Bowler while playing for the Vikings.

Palm Beach billionaire Stephen Ross buys Dolphins

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross walks off field after loss to Washington Redskins in Miami Gardens, October 13, 2019.  [ALLEN EYESTONE/The Palm Beach Post]
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross walks off field after loss to Washington Redskins in Miami Gardens, October 13, 2019. [ALLEN EYESTONE/The Palm Beach Post]

Stephen Ross, a developer who split time between homes in Palm Beach and New York, completed his purchase of 95% of the Dolphins in 2009 for $1 billion. Ross' ownership has been a major disappointment with just three winning seasons, one playoff appearance and no playoff victories. If now-former coach Brian Flores' claim that Ross offered inducements to lose games is proven, Ross could be forced to sell the team.

Rickey Jackson enshrined in Canton

Former New Orleans Saints player Rickey Jackson poses with a bust of himself after enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Former New Orleans Saints player Rickey Jackson poses with a bust of himself after enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Pahokee's Rickey Jackson is the only member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who played high school ball in Palm Beach County. He was inducted in 2010. The linebacker played 15 season in the NFL with the Saints and 49ers, where he won a Super Bowl. He also started on Pahokee's 1977 basketball state championship team. Many believe cornerback Lemar Parrish, a John F. Kennedy High standout in the mid-60s and eight-time NFL Pro Bowler, also belongs in Canton.

Lamar Jackson strikes the pose

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson poses with the hardware during a news conference on Dec. 12, 2016, at the New York Marriott Marquis after winning the Heisman Trophy.
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson poses with the hardware during a news conference on Dec. 12, 2016, at the New York Marriott Marquis after winning the Heisman Trophy.

Lamar Jackson is the lone player from Palm Beach County to win the Heisman Trophy and be named NFL MVP. The former Boynton Beach High dual-threat QB became Louisville's first Heisman winner in 2016 as a 19-year-old sophomore, and the youngest ever to win the award. He was drafted by the Ravens with the final pick of the first round in 2018 and was the league's MVP in 2019.

Jackson wins Heisman: Former Boynton Beach QB Lamar Jackson wins Palm Beach County’s first Heisman Trophy


BASEBALL

Jackie Robinson's first visit to West Palm Beach

Brooklyn Dodgers second baseman Jackie Robinson enjoys spring training with his son at Dodgertown in Vero Beach on Feb. 28, 1953, three years after Robinson played his first game in West Palm Beach.
Brooklyn Dodgers second baseman Jackie Robinson enjoys spring training with his son at Dodgertown in Vero Beach on Feb. 28, 1953, three years after Robinson played his first game in West Palm Beach.

Jackie Robinson's first game in West Palm Beach was March 15, 1949. Robinson's Dodgers faced the Philadelphia Athletics at Wright Field — later Connie Mack Field. The A's trained at the stadium that opened in 1924 and now is the site of a parking garage for the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. The game set an attendance record that was broken five days later when the same two teams drew about 7,000, nearly doubling the official capacity of the field.

Municipal Stadium becomes home of the Braves

Hank Aaron signs for a fan at the old Municipal Stadium in West Palm Beach. Post file photo
Hank Aaron signs for a fan at the old Municipal Stadium in West Palm Beach. Post file photo

With Connie Mack Field aging, Municipal Stadium emerged a few miles away in 1963 as the spring training home of the Braves and their star, Hank Aaron. Aaron became such a part of the community after purchasing a home in the area that the stadium's address eventually was changed to 715 Hank Aaron Drive. He lived in that home until his death in January 2021 at the age of 86. The stadium also was the spring home of the Montreal Expos from 1968 to 1972 and 1981 to 1997. It was demolished in 2002 and on that site now sits a Target department store.

Mayo Smith takes Tigers to title

Detroit Tigers manager Mayo Smith shown in 1968.
Detroit Tigers manager Mayo Smith shown in 1968.

Mayo Smith was 11 when his family moved to Lake Worth. As a senior at Lake Worth High, he was captain of the football and basketball teams, class president and named the Outstanding Boy Student in the county in 1932. But it was baseball where he left his mark later in life. Smith became a successful manager after playing just one year in the big leagues and led the 1968 Detroit Tigers to a World Series championship.

Dick Howser from triumph to tragedy

Royals manager Dick Howser and Tigers manager Sparky Anderson talk to the officiating crew during Game 2 of the 1984 ALCS at Royals Stadium.
Royals manager Dick Howser and Tigers manager Sparky Anderson talk to the officiating crew during Game 2 of the 1984 ALCS at Royals Stadium.

Dick Howser made a huge impact in the sports world before dying from brain cancer in 1987. Howser graduated from Palm Beach High in 1954, was a two-time baseball All-America at Florida State and was the Sporting News' Rookie of the Year in 1961. Howser managed the Yankees and Royals, leading Kansas City to the 1985 World Series title. He died less than two years after winning the World Series. Howser was a classmate of Burt Reynolds.

Jupiter, WPB save spring training

The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches is the spring training home of the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals.
The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches is the spring training home of the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals.

Roger Dean Stadium opened in 1998, the area's first state-of-the-art training facility. The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, which opened in West Palm Beach in 2017, then assured us spring training would remain here for many years to come, guaranteeing the presence of four teams in the county and a fifth, the Mets, in St. Lucie County. The Cardinals and Expos were the original teams in Jupiter with the Marlins replacing the Expos in 2003. The Nationals and Astros train in West Palm. The Marlins, Cardinals, Astros and Nationals all have won World Series titles since they began training in Palm Beach County.

Silver anniversary for stadium: Roger Dean Stadium was 'a field of dreams come to life' | D'Angelo

East Boynton's Boys of Summer

Post file photo
Post file photo

The East Boynton Beach All-Stars won the Little League World Series national championship in 2003 in South Williamsport, Pa., advancing to the final, where they lost 10-1 to Japan. The players became mini-rock stars, adored wherever they went. Second baseman Devon Travis (above) played four years in the majors with Toronto and was inducted into the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame in 2022.

Looking back on special team: The Boys of Summer ‘03: East Boynton all-stars won games and hearts en route to Little League World Series glory

BASKETBALL

Pembrook Burrows a JU legend

Pembrook Burrows helped Jacksonville University to the Final Four in 1970.
Pembrook Burrows helped Jacksonville University to the Final Four in 1970.

Pembrook Burrows is the first product of a Palm Beach County high school to play in the Final Four. Burrows started alongside Artis Gilmore on the 1970 Jacksonville University team that finished as the national runner-up to UCLA. Burrows scored nine points in his career at Roosevelt before his skills started to catch up with his height. He worked for the Florida Highway Patrol for 41 years.

Final Four : Pembrook Burrows: From nine points in a West Palm Beach high school to a NCAA championship run

NBA comes to Palm Beach County

Miami Heat president Pat Riley, left, and head coach Erik Spoelstra shown at the team's training camp at Florida Atlantic University. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)
Miami Heat president Pat Riley, left, and head coach Erik Spoelstra shown at the team's training camp at Florida Atlantic University. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

The Miami Heat have a history in Palm Beach County that includes Hall of Famer and longtime Jupiter resident Billy Cunningham as an original minority owner and conducting training camp here several times. In 1989, the franchise's second year, the Heat trained at Palm Beach State College, its first venture into the county. That tradition continued with camp also taking place at FAU, Palm Beach Atlantic University and Keiser University through the years.

NCAA champion Massimino returns to coaching

After leading Villanova to a national title, Rollie Massimino started the Northwood University (now Keiser) basketball program in 2006. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)
After leading Villanova to a national title, Rollie Massimino started the Northwood University (now Keiser) basketball program in 2006. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)

Two decades after leading Villanova to a national title, then 70-year-old Rollie Massimino returned to coaching to help start the Northwood University program (now Keiser) in West Palm Beach. Massimino arrived a year before the team's inaugural 2006-07 season and was the coach until his death in 2017, compiling a record of 227–48.

GOLF

Golden Bear makes move to county

A framed photo of Barbara and Jack Nicklaus sits in the office at his home in Lost Tree Village. [Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post]
A framed photo of Barbara and Jack Nicklaus sits in the office at his home in Lost Tree Village. [Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post]

Jack Nicklaus already had made a name for himself on the PGA Tour when he moved to Palm Beach County in 1966. Nicklaus won 14 of his record 18 major titles while living in the area and now Jack and Barbara have called North Palm Beach home for decades. Their greatest impact on the community has been their charities and the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which started in 2005.

Major golf events come to Palm Beach Gardens

This photo of PGA National was taken in 1971. The property later became JDM Country Club before becoming what is now BallenIsles.
This photo of PGA National was taken in 1971. The property later became JDM Country Club before becoming what is now BallenIsles.

The 1971 PGA Championship played at the original PGA National, now BallenIsles, was the first major held in the county. Jack Nicklaus won the event that was held about 7 miles from his home. The lone Ryder Cup played in Florida was at PGA National in 1983. Nicklaus was a nonplaying captain for the U.S., which defeated Europe. The PGA Championship returned to the area in 1987 and was held at PGA National. Larry Nelson was the winner. In addition, the Senior PGA Championship, one of five majors on the seniors tour, has been held in the county 28 times, nine at BallenIsles, 19 at PGA National.

JoAnne Carner 'almost a native'

Joanne Carner drops to the green after sinking a putt on the 17th hole as she wins a playoff against Sandra Palmer for the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament in suburban Philadelphia, Pa., on July 12, 1976.
Joanne Carner drops to the green after sinking a putt on the 17th hole as she wins a playoff against Sandra Palmer for the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament in suburban Philadelphia, Pa., on July 12, 1976.

JoAnne Carner moved to Palm Beach County in 1968 and many years later said, "I'm almost a native." Carner won two majors, her first the 1971 U.S. Women's Open. She finished her career with 43 LPGA tournament victories, currently eighth all-time, and became the 10th player inducted into the LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame in 1982. Carner, 83, has a long association with her home club, Palm Beach National, where she operated an academy. She lives in Palm Beach and Lake Worth Beach.

Honda Classic starts long run in Palm Beach Gardens

The Honda Classic is now held at PGA National's Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens.
The Honda Classic is now held at PGA National's Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens.

The Honda Classic moved from Broward County to Palm Beach Gardens in 2003, first being held at Mirasol before finding its new home at PGA National in 2007 under Executive Director Ken Kennerly. Since then, the tournament has provided area residents with world-class golf and the greatest in the game, including Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka, taking on the challenge of the Champion Course. Honda has been named the Most Fan First Event on tour twice. Andrew George recently was announced as Kennerly's successor.

Tough course a challenge: The key to taming the Honda Classic's Champion Course: Discipline, patience

Morgan Pressel, Lexi Thompson young phenoms

Morgan Pressel tees off on the second hole during the first round of the 2008 Mizuno Classic in Shima, Mie, Japan.
Morgan Pressel tees off on the second hole during the first round of the 2008 Mizuno Classic in Shima, Mie, Japan.
Lexi Thompson tees off from the first hole to start her final round of the Gainbridge LPGA tournament at Boca Rio Golf Club in Boca Raton on Jan. 30, 2022.
Lexi Thompson tees off from the first hole to start her final round of the Gainbridge LPGA tournament at Boca Rio Golf Club in Boca Raton on Jan. 30, 2022.

Morgan Pressel (left) was 12 when she became the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open. That record stood until 2007 when it was broken by Lexi Thompson (right.) Pressel graduated from St. Andrew's and has won twice on the LPGA Tour, including her lone major, the 2007 ANA Inspiration. She lives in Boca. Thompson lives in Delray Beach and has 11 LPGA Tour wins, including her lone major, the 2014 ANA Inspiration.

Tiger spurs influx of young PGA Tour pros to area

Tiger Woods celebrates during the trophy presentation on April 14, 2019, after winning the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. [Allen Eyestone/for the Augusta Chronicle]
Tiger Woods celebrates during the trophy presentation on April 14, 2019, after winning the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. [Allen Eyestone/for the Augusta Chronicle]

Tiger Woods' connection to the area started in 2011 when the 15-time major winner moved from Orlando to the area, settling on Jupiter Island. Woods since has become a fixture in northern Palm Beach County and in 2015 opened The Woods Jupiter, a restaurant in Harbourside Place. Although a few tour pros preceded Woods, an influx of young pros have followed, making northern Palm Beach County the golf capital of the world.

Pros flock to area: Golf mecca: Palm Beach County is ultimate place to live for pro golfers. Here's why.

Brooks Koepka wins first of four majors

Brooks Koepka celebrates with the Wanamaker trophy after winning the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage State Park in New York. Peter Casey/USA Today
Brooks Koepka celebrates with the Wanamaker trophy after winning the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage State Park in New York. Peter Casey/USA Today

Brooks Koepka was born and raised in Palm Beach County, and learned how to play golf mostly at Okeeheelee Golf Course. He played on the varsity at Wellington Christian as a sixth-grader and then at Cardinal Newman. Now, Koepka is a four-time major champion, capturing the U.S. Open in 2017 and 2018 and the PGA Championship in 2018 and 2019. An eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, he was ranked No. 1 in the world for 47 weeks.

Game of kings and presidents

President Donald Trump plays at his Trump International Golf Club in suburban West Palm Beach on Dec. 28, 2020. (Greg Lovett/Palm Beach Post)
President Donald Trump plays at his Trump International Golf Club in suburban West Palm Beach on Dec. 28, 2020. (Greg Lovett/Palm Beach Post)
President John F. Kennedy, shown with Argentina president Arturo Frondizi in Palm Beach in 1960, often golfed here during his presidency.
President John F. Kennedy, shown with Argentina president Arturo Frondizi in Palm Beach in 1960, often golfed here during his presidency.

Donald Trump (left) vowed to spend less time at golf courses if elected president, yet he played more while in office than any other president. And most of it was on his courses in Palm Beach County as he dragged the Secret Service around for more than 300 rounds during his one term. There was another president from Palm Beach with a passion for the game, John F. Kennedy (right), who played on the Harvard golf team and many believe to be the best golfer among U.S. presidents. Kennedy often played at Palm Beach Country Club in the early 1960s. For Trump, all that time working on his game while president paid off in March 2022 when he made a hole-in-one at his club in suburban West Palm Beach.

Trump's hole- in-one: Ernie Els was wearing his contact lenses when Donald Trump made his hole-in-one: 'I saw it clearly'

TENNIS

Miami Open starts in Delray Beach

Martina Navratilova celebrates her title in Delray Beach at the Lipton International Players Championships in 1985.
Martina Navratilova celebrates her title in Delray Beach at the Lipton International Players Championships in 1985.

The first Lipton International Players Championships was played at Laver's Tennis Resort in Delray Beach in 1985 and won by Martina Navratilova (women's singles) and Tim Mayotte (men's singles). That tournament has become the Miami Open and is a leading event on both the men's and women's tours. It now is played at Hard Rock Stadium. The tournament moved to Boca West in 1986 before starting a 31-year run on Key Biscayne and then moving to Hard Rock in 2019.

Williams sisters make Palm Beach Gardens home

Venus, left, and Serena Williams talk during a break of a doubles match at the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros in Paris.
Venus, left, and Serena Williams talk during a break of a doubles match at the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros in Paris.

Serena and Venus Williams moved to Palm Beach Gardens in 1990 when they were 9 and 10, respectively. They soon started dominating women's tennis and have combined for 112 singles titles (Serena with 73) and 30 Grand Slam singles wins (Serena with 23). While both have reached No. 1 in the world rankings, Serena is the all-time money leader followed by Venus.

Coco Gauff breaks through at Wimbledon

Delray Beach's Coco Gauff is the youngest player in Wimbledon history to qualify for the main draw. She was 15 and advanced to the fourth round in 2019 after defeating Venus Williams in the opening round. Gauff has said she is inspired by the Williams sisters. Gauff is the youngest player ranked in the WTA's top 100, No. 18 as of May 16 . In 2020, she was lauded for her stirring speech at a Black Lives Matter rally in her hometown.


OTHERS

E.R. Bradley dominates Kentucky Derby

From the archivesOn the heels of this year's Kentucky Derby, which took place last Saturday, one can't help but recall the late racehorse breeder Edward Riley 'E.R.' Bradley, who wintered in Palm Beach and was a Kentucky colonel whose Idle Hour Farm near Lexington, Ky., was the home of horses that won nearly 1,000 races, including four Derbies and millions in purses. He also owned and operated the now-gone white-clapboard and green-trimmed Bradley's Beach Club, located where Bradley Park is today, from 1898 to 1945 - an illegal gambling casino. The casino, along with its fancy restaurant, received its charter from the state to operate as a 'social club,' but the ultra-wealthy who attended might bet millions of dollars at the gaming tables there in the course of one evening amid a cadre of security guards. Authorities were suspicious of the place, but seemed to turn a blind eye. Bradley was generous with his money, supporting virtually every charity in Palm Beach County. A devout Catholic, he contributed much of the funds for the construction of St. Edward Church. Exceptionally tall, lanky and dapper, Bradley, who died at age 86 in 1946, preferred driving in a high-bodied Duesenberg so he didn't have to stoop to get in. Upon his death, his will decreed that his Beach Club be razed and replaced with a park.- M.M. CLOUTIER
From the archivesOn the heels of this year's Kentucky Derby, which took place last Saturday, one can't help but recall the late racehorse breeder Edward Riley 'E.R.' Bradley, who wintered in Palm Beach and was a Kentucky colonel whose Idle Hour Farm near Lexington, Ky., was the home of horses that won nearly 1,000 races, including four Derbies and millions in purses. He also owned and operated the now-gone white-clapboard and green-trimmed Bradley's Beach Club, located where Bradley Park is today, from 1898 to 1945 - an illegal gambling casino. The casino, along with its fancy restaurant, received its charter from the state to operate as a 'social club,' but the ultra-wealthy who attended might bet millions of dollars at the gaming tables there in the course of one evening amid a cadre of security guards. Authorities were suspicious of the place, but seemed to turn a blind eye. Bradley was generous with his money, supporting virtually every charity in Palm Beach County. A devout Catholic, he contributed much of the funds for the construction of St. Edward Church. Exceptionally tall, lanky and dapper, Bradley, who died at age 86 in 1946, preferred driving in a high-bodied Duesenberg so he didn't have to stoop to get in. Upon his death, his will decreed that his Beach Club be razed and replaced with a park.- M.M. CLOUTIER

Col. E.R. Bradley was a legendary Palm Beach casino operator who is better known nowadays for a restaurant on South Flagler Drive. But in 1898, Bradley purchased his first racehorse and eventually won four Kentucky Derbies (1921, 1926, 1932, 1933), three Preakness Stakes and two Belmont Stakes. Bradley was 86 when he died in 1946. At the time he owned The Palm Beach Post, Post-Times and Palm Beach Daily News. A decree upon his death labeled him "one of the most honored, esteemed citizens" in Palm Beach and the greatest contributor to Kentucky's horse breeding industry.

Dog racing comes to Kennel Club

The Palm Beach Kennel Club in West Palm Beach on the last day of legal dog racing in Florida on Dec. 31, 2020.
The Palm Beach Kennel Club in West Palm Beach on the last day of legal dog racing in Florida on Dec. 31, 2020.

The Palm Beach Kennel,  built in 1932, is of the oldest greyhound tracks in the nation. It went through four ownership groups before Pittsburgh Steelers owner Arthur Rooney and his five sons purchased the facility in 1970. Rooney died in 1988, leaving the track to his sons. After Florida voters passed an amendment that put an end to greyhound racing in 2020, PBKC has transitioned to simulcasting, poker and  dining and is hoping to have sports betting.

Farewell to dog racing: Palm Beach Kennel Club set to bid farewell to live greyhound racing

Auto racing in the Palm Beaches

A jet funny car starts its heat at Moroso Motorsports Park in 1999.
A jet funny car starts its heat at Moroso Motorsports Park in 1999.

From NASCAR to the IMSA Grand Prix to the area's first true track initially called Palm Beach International Raceway, the area has seen its share of auto racing. Palm Beach Speedway hosted seven NASCAR races from 1952 to 1956. The half-mile dirt track at the fairgrounds opened the 1952 NASCAR season. The area's first true track opened in 1964 off Beeline Highway. It was renamed Moroso Motorsports Park in 1982, after new owner Dick Moroso. The facility, known as Palm Beach International Raceway, held events from concerts to professional drag racing before being sold and recently shut down. In 1986, the IMSA Grand Prix of Palm Beach was held on a 1.6-mile course around the area that now is The Outlets mall in West Palm Beach before moving to the fairgrounds. The last race was in 1991.

Racing days are over: End of an era: Palm Beach International Raceway set to close in April

County gets own sports Hall of Fame

Mayo Smith, from left, Bob Balfe and Jack Nicklaus, the first inductees into the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame. 1984 file photo.
Mayo Smith, from left, Bob Balfe and Jack Nicklaus, the first inductees into the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame. 1984 file photo.

The Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame was the brainchild of former Palm Beach Post sports writer Chuck Otterson. The inaugural class in 1977 included three local legends: golfer Jack Nicklaus, baseball great Mayo Smith and journalist Bob Balfe. Now, more than 300 athletes, coaches, contributors and journalists are enshrined. The Hall's permanent home is at Roger Dean Stadium where the honorees names are displayed.

Polo-playing Prince Charles

Prince Charles competes in a polo match in Wellington in November 1985.
Prince Charles competes in a polo match in Wellington in November 1985.

The eyes of the world were on Wellington in 1985 when Prince Charles hopped on a pony to play polo and scored a goal to help his team, Palm Beach Polo, defeat a team of all-stars. But the crowd of 12,000 wasn't there just to see the Prince of Wales. Most were trying to get a glimpse of his wife, Princess Diana, and chants of "We want Di. We want Di," could be heard during the event.

Sports commission leads to Groza Award

The Lou Groza Award was established in 1992. The award is presented annually to the best collegiate place kicker in the country.
The Lou Groza Award was established in 1992. The award is presented annually to the best collegiate place kicker in the country.

In 1981, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission was formed to promote and market the county as a sports and sports tourism destination. The commission brings sporting events and activities to the county; each year those events are responsible for nearly 1 million visitors. That commission led to the creation of the Lou Groza Award in 1992. The Groza is presented annually to the best collegiate kicker in the country.

Pat C Rendezvous sets greyhound record

Pat C Rendezvous gets a limo ride back to the finish line after winning her 32nd race in a row to tie the world consecutive record at the Palm Beach Kennel Club in 1994. A sloppy track prevented the limo from being used the night she set the record.
Pat C Rendezvous gets a limo ride back to the finish line after winning her 32nd race in a row to tie the world consecutive record at the Palm Beach Kennel Club in 1994. A sloppy track prevented the limo from being used the night she set the record.

The Palm Beach Kennel Club was the center of the greyhound racing world in 1994 when the world's most famous greyhound, Pat C Rendezvous, set a world record with 36 consecutive wins. Rendezvous broke the mark of 32 straight wins — set by English greyhound Ballyregan Bob in 1986 — in front of 7,044 at the Kennel Club on June 4. The streak ended with a loss in the Champion's Challenge by 2.5 lengths to Picki Princess.

Jai Alai popularity peaks, dies

The jai-alai fronton in Mangonia Park in 1985.
The jai-alai fronton in Mangonia Park in 1985.

Jai Alai's popularity in Florida peaked in the 1980s, making the fronton in Mangonia Park the place to be for Jai Alai enthusiasts. The beginning of the end started with the International Jai Alai Players Association strike in 1988 that lasted three years. The local facility shut down in 1994 before being purchased by boxing promoter Don King in 1999. He has used it for his turkey giveaways.

Wellington high-goal polo capital of the world

Sunny Hale practicing in Wellington in 2006.
Sunny Hale practicing in Wellington in 2006.

Bill Ylvisaker was responsible for developing the Wellington area into the high-goal polo capital of the world. In the 1990s, a club with six fields, a main stadium and pavilion restaurant opened. Now known as the International Polo Club Palm Beach, the venue has hosted several high-goal tournaments, including the U.S. Open Polo Championship, along with other events like the National Field Hockey Festival, which has been held in Wellington 12 times and brings in more than 3,500 athletes. In 2000, Sunny Hale, the country’s top-ranked female polo player, became the first woman on a winning U.S. Open Polo Championship team. Hale died in 2017 from complications from breast cancer. She was 48.

Sunny : Sunny Hale remembered during WCT Legacy Finals at Grand Champions Polo Club

It's not a sprint, it's a marathon

The Marathon of the Palm Beaches takes place in downtown West Palm Beach. [Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post]
The Marathon of the Palm Beaches takes place in downtown West Palm Beach. [Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post]

In 2004, the man who was operates the Boston Marathon, Dave McGillivray, brought a marathon to West Palm Beach. The Marathon of the Palm Beaches started and finished at the Meyer Amphitheatre along Flagler Drive and the Intracoastal Waterway. The race, still run downtown, has turned into a weekend-long event consisting of a marathon, half-marathon, marathon relay and a 5K.

Marathon adapts during COVID: Downtown West Palm welcomes back marathon runners for December races

Winter Equestrian Festival comes to Wellington

Three-time Olympian McLain Ward and his speedster mount Catoki at the Winter Equestrian Festival at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington.
Three-time Olympian McLain Ward and his speedster mount Catoki at the Winter Equestrian Festival at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington.

The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center was founded in 2006 and has made Wellington the world’s premier equestrian destination. Among the more than 40 weeks of competition is the Winter Equestrian Festival, the world’s largest and longest-running equestrian sports event with more than 7,000 horses, riders from 43 different countries and more than 250,000 spectators.

More historical moments

Arnold Palmer wins West Palm Beach Open at the West Palm Beach Country Club in 1959. This tournament was a PGA Tour event from 1957 to 1962.

North Shore's Darryl Mitchell becomes the area's first basketball Parade All-America in 1978.

Bill Torrey of West Palm Beach named president of the expansion Florida Panthers in 1983.

The USBL comes to WPB in 1986 with Gold Coast/West Palm Beach/Palm Beach Stingrays lasting seven seasons.

Mission Bay Aquatic & Diving Center opens in 1986 and hosts some of the best swimmers and divers in the country before closing in 1991.

The 1994 NBA Finals features two of the greatest high school players in Palm Beach County history, the Knicks' Derek Harper (North Shore) vs. the Rockets' Otis Thorpe (Lake Worth).

The Evert Tennis Academy, founded by Chris Evert and her brother, John Evert, opens in Boca Raton in 1996.

Georgia's Mark Richt, the former standout Boca Raton quarterback, named SEC Coach of the Year in 2002. Richt repeated in 2005 and was the ACC Coach of the Year in 2017 while at his alma mater, Miami.

Andy Roddick, a Boca Prep graduate, wins U.S. Open in 2003 and goes to No. 1 in world in tennis.

Boca Raton's Jozy Altidore makes his professional debut at 2006 at the age of 16 with New York of the MLS. Altidore, 32, is a member of U.S. national team and had a distinguished career internationally.

Dwyer High graduate Daniel Berger goes 2-1-0 playing for winning U.S. Ryder Cup team at Whistling Straits in 2021. Berger was the 2015 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.

Yolanda Griffith, who played at PBSC and FAU, inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021.

Post staff writer Eric Wallace contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Sports history in Palm Beach County: ER Bradley, Lamar Jackson, Koepka