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Longtime Arizona golf writer John Davis dies after battle with cancer

Longtime Arizona golf writer John Davis dies after battle with cancer

John Davis, a 2019 inductee into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame and sports journalist for nearly 36 years, died early Monday after a long battle with cancer.

Davis, 73, was a fixture on the Arizona golf scene for more than 20 years and witnessed firsthand the rise of the Phoenix Open. Phil Mickelson, a native of San Diego but a hero for Arizona State, became the face of the event, spearheading its massive growth into one of the world’s most highly attended sporting events.

And Davis was right there along for the ride. Over time, writer and golfer forged a friendship. A typical routine after a tournament round consisted of Mickelson signing autographs for 20 or 30 minutes, putting pen to paper for anyone and everyone who wanted one at TPC Scottsdale. It wasn’t an uncommon sight to see him and Davis later engaged in small talk, sharing a smile or two, catching up like two longtime friends.

Davis eventually stopped covering the tournaments, retiring in 2019, but he clearly missed the action. With many friends in the golf world, he could easily score a credential and would often swing by the media center to say hi to everyone.

At the Charles Schwab Cup in 2021, the first time Mickelson was eligible for the PGA Tour Champions event, the two caught up once again at Phoenix Country Club, with Davis well into the throes of his cancer fight. The day before the tournament started, as Mickelson took questions in the media scrum, Davis stood off to the side and waited, his face covering a sign he was taking precautions about his health but wasn’t going to sit around the house all day.

When Lefty was done, he turned and saw Davis and the two spent the next 20 minutes catching up, Mickelson telling him to hang in there and keep fighting.

“John waged a battle over several years with cancer, and his friends were amazed at how much he endured and how many times he bounced back from devastating news,” said Bob Young, the Republic’s long-time Suns reporter and colleague of Davis. “But we knew he was a tough guy. He survived a stroke by dragging himself over a span of two hours across his living room to reach a phone, which he dragged off of a table to call 9-1-1.

“And when I was covering the Suns beat, I came into the press work room to find John typing with his right hand on his laptop while holding his left hand in the air. I asked him what was up and he said a scorpion had stung him while he…


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