NORWICH, Vt. -- Jeff Julian, whose infectious love of golf and life and determination to continue playing through the ravages of Lou Gehrig's disease inspired a legion of pro players and fans, died from complications of the disease yesterday. He was 42.
Mr. Julian grew up on the golf courses of Vermont and New Hampshire, but would not confine his emerging game to manicured greens and lush fairways. Anywhere an open field called, including a farm around his childhood home, he would grab his clubs and create the holes as he played. Kettles became pins, apple orchards fairways.
It was that fondness for the game and free-spirited ways that captured the attention of fellow golfer when, in the fall of 2001, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
The next year, his speech slurred and his gait slowed by the degenerative disease, Mr. Julian played seven events on the PGA Tour.
In 2003, Tom Watson and his caddy, Bruce Edwards, formed Driving4Life to raise funds for the ALS Therapy Development Foundation. Edwards was diagnosed with ALS in January 2003 and died earlier this year. Mr. Julian was a driving force for the group, organizing events that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.
''The PGA Tour is saddened to learn of Jeff Julian's passing earlier today. For the second time this year, the Tour family has been diminished by the devastating effects of ALS," commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement.
''Just as with Bruce Edwards before him, Jeff's courage and good humor in the face of the terrible illness served as an inspiration to friends and fans everywhere. He was determined to make something positive out of his illness."
Right before the Masters in April 2003, Mr. Julian accepted the Ben Hogan Award from the Golf Writers Association of America. It goes to a player who remains active in golf despite a physical handicap or serious illness.
Mr. Julian had lost his ability to speak five months earlier. After losing strength in his arms and legs, he had been forced to stop playing golf shortly before he went to Augusta National for the award.
Tiger Woods, accepting his player of the year award for the fourth straight time, paid tribute to Mr. Julian and Edwards.
Mr. Julian had tears as he stepped to the podium. He typed letters into his hand-held computer and held it to the microphone. The computer spoke the words.
''Tiger mentioned my name. I made it."
Mr. Julian had also played on the PGA Tour in 1996. His best finish in 58 starts was a tie for 16th at the 1996 Buick Classic.
In 1990 and from 1997-2000, Julian played in 105 events on the Nationwide Tour. He won the 1997 Dominion Open. He also won the New England Open at Quechee Club in Vermont in 1995
Mr. Julian leaves his wife, Kimberly, whom he met at the 2000 Ozarks Open. They have two sons, Keegan and Tyler.
A memorial gathering will be held Sunday in Hanover, N.H.