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Sunday, February 9, 2014

USGA Elects New Prez, Awards Contributors To The Game

Photos courtesy USGA
Thomas J. O’Toole Jr., of St. Louis, Mo., has been elected to serve a one-year term as the 63rd president of the United States Golf Association (USGA), which together with The R&A governs the game worldwide. The election of officers and the 15-member USGA Executive Committee also took place during the USGA’s Annual Meeting in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C.

As president, O’Toole, 56, assumes the leadership of the more than 300 professional staff and nearly 1,200 volunteers who serve the 119-year-old organization, and succeeds Glen D. Nager, of Washington, D.C., who served for two years as USGA president.

Bob Jones Award

The USGA announced earlier in the week that the late Payne Stewart will be the recipient of the 2014 Bob Jones Award. Stewart will be honored during a public ceremony as part of the festivities surrounding the 2014 U.S. Open Championship.

Presented annually since 1955, the Bob Jones Award is the USGA’s highest honor. It recognizes an individual who demonstrates the spirit, personal character and respect for the game exhibited by Jones, winner of nine USGA championships. Previous recipients of the award include many of golf’s finest champions like Francis Ouimet (1955), Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1957), Patty Berg (1963), Arnold Palmer (1971), Jack Nicklaus (1975), Ben Hogan (1976), Nancy Lopez (1998), Annika Sorenstam (2012) and Davis Love III (2013), as well as others who have contributed to the fabric of the game in other ways, including Richard S. Tufts (1967), Joseph C. Dey Jr. (1977), Bing Crosby and Bob Hope (1978), P.J. Boatwright Jr. (1993) and President George H.W. Bush (2008).

Known for his passion for golf, sportsmanship and philanthropy, Stewart won 11 professional events, including three major championships, during an 18-year PGA Tour career that was cut short by a fatal airplane accident in 1999, four months after his second U.S. Open victory. Stewart’s wife, Tracey, and their children, Chelsea and Aaron, will be presented with the USGA’s Bob Jones Award at a public ceremony in the Village of Pinehurst during U.S. Open week on Tuesday, June 10, at 5 p.m. EDT.

As part of the USGA Service Awards dinner, the following individuals were recognized:

Joe Dey Award

Presented annually since 1996, the USGA's Joe Dey Award recognizes an individual’s meritorious service to the game as a volunteer. The award is named for the late Joseph C. Dey Jr., who served as USGA executive director for 35 years, from 1934-69, and was later the first commissioner of the PGA Tour. The USGA honored Michael Cumberpatch, of Annapolis, Md., a contributor to the game on local and national levels for 20 years. Affiliated with the USGA since 1993, when he joined the Association’s Regional Affairs Committee, he has worked at 20 USGA championships, including the U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Mid-Amateur and Men’s State Team Championships. He currently serves as the official-in-charge of U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying for the Washington, D.C., region.

Herbert Warren Wind Book Award

Established in 1987, the Herbert Warren Wind Book Award recognizes and honors outstanding contributions to golf literature while seeking to broaden the public’s interest in, and knowledge of, the game of golf. Wind, who died in 2005, was the famed writer for The New Yorker and Sports Illustrated who coined the phrase “Amen Corner” at Augusta National. He is the only writer to win the Bob Jones Award, the USGA’s highest honor.

Author Jeff Silverman’s “Merion: The Championship Story” is the 2013 recipient of the USGA’s Herbert Warren Wind Book Award. This extensively researched and carefully crafted book explores every aspect of one of the most respected and beloved clubs in the game. Merion’s successful hosting of the 2013 U.S. Open, 32 years after it last hosted the championship, was the final chapter in Silverman’s work. The club has hosted more USGA championships (18) than any other, making it a rich subject for a work of this magnitude.

Green Section Award

Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an individual’s distinguished service to the game of golf through his or her work with turfgrass, including research, maintenance and other areas that positively impact the arena upon which golf is played. The 2014 recipient is Dr. Peter Dernoeden, of Milton, Del., a nationally recognized turfgrass researcher and educator and professor emeritus of plant science and landscape architecture at the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Over an extensive career, he led the design and management of turfgrass research programs focusing on weed and disease control, integrated pest management and sustainable fescue species.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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