USGA presents service awards at annual dinner

By |  February 9, 2015 0 Comments

The United States Golf Association (USGA) presented its service awards during its annual meeting on Feb. 7 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.

Hosted by Golf World senior writer and television analyst Tim Rosaforte, the USGA Service Awards Dinner celebrates the leadership, selfless dedication and outstanding contributions of 19 individuals who have used their time and talents to serve and promote the game.

“Our honorees have all made significant contributions to the game of golf and the USGA’s commitment to its future,” says Tom O’Toole Jr., USGA president. “We are proud to recognize their contributions with this special evening and to celebrate their efforts during a time when the Association brings the golf community together.”

The Green Section Award, the Joe Dey Award, Ike Grainger Award and Herbert Warren Wind Book Award were presented at the event. The USGA’s highest honor, the Bob Jones Award, will be presented to Barbara Nicklaus at a ceremony during the week of the 115th U.S. Open Championship, which will be held June 18-21 at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.

Thomas J. O'Toole Jr., USGA President, center, along with Mark P. Reinemann, a member of the USGA Executive Committee, left, as they present Dr. David Cookson with the Joe Dey award during the USGA Service Awards Dinner at the 2015 USGA Annual Meeting at Waldorf Astoria in New York, N.Y. on Feb. 7. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

Thomas J. O’Toole Jr., USGA president (center), and Mark P. Reinemann, a member of the USGA executive committee (left), present Dr. David Cookson with the Joe Dey award.
(Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

Dr. David Cookson, Joe Dey Award

Presented annually since 1996, the 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 (1934-1969) before becoming the first commissioner of the PGA Tour.

This year’s honoree, Dr. David Cookson, is a doctor of internal medicine who has served as a rules official for nearly 90 USGA championships, including 25 U.S. Opens, and numerous USGA qualifying events. A USGA committee member from 1983 to 2011, he served on the regional affairs, nominating and senior amateur championship committees during his tenure.

Beyond has been a member of the Wisconsin State Golf Association (WSGA) board of directors since 1970. He served as its president from 1977-78. He also served on the Western Golf Association’s board of governors from 1977-98. Cookson received the President’s Distinguished Service Award from the WSGA in 1993, thanks in part to his contributions to the renovation of the University of Wisconsin Evans Scholars House in Madison. He was elected to the WSGA Hall of Fame in 2006.

William E. Fallon, a member of the USGA Executive Committee presents James R. Hansen, right, with the Herbert Warren Wind Book Award. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

William E. Fallon, a member of the USGA executive committee (left) presents James R. Hansen (right) with the Herbert Warren Wind Book Award.
(Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

James R. Hansen, 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 a renowned writer for The New Yorker and Sports Illustrated who coined the phrase “Amen Corner” at Augusta National GC. He is the only writer to win the Bob Jones Award, the USGA’s highest honor.

James R. Hansen’s “A Difficult Par: Robert Trent Jones Sr. and the Making of Modern Golf,” a reflection on the life and career of one of the most prolific, well-respected and transformational figures in the history of golf, is this year’s award recipient. Jones designed or redesigned nearly 450 courses in 42 states and 28 countries, including 11 courses that have hosted a combined 34 U.S. Opens. With the help and cooperation of Jones’ sons, Robert Jr. and Rees, who shared letters, documents and personal stories of their father, Hansen pieced together the life events and struggles that the British-born Jones encountered on the way to creating his legacy.

[Check out our Q&A with Hansen and get an exclusive excerpt of the Robert Trent Jones biography.]

Dr. Patricia J. Vittum, center, is presented with the Green Section award by Kimberly Erusha, USGA Managing Director, Green Section and William L. Katz. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

Dr. Patricia J. Vittum (center) is presented with the Green Section Award by Kimberly Erusha, USGA Managing Director, Green Section and William L. Katz.
(Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

Dr. Patricia J. Vittum, 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 landscape upon which golf is played.

The 2015 recipient is Dr. Patricia J. Vittum, of Amherst, Mass., a professor at the University of Massachusetts’ Stockbridge School of Agriculture. A recognized industry leader, she has conducted significant research on the biology and management of turfgrass insects and the effectiveness of biological-control methods. She is the principal author of the second edition of “Turfgrass Insects of the United States and Canada,” which is widely regarded as the leading publication on turf entomology. She also co-authored the “Handbook of Integrated Pest Management for Golf Courses.”

[Read more about Vittum in our December 2014 coverage.]

Ike Grainger Award

Established in 1995 as part of the USGA’s Centennial Celebration, the Ike Grainger Award recognizes those volunteers who reach 25 years of service to the association. Grainger served on the USGA executive committee and served as USGA president in 1954 and 1955.

This year, 16 individuals earned the award for their distinguished service to the USGA, including:

  • Barbara Simmons, Scottsdale, Ariz., Senior Women’s Amateur Championship committee;
  • Bo Links, San Francisco, Calif., Green Section committee;
  • Bob J. Thomas, Elmsford, N.Y., regional associations committee;
  • C. Layne Williams, Marietta, Ga. Mid-Amateur Championship committee;
  • Ed Thaney, Rochester, N.Y., regional affairs committee, Senior Amateur Championship committee;
  • Jay Fox, Little Rock, Ark., regional associations committee;
  • Jerry Pate, Pensacola, Fla., Green Section committee;
  • John M. Reed, Georgetown, Ky., Mid-Amateur Championship committee;
  • Judy Thompson, Kent, Wash., regional affairs committee;
  • Merilee M. Giddings, Peachtree City, Ga., Girls’ Junior Championship committee;
  • Peter C. Blaisdell, Keene, N.H., Green Section committee;
  • Randy Olmstead, Tulsa, Okla., Mid-Amateur Championship committee;
  • Renee M. Powell, East Canton, Ohio, Girls’ Junior Championship committee;
  • Timothy A. Gamso. Dallas, Mid-Amateur Championship committee;
  • William A. Westerfeld, Rochester, N.Y., museum committee; and
  • William Anderson, Charlotte, N.C., Green Section committee.

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