For the past 25 years, I’ve been proud to work hand-in-hand with the USGA to promote the traditions of golf and to encourage more people to enjoy our favorite game. I like to think that this work has been good for the game and for those who play it. And I’m delighted to tell you that our partnership is strong and is continuing.
Yes, I have had a difference of opinion with the USGA over the issue of non-conforming driving clubs. I feel strongly on this issue and I have not changed my position.
I especially feel that it is imperative for the health and vitality of the game that the USGA and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews reconcile their differences on this issue. I have had several face-to-face conversations with the USGA on these matters, including one at the USGA’s Research & Test Center in Far Hills, N.J.
It is important to remember that my disagreement with the USGA is a respectful one, among friends. We’ll keep looking to find common ground and I feel confident that we will do so. In the meantime, we agree on just about every other issue of importance to the game of golf. Most of all, we share a deep love for the game and a commitment to making it a great experience for everybody who plays.
I have been the volunteer National Chairman of the USGA Members Program since its inception in December 1975, and the USGA has asked me to continue in this role. I signed up President Gerald Ford as our first member during a White House ceremony. Today, more than 900,000 golfers carry a USGA membership card. I won’t promise to serve another 25 years, but I plan to sit in this chair for many years to come and work to increase the number of USGA Members.
I value my partnership with the USGA and support fully its efforts in such areas as turfgrass research, the “Spirit of the Game” etiquette initiative, and especially those programs that introduce young people to the game, reach out to the disabled and preserve the role of the caddie. I look forward to continuing our common effort on behalf of golfers everywhere for many more years to come.