Tom Meeks, the man who was replaced by Mike Davis as senior director of rules and competitions for the U.S. Golf Association six years ago, called Davis’ ascension to executive director a “no brainer.”
Meeks, who stepped down after the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst and was replaced by Davis as the USGA’s top setup man, said Davis fulfills the three most important requirements for being executive director.
“He needs to know the people in the game, the administrators in the game. He needs to know the venues, the classic sites like Pine Valley and Pebble Beach, and finally he needs to know the rules. That’s the three most important ingredients to that position,” Meeks said. “They made a slam dunk appointing him to that position.”
Meeks also said Davis, who spent his USGA career running championships, will quickly catch on to the other parts of his new job, like the business of the U.S. Open.
“Mike is a very fast learner and he’s also smart enough to rely on other people,” said Meeks, who was the association’s top setup man for 10 years. “He will be the first to recognize any weaknesses he might have and he will learn fast to fill that void.”
Fast seems to be a Davis hallmark, like when he picked up the nickname “A.J. Davis” in the mid-1990s.
“He helped me run the Senior Amateur in Arizona one year and we always asked for courtesy cars and we got Cadillacs,” Meeks recalled. “One morning we stopped to get a cup of coffee, when we got back in our car there’s this Cadillac going at least 20 or 30 over the speed limit flying by us. It was Davis.
“When I saw him I said, ‘You’ve earned yourself a new nickname, it’s A.J. Davis.’ That nickname has stuck with him for a long while.”