Ridley Elected as USGA President

By Usga News ServicesFebruary 8, 2004, 5:00 pm
FAR HILLS, N.J. -- Fred S. Ridley of Tampa, Fla., has been elected to serve a one-year term as president of the United States Golf Association. The election of officers and the full 15-member USGA Executive Committee took place on Saturday, at the USGAs Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla. Ridley will lead the professional staff and nearly 1,400 volunteers who serve on more than 30 committees.
 
An attorney, Ridley, 51, is a partner in the Tampa office of Foley & Lardner, an international law firm of more than 900 lawyers. Ridley is the second Foley & Lardner partner to serve as USGA president, following the late Lynford Lardner, who held that position in 1972-73. Ridley is a 1974 graduate of the University of Florida, where he was a three-time letterman for the Florida golf team, and a 1977 graduate of the Stetson University College of Law.
 
He began his professional career as assistant to the general counsel for International Management Group (IMG) in Cleveland, Ohio, from 1977 to 1980, before moving back to his native Florida to begin practicing law.
 
Ridley has had a distinguished career in amateur golf. He has competed in 15 USGA championships, including 10 U.S. Amateurs. He won the 1975 U.S. Amateur and earned a selection to the 1976 USA World Amateur team and the 1977 USA Walker Cup team. He was also named captain of the USA Walker Cup team in 1987 and 1989.
 
Interestingly, Ridley is the last Amateur champion to never have become a professional golfer. He has played in three Masters Tournaments and a U.S. Open, where he was paired with Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. He has a career-low round of 63.
 
Ridley also served as chairman of the Championship Committee, the group responsible for the conduct of all USGA competitions, for the past four years and has chaired the Amateur Status and Conduct and the International Team Selection Committees.
 
He and his wife, Betsy, have three children: Maggie, Libby and Sydney.
 
The other elected officers of the Executive Committee are: Walter W. Driver Jr. of Atlanta, Ga., and Paul D. Caruso Jr., of Helena, Mont., as vice presidents; James E. Reinhart of Mequon, Wis., as secretary and Emily R. (Missy) Crisp of Mill Neck, N.Y., as treasurer
 
Eight others were re-elected for the Executive Committee, while three individuals have been elected for a first term.
 
Returning members include: Craig Ammerman of Cherry Hill, N.J.; Dr. Lewis H. Blakey of Alexandria, Va.; James T. Bunch of Denver, Colo.; Mary Bea Porter-King of Kapaa, Hawaii; Cameron Jay Rains of San Diego, Calif.; Bruce C. Richards of Bellevue, Wash.; and James F. Vernon of Pasadena, Calif..
 
In addition, Fredric C. Nelson of San Francisco, Calif., has been re-elected to serve as general counsel to the Committee.
 
The three new members of the Committee are Irving Fish of Woodland, Minn., James Hyler Jr. of Raleigh, N.C., and Loren Singletary of Houston, Texas.
 
Retiring from the Committee are immediate past president Reed Mackenzie of Chaska, Minn.; Eric Gleacher of New York, N.Y.; and John W. Vardaman of Washington, D.C. Mackenzie was been a member of the Committee since 1992. Gleacher was been a member of the Committee for the past seven years. Vardaman was with the Committee for five years, the first four as its general counsel.
 
Fish, 55, is a founding partner of Fallon Worldwide, an international advertising agency with offices in seven major cities on four continents. A 1971 graduate of Hamline University, Fish remains a senior advisor to Fallon after recently retiring as its chief operating officer.
 
He began his association with the USGA as a volunteer for the 1983 U.S. Senior Open at Hazeltine (Minn.) National Golf Club. He became more involved during the 1991 U.S. Open at Hazeltine.
 
He and his wife, Katie, have two children: Patrick and Charlie.
 
Hyler, 55, serves as vice chairman and chief operating officer of First Citizens BancShares, Inc., and First Citizens Bank, a position he has held since 1993. A 1970 graduate of Virginia Tech, Hyler has been with First Citizens since 1980, first as chief financial officer for eight years and secondly as president for five years.
 
He was chairman of the Presidents Council for the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort and Country Club, a position he also holds for the upcoming 2005 Open at Pinehurst.
 
He lives in Raleigh with his wife, Natalie, and is the father of two children: Brad and Lori.
 
Singletary, 55, is vice president of corporate global accounts for National Oilwell. A 1971 graduate of the University of Texas, Singletary started to build a career in the oil business while spending six years in the U.S. Marines Reserves (1970-76). He was president and one of three partners who purchased LSI Specialty Electrical Products, an oil and gas service company, in 1998. LSI, in turn, was purchased in 2003 by National Oilwell.
 
He and his wife, Claudia, are both involved in amateur golf activities. Loren has been president of the Texas Golf Association since 2001, while Claudia serves as president of the Womens Texas Golf Association and is a member of the U.S. Womens Mid-Amateur committee for the USGA.
 
The USGA, golfs governing body in this country and Mexico, works closely with the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland to produce a uniform code of Rules of Golf that are observed worldwide.
 
The organizations most visible role, however, is played out each season in conducting 13 national championships, including the U.S. Open, U.S. Womens Open, and U.S. Senior Open. The other 10 national championships are exclusively for amateurs, and include the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Womens Amateur. Nearly 40,000 golfers entered USGA championships during 2003.

Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the Web.com, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


FALLING

J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

"Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via Golf.com). “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

"The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

"Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.

Class of 2011: The groups before The Group

By Mercer BaggsNovember 20, 2017, 9:00 pm

We’ve been grouping things since the beginning, as in The Beginning, when God said this is heaven and this is earth, and you’re fish and you’re fowl.

God probably wasn’t concerned with marketing strategies at the time and how #beastsoftheearth would look with a hashtag, but humans have evolved into such thinking (or not evolved, depending on your thinking).

We now have all manner of items lumped into the cute, the catchy and the kitschy. Anything that will capture our attention before the next thing quickly wrests said attention away.

Modern focus, in a group sense in the golf world, is on the Class of 2011. This isn’t an arbitrary assembly of players based on world ranking or current form. It’s not a Big Pick A Number.

There’s an actual tie that binds as it takes a specific distinction to be part of the club. It’s a group of 20-somethings who graduated from high school in the aforementioned year, many who have a PGA Tour card, a handful of who have PGA Tour wins, and a couple of who have major titles.

It’s a deep and talented collective, one for which our knowledge should continue to expand as resumes grow.

Do any “classes” in golf history compare? Well, it’s not like we’ve long been lumping successful players together based on when they completed their primary education. But there are other notable groups of players, based primarily on birthdate, relative competition and accomplishment.

Here’s a few on both the men’s and women’s side:

BORN IN 1912

Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
Feb. 4, 1912 Byron Nelson 52 5
May 27, 1912 Sam Snead 82 7
Aug. 13, 1912 Ben Hogan 64 9

Born six months within one another. Only a threesome, but a Hall of Fame trio that combined for 198 PGA Tour wins and 21 majors.


BORN IN 1949

Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
Sept. 4, 1949 Tom Watson 39 8
Dec. 5, 1949 Lanny Wadkins 21 1
Dec. 9, 1949 Tom Kite 19 1

Only 96 days separate these three Hall of Fame players. Extend the reach into March of 1950 and you'll get two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North.


BORN IN 1955

Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
Jan. 30, 1955 Curtis Strange 17 2
Jan. 30, 1955 Payne Stewart 11 3
Feb. 10, 1955 Greg Norman 20 2

Another trio of Hall of Fame players. Strange and Stewart were born on the same day with Norman 11 days later. Fellow PGA Tour winners born in 1955: Scott Simpson, Scott Hoch and Loren Roberts.


WITHIN A CALENDAR YEAR, 1956-57

Birthdate Player LPGA wins Major wins
Feb. 22, 1956 Amy Alcott 29 5
Oct. 14, 1956 Beth Daniel 33 1
Oct. 27, 1956 Patty Sheehan 35 6
Jan. 6, 1957 Nancy Lopez 48 3

A little arbitrary here, but go with it. Four Hall of Famers on the women's side, all born within one year of each other. That's an average (!) career of 36 tour wins and nearly four majors.


EUROPE'S BIG 5

Birthdate Player Euro (PGA Tour) wins Major wins
April 9, 1957 Seve Ballesteros 50 (9) 5
July 18, 1957 Nick Faldo 30 (9) 6
Aug. 27, 1957 Bernhard Langer 42 (3) 2
Feb. 9, 1958 Sandy Lyle 18 (6) 2
March 2, 1958 Ian Woosnam 29 (2) 1

The best 'class' of players Europe has to offer. Five born within a year of one another. Five Hall of Fame members. Five who transformed and globalized European golf.


WITHIN A CALENDAR YEAR, 1969-70

Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
Sept. 12, 1969 Angel Cabrera 3 2
Oct. 17, 1969 Ernie Els 19 4
May 12, 1970 Jim Furyk 17 1
May 12, 1970 Mike Weir 8 1
June 16, 1970 Phil Mickelson 42 5

Not a tight-knit group, but a little more global bonding in accordance to the PGA Tour's increased international reach. Add in worldwide wins – in excess of 200 combined – and this group is even more impressive.


BORN IN 1980

Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
Jan. 9, 1980 Sergio Garcia 10 1
July 16, 1980 Adam Scott 13 1
July 30, 1980 Justin Rose 8 1

Could be three future Hall of Fame members here.

Editor's note: Golf Channel's editorial research unit contributed.