USGA president Glen Nager will leave the organization when his term expires in February after failed attempts to bring major organizational changes to one of golf’s governing bodies, according to a story in the January issue of Golf Digest.
In what was depicted by Digest as a power struggle between the golf guys and corporate guys, Nager wanted to create a “long-term chief-executive position” that would have diminished the roles of, most notably, Mike Davis, the USGA’s executive director, and Thomas J. O’Toole Jr., the incoming president.
Digest reported that Nager not only wanted O’Toole passed over as president, but also removed from the 15-person executive committee. The reason, according to Digest? O’Toole was “too close” to Davis, with whom he has worked for more than two decades. Under the proposed restructuring, Davis also would have had to report to a chief executive.
The move backfired, with Nager, who has been a part of the USGA for eight years, now describing himself as a “lame duck,” according to Digest.
It’s a stunning shift for the USGA, especially after it was at the forefront of some of the year’s biggest stories, from the anchored-putting decision to returning the Open to Merion to the new $1.1 billion TV deal with Fox.
As one unnamed USGA source told Digest: “I’ll tell you what, you’re going to see a 180-degree turnaround in terms of our relationship with some other organizations when Tom takes over.”