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Tributes to David Fay

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A collection of writers' takes on David Fay announcing he’s retiring as the U.S. Golf Association’s executive director:

Larry Dorman, New York Times – David Fay, whose 21-year tenure as the executive director of the United States Golf Association, the sport’s governing body, has been characterized by an encyclopedic knowledge of the rules, a wry sense of humor and decidedly populist sensibilities, announced in a statement Friday that he would retire at the end of the year . . . Fay drove many initiatives aimed at bringing the 116-year-old U.S.G.A. into the 21st century, including the successful staging of the United States Open at public golf courses and a 20-year effort to expand the sport’s global appeal by returning it to the Olympic Games.

Gary Van Sickle, Sports Illustrated – I have always been a big fan of Fay's. He helped change the perception of the USGA — as much as that's possible. Before Fay, the stereotype of a USGA official was an old-school, hard-lined, gruff blue-jacketed rules aficionado. I forget who once described USGA types as stuffy blue jacket-wearers with dandruff — probably semi-hilarious writer Dan Jenkins — but that unflattering image stuck for quite a while. Fay wasn't like that at all during his 21-year run as the leader. He was personable and passionate, an avid and pretty decent golfer who all but gave up playing the game due to the demands of his job. That's a sacrifice that did not go unnoticed.

James Achenbach, Golfweek – Fay is a brilliant, articulate man. We should have heard more from him over the years, but those pesky USGA presidents often consumed the spotlight. There were times when Fay appeared to be biting his tongue, sitting there silently and perhaps reluctantly while another USGA president tried to make sense of a game grown incredibly complex . . . Now he may take off his bow tie and fade away from the international golf spotlight. If this happens, if he vacates golf for some other pursuit, it’s our loss.

Sal Johnson, GolfObserver.com – Under Fay's administration growth went crazy as the USGA turned the tide going from a struggling organization to one flush with cash to the tune of over 200 million dollars. He did this with smart deals like changing TV partners from ABC to NBC in 1995 which seriously increased TV rights fees. Fay's administration also ushered in programs like the associated program, which filled the USGA coffers. On top of bringing in money, Fay and the USGA spent more on programs, thus gaining the USGA the reputation which they used in an advertising slogan of doing things 'for the good of the game.'