Wester Receives Babe Zaharias Award


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ' Al Wester, a pioneer of golf radio broadcasting and supporter of the LPGA almost since the tours inception, is the recipient of the Babe Zaharias LPGA Journalism Award for electronic media in recognition of his excellence in covering the LPGA and womens professional golf.
Wester, better known as Big Al to his fans and colleagues, will receive the award at the Golf Writers Association of America annual awards dinner, April 9, at the Masters in Augusta, Ga.
Al Wester is a legend in radio, said LPGA commissioner Ty M. Votaw. His deep baritone voice has been illuminating radio waves for more than 50 years, and fans of the LPGA have been benefiting from his knowledgeable and insightful coverage for decades. He was a natural choice for the Babe Zaharias LPGA Journalism Award and joins what is becoming a distinguished list of recipients who embody the very best their respective fields have to offer.
Westers talent and diverse sports knowledge have allowed him to broadcast some of the most important sporting events of the past five decades, and golf has been an integral part of this history. In 1983, Wester founded the U.S. Championship Golf Network (USCGN), one of the largest radio golf networks whose broadcasts are heard over Westwoods Mutual and NBC Radio Networks. For years, USCGN has been solely devoted to producing network radio programming from tournament venues of the top professional golf events.
Wester has covered more than 330,000 rounds of professional golf in the United States and abroad. Many of those rounds have come at LPGA Tour stops, including The Solheim Cup, which Wester has covered since the events inception in 1990. He has also been a long-time supporter of the Safeway PING Presented by Yoplait in Phoenix, Ariz., which Wester has covered from his radio booth in the media center for 15 years.
He is a familiar sight at the LPGA majors as well, going back to his first U.S. Womens Open at Salem Country Club where, fittingly, Babe Zaharias was crowned champion.
That was my first womens tournament, and I was amazed at the athletic ability of Babe from the moment I saw her, said Wester. So, it is truly a great thrill for me to receive an award that was named after The Babe. I am both humbled by and delighted in receiving it. Ive received a number of awards in my career, and this is another instance of being honored to be in the company of such fine people'not only the awards namesake, but also past recipients like Jim Murray and Dick Taylor. I deem it one of the great honors of a broadcast career.
In addition to golf, Wester has made a name for himself in many other sports, namely college football and professional baseball, basketball and football. He spent 16 seasons, two of which were national championship seasons, as an icon in the broadcast booth of Notre Dame football games.
One highlight of years broadcasting NFL games was Westers play-by-play of the 1970 game between the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions. Westers call of Tom Dempseys record 63-yard field goal that won the game is permanently installed and played daily in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Other highlights from the last half-century of sports include play-by-play coverage of numerous World Series, Super Bowls, NFL Monday Night Football, the Indianapolis 500, Kentucky Derby, Olympic Games and 16 Muhammad Ali championship fights.
The Babe Zaharias Journalism Award was created in 2000 under the direction of Votaw and is presented annually to both a print and electronic journalist. The 2002 award for print journalism will be announced at a later date. In conjunction with the award, the LPGA will donate $2,500 in each of the recipients names to the Golf Writers Association of America scholarship fund. Jim Murray, Los Angeles Times (posthumously), and Bob Rosburg, ABC Sports, were the first recipients of the Babe Zaharias LPGA Journalism Award in 2000, followed by Dick Taylor (posthumously), and Jack Whitaker, ABC, in 2001.