Driver Selected to Serve as USGA President


USGAFAR HILLS, N.J. -- Walter W. Driver Jr., 60, of Atlanta, Ga., has been elected to serve a one-year term as president of the United States Golf Association, heading the Associations professional staff and nearly 1,400 volunteers who serve on more than 30 committees. The election of officers and the full Executive Committee took place Feb. 4 at the USGAs Annual Meeting in Atlanta. All are volunteer positions.
Driver replaces Fred S. Ridley of Tampa, Fla., who completed the second of his one-year terms as president. Ridley retired from the Executive Committee following 12 years of service, including four years as chairman of the Championship Committee (2000-03), the group responsible for the conduct of all USGA competitions.
Driver recently resigned his professional job after six years as chairman and chief executive of King & Spalding, an international law firm with more than 800 lawyers, where he worked since 1970. Late in January, he began his new position as chairman, Southeast, of Goldman, Sachs and Co., a leading global investment banking and securities firm.
He is a 1967 graduate of Stanford University and a 1970 graduate of the University of Texas Law School. He began his service to the Executive Committee as general counsel in 1997 and was named to the Committee two years later. He served two years as treasurer and the last four years as vice president.
A competitive golfer, he earned three letters at Stanford and more recently qualified for the 1982 and 1984 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships. He and his wife, Bettie, have three adult children: Eleanor, Anna and Walter.
The other elected officers of the Executive Committee are: James E. Reinhart of Mequon, Wis., and James F. Vernon of Pasadena, Calif., as vice presidents; Emily R. (Missy) Crisp of Mill Neck, N.Y., as secretary; and Fredric C. Nelson of San Francisco, Calif., as treasurer. Nelson served as general counsel for the past three years.
Besides Nelson, the three other new members of the Executive Committee are William M. Lewis Jr. of New York, N.Y.; Pat McKinney of Charleston, S.C.; and Steve Smyers of Lakeland, Fla.
Lewis, 49, is the Co-Chairman of Investment Banking at Lazard Ltd. in New York City. Previously, he spent 24 years at Morgan Stanley following his graduation from Harvard University and Harvard Business School. He is an avid golfer and is active in a wide array of volunteer endeavors including involvement in the New York City Fund for Public Schools, the American Museum of Natural History, the Cancer Research Institute, Phillips Andover Academy and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He also served as treasurer of the National Urban League.
McKinney, 55, is a successful developer of golf course communities and is the immediate past president of the South Carolina Golf Association. He is a single-digit handicap golfer and has served on the USGAs Mid-Amateur Championship Committee since 2000. McKinneys civic resume includes service on the South Carolina Board of Education and Board Membership at Furman University.
Smyers, 51, is a well-known golf course architect whose works include Old Memorial in Tampa, Fla. He has served as a consulting member of the USGAs Equipment Standards Committee since 1999. He was a member of the University of Florida golf team and has competed in 17 USGA championships and three British Amateurs. He and his wife, Sherrin, who competed on the LPGA Tour from 1984-1997, played a leading role in establishing a chapter of The First Tee, a USGA-supported facility, in their hometown of Lakeland, Fla.
The other seven returning members of the Executive Committee are: Craig Ammerman of Cherry Hill, N.J.; Dr. Lewis H. Blakey of Alexandria, Va.; James T. Bunch of Denver, Colo.; Irving Fish of Wayzata, Minn.; James B. Hyler Jr. of Raleigh, N.C.; Cameron Jay Rains of San Diego, Calif.; and Loren Singletary of Houston, Texas.
Glen Nager, 47, a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Jones, Day, Reavis and Pogue, has been chosen as the Associations general counsel. He is a graduate of the University of Texas and Stanford Law School where he was president of the Law Review. Among his clerkships was service in 1983 with Justice Sandra Day OConnor of the U.S. Supreme Court. He resides within the District of Columbia.
These individuals from diverse backgrounds possess a wide range of skills and will bring significant expertise to our Executive Committee to meet the evolving challenges facing the USGA, said F. Morgan Taylor, chairman of the 2006 USGA Nominating Committee.
Other Committee members who were retired along with Ridley at the Annual Meeting were Paul D. Caruso Jr. of Helena, Mont.; Mary Bea Porter-King of Kapaa, Hawaii; and Bruce C. Richards of Bellevue, Wash.
The USGA greatly appreciates the work that all of these retiring volunteers have provided to the Association, Taylor said. The rotation of Committee membership is a natural part of the nominating process and ensures that a number of qualified people have an opportunity to serve on the Executive Committee.
The 2006 Nominating Committee consisted of two USGA recent past presidents and three at-large committee members, who serve staggered three-year terms. This committee was comprised of Taylor (USGA President in 1998-99) and Trey Holland (President in 2000-01) as vice-chairman. The three at-large members of the committee are Christopher Liedel of Reston, Va., John ONeill of Southampton, N.Y., and Winfield Padgett Jr. of Dallas, Texas. ONeill and Padgett are former Executive Committee members. Liedel serves as Chief Financial Officer of the National Geographic Society located in Washington, D.C.
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 the 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.