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Whan, Cantlay and Scott take home prestigious GWAA awards

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LPGA commissioner Mike Whan and two-time PGA Tour winner Patrick Cantlay are being honored for perseverance while major champion Adam Scott is being honored for his commitment to helping media tell the story of golf.

The Golf Writers Association of America announced on Wednesday that Whan, Cantlay and Scott are winners of three of its most prestigious awards.

Whan is the recipient of the William D. Richardson Award for outstanding contributions to the game, Cantlay the winner of the Ben Hogan Award for excellence in overcoming a physical handicap or serious injury and Scott the winner of the ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award for his commitment to helping media tell the story of golf.

Whan, 54, took over a floundering women’s tour on the brink of collapse in 2010 and rebuilt it into the most robust global position of its 70-year existence. He took a tour that had shrunk to 23 events and $40 million in prize money in 2011 and grew it to 34 events and more than $75 million in total purses this year. He embraced global opportunities when critics told him foreign influence was holding the tour back. He led a doubling of the tour’s TV exposure domestically and overseas, a 50 percent growth in LPGA teaching members and a boom in the LPGA-USGA Girls’ Golf membership.

Whan 'turning up' women’s empowerment

As Mike Whan begins his 11th year as the LPGA tour’s commissioner with no plan on leaving, he’s “turning up the volume” on what he believes is the LPGA’s larger purpose - the empowerment of women.

“I want to express a heartfelt thank you to the Golf Writers Association of America for honoring me with the William D. Richardson Award,” Whan said. “It’s very humbling to be included in a list of past honorees that includes names like Bob Hope, Bob Jones, Arnold Palmer, and LPGA Founders like Babe Zaharias, Patty Berg and Louise Suggs.

“The LPGA is the ultimate team effort, so I hope all the players, teachers, and staff understand this award is really recognizing all of us. I’m honored to be a small part of this incredible LPGA family, and I’m proud of all that we are doing to leave the game even better for the next generation of golfers.”

Cantlay, 27, is being honored for overcoming a stress fracture that nearly derailed his career to win two PGA Tour titles and rise to No. 7 in the current Official World Golf Ranking.

“It’s an honor to be associated with Mr. Hogan and join a long list of honorees who have greatly contributed to the game,” Cantlay said. “While the injury process was certainly difficult, I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of in the process. I’m excited to be in the top 10 in the world and look forward to a long career ahead.”  

Scott, 39, whose 13 PGA Tour titles include the 2013 Masters, was honored for reflecting the most positive aspects of the working relationship between athletes and journalists.

“As athletes and writers, we do different jobs, but we all love the game of golf and its values,” Scott said. “To be included in a group with Ben Crenshaw, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Geoff Ogilvy and so many others who make this such a special honor . . . I look forward to thanking the GWAA in person at the dinner.’'