Monday, February 11, 2008

Jim Vernon Officially USGA President

Jim Vernon took office as USGA President over the weekend at an organization meeting in Houston. The USGA media crew is all over it. Ken Klavon - guest of The 19th Hole previously - had a nice write up of his acceptance speech and it has two key points.

First, a point - very direct - about Vernon's already stated philosophy on equipment rules:

“We are committed to basing the rules on scientifically supported facts and not anecdotes,” said Vernon.
The second, and one I had not heard previously, is kind of a shot at the previous administration's arrogance when it came to the USGA's views and how they chose to play their part in the game.
Vernon promised that the Grants Initiative would still remain a priority and that the USGA will continue to work closely with the PGA of America, calling the organization the doctors of the sport. “We recognize the USGA does not operate in a vacuum,” he said. “It does not operate the game as a monopoly.”
He also called for the USGA to work more closely with state and local golf associations.

I don't think that Walter Driver acted with that kind of mentality. The arrogance that came out of his mouth turned a lot of folks against the USGA. He seemed more concerned about business opportunities (Peter Bevacqua - whose job seemingly will expand under Vernon to a broader membership umbrella) and corporate sponsorship (Lexus, AmEx) than watching the final stroke of the Open Championship on the 72nd green!

I have said before that I have liked what I have heard and seen of Jim Vernon. This speech helps confirm that inkling. The Q&A was a little hokey, but that's ok.

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