Graeme McDowell honored by golf writers for his rapport with golf media
The Golf Writers of America has named former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell as the winner of its annual ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award for being accommodating to the media, the association announced on Tuesday.
The GWAA also named Ken Duke as the winner of its Ben Hogan Award for remaining active in golf despite a physical handicap (in his case, scoliosis) or serious illness, and Rhonda Glenn as the winner of its William D. Richardson Award for consistently making outstanding contributions to golf.
Though McDowell went to college at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, he played primarily in Europe after turning pro in 2002. Since winning the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2010, he has joined the PGA Tour. He added a second PGA Tour win, at the RBC Heritage, last year, and owns eight European Tour titles.
Along the way, he has gathered a reputation as a refreshingly forthright and insightful interview.
''I take my relationship with the media very seriously,'' said McDowell. ''I'm pretty honest to a fault at times. It's very important to me. You guys give us exposure globally. You're a very important cog in the whole golf – and sports – machine. It's important – good, bad or ugly – to give you an idea of what's going on in my head and with my game.''
Duke, 44, earned his first PGA Tour win last summer at the Travelers Championship in his 187th tournament, a testament to his determination.
''I'm overwhelmed, so honored,'' said Duke, who still has the 16-inch metal rod attached to his spine that was surgically placed when he was 15.
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Forced to wear a back brace, he still played high school golf in Arkansas. He turned pro in 1994, played all over the world and on nearly every mini-tour, before finally making it onto the PGA Tour in 2004 when he was 35.
Asked what the iconic Hogan means to him, Duke beamed. ''A class act, probably the best to ever play the game,'' he said. ''He was a guy with an incredible work ethic. He put the time into learning to play the game.''
Glenn, 67, is considered the foremost authority on women’s golf and among the handful of books she has authored is ''The Illustrated History of Women's Golf,'' published in 1991. She also wrote ''Breaking the Mold,'' the story of Judy Bell, the first woman to be president of the U.S. Golf Association.
For 47 years before her retirement last summer, Glenn served in the communications department at the USGA, most prominently at the U.S. Women's Open, the U.S. Women's Amateur, and the U.S. Girls' Junior championships. But while Glenn remained very current, it is her grasp of history that has made her invaluable.
''Winning (this award) is a great honor, and also a surprise. While the award is for outstanding contributions to golf, I'm very aware that, more importantly, the game has made such an outstanding contribution to my life,'' said Glenn.
As a young girl, Glenn used to hit golf balls at a par-3 course in Palm Beach, Fla., where she would watch the iconic Mickey Wright practice. As fate would have it, Glenn later was paired with Wright in an LPGA Tour tournament and they grew to be close friends. It was Glenn who encouraged the USGA to house a Mickey Wright Museum at its headquarters in Far Hills, N.J.
Before establishing herself as the voice of women's golf, Glenn in 1981 was the first full-time national TV network female sportscaster when she began broadcasting at ESPN.
Duke, Glenn, and McDowell will be presented their honors April 9 at the annual GWAA Awards Dinner in Augusta, Ga.