By Bob Denney, PGA Championship Journal
Fred S. Ridley of Tampa, Fla., who concluded his term as the 58th President of the U.S. Golf Association (USGA) in February, is the recipient of the 2006 PGA Distinguished Service Award, the highest annual individual honor bestowed by The PGA of America. Ridley, 53, will be honored this week at a ceremony in conjunction with the 88th PGA Championship.
The PGA Distinguished Service Award honors outstanding Americans who display leadership and humanitarian qualities, including integrity, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the game of golf.
A native of Lakeland, Fla., Ridley enjoyed a distinguished career in amateur golf, capturing the 1975 U.S. Amateur Championship and is the last U.S. Amateur Champion to have never turned professional.
Among Ridley's duties with the USGA was serving from 2000 to 2003 as chairman of the Championship Committee, the group responsible for the conduct of all USGA competitions. He also has chaired the Amateur Status and Conduct and the International Team Selection Committees.
"Fred Ridley's contributions to the administration of golf have had a direct impact on the millions of amateur players throughout this country that enjoy this game," says PGA of America President Roger Warren. "His leadership also has enabled an even stronger bond to develop between the USGA and The PGA."
Ridley has competed in 15 USGA championships, including 10 U.S. Amateurs. He earned a selection to the 1976 USA World Amateur Team that competed in Portugal and the 1977 U.S. Walker Cup Team. He also was named the non-playing captain of the U.S. Walker Cup Team in 1987 and 1989.
"On behalf of our USGA committees, staff and thousands of volunteers around the country who care so much about the game, I am humbled to receive this prestigious award," says Ridley. "It's even more pleasing when I reflect on those individuals honored in the past."
Ridley served on the USGA Executive Committee from 1994 to 2005. He was elected treasurer in 1998-99, and vice president from 2000-2003, before his term as president from 2004 to this year.
An attorney, Ridley is a partner in the Tampa, Fla., office of Foley & Lardner, an international law firm headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis.
Ridley is a 1974 graduate in business and marketing of the University of Florida, where he was a three-time letterman for a Gators' golf team that also featured future Tour professionals Andy Bean, Gary Koch and Andy North. In 1977, Ridley graduated from the Stetson University College of Law.
He began his professional career as assistant to the general counsel for International Management Group (IMG) in Cleveland, Ohio, from 1977 to 1980, before moving back to Florida to begin practicing law.
Ridley was a member of the winning side in the 1977 Walker Cup at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, where he defeated Sandy Lyle twice in singles play. In 1987 and 1989, Ridley was afforded the highest honor for an amateur golfer, when he served as nonplaying captain of the U.S. Walker Cup Team.
Ridley also has competed in three Masters Tournaments and a U.S. Open.
Ridley and his wife, Betsy, have three daughters.
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