Houston, Texas – Tiger Woods has won nine USGA championships. His most recent victory was the 2008 U.S. Open, and millions of viewers around the world watched Woods defeat Rocco Mediate in a tense 19-hole playoff at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, Calif.
Far fewer witnessed Woods’ first USGA championship victory, the 1991 U.S. Junior Amateur at the Bay Hill Club in Orlando, Fla. Nobody had a better vantage point for that significant occasion than Stan Grossman, who has been a volunteer member of the Junior Amateur Committee since 1982.
In this role, Grossman has been an effective ambassador for the USGA, welcoming generations of junior golfers to the USGA family. The USGA recognized his steadfast passion and loyal service by presenting him with the 2012 Joe Dey Award at its Annual Meeting on Feb. 4 in Houston.
“Stan has been an outstanding member of the U.S. Junior Amateur Committee,” said Reed Mackenzie, a former president of the USGA. “Stan has always personified the Association’s mission of promoting and conserving the best interests of the game, particularly among young golfers.”
Named for the USGA’s executive director from 1934 to 1969, the Joe Dey Award annually recognizes one of the thousands of volunteers whose contributions are integral to carrying out the USGA’s activities.
Grossman, of St. Louis, also served as a Rules official at both the U.S. Open and the U.S. Senior Open from 1996 to 2007. In addition to volunteering with the USGA, Grossman has played a key role with the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association (MAGA), which serves the St. Louis area, since its founding in 1992. He has been president of the MAGA since 1998.
“Golf has been just so good to me, and I love giving back to this game,” said Grossman, who will turn 80 this year. “It’s especially pleasing to know my name will be in Golf House, along with a number of close friends of mine who have won this award.”
A former baseball player who initially thought golf was “a sissy game,” Grossman discovered the appeal of golf as an adult. Later, he benefited from the mentorship of Dutch Harrison, who had 18 PGA Tour victories, and Hord Hardin, a former president of the USGA and chairman of the Masters Tournament.
As a longtime member of the U.S. Junior Amateur Committee, Grossman has provided a link between golf’s past and future. Although few of the players he has watched grew up to win multiple USGA championships the way Woods did, the bonds he has developed with the players are as permanent as the names etched on the trophies displayed at the USGA Museum.
One of the best shots Grossman has seen during his service took place on the 18th hole of the final match in the 1996 U.S. Junior Amateur. Shane McMenamy was 1 up to Charles Howell III, who hit a 300-yard second shot on the par-5 finishing hole at Forest Highlands Golf Club in Flagstaff, Ariz. Howell made birdie to tie the match.
Although Howell lost the championship on the first extra hole, the shot – as well as Howell’s respect for the game and its people – left an indelible impression with Grossman.
“Five years after that,” Grossman recalled, “I was checking into the hotel in Tulsa for the 2001 U.S. Open, and somebody tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and it was Charles Howell. He said, ‘Mr. Grossman, I want you to meet my new wife, Heather.’
“It’s those kinds of things that make this game so special.”