Former President Bush To
Receive 2008 USGA Bob Jones Award
December 18, 2007
Far Hills, N.J. - George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of
the United States, has been chosen to receive the United
States Golf Association's 2008 Bob Jones Award.
Presented annually since 1955, the USGA's highest
honor is given in recognition of distinguished
sportsmanship in golf. The Award seeks to recognize a
person who emulates Jones' spirit, his personal
qualities and his attitude toward the game and its
The Award will be presented to Bush on Feb. 9 at the
USGA's Annual Meeting in Houston.
|President Bush poses with 1987 USA
Walker Cup captain Fred Ridley (right) and USGA
President William Williams at the White House. (USGA
"I'm very flattered to receive this
award," said the former President. "Golf has
meant a lot to me. It means friendship, integrity and
character. I grew up in a family that was lucky enough to
have golf at the heart of it for a while. My father was a
scratch player and my mother also was a good golfer.
It's a very special game."
Bush, 83, has had a lifelong passion for the game of
golf, which he began playing as a youngster during his
family's summers in Maine. He improved to where he was
a mid-80s player in his 20s while in the oil business in
He is undeniably linked to golf and the USGA through his
grandfather, 1920 USGA President George Herbert Walker,
whose leadership and donation of a trophy inspired the
Walker Cup Matches, a biennial amateur competition between
players from Great Britain & Ireland and the United
Bush's father, Prescott Bush, president of the USGA
in 1935, was instrumental in establishing the USGA Museum
"I played with my dad quite a bit, especially right
after World War II when we got a little older," said
Bush. "He was still leagues above me and my brothers,
but he always wanted to get out with his boys and play.
"I have great pride in my father and his
contribution to the game. My grandfather and father
instilled in us the character of the game, the respect for
the traditions of the game and playing by the rules, and it
Late in his life, Jones credited Bush's grandfather
with helping him get his hot temper on the golf course
under control. During his presidency, Walker admonished the
teenager during a USGA championship, but then encouraged
him by telling him he had the talent to be one of the
game's greats if he learned more self-control.
A tribute to his interest in the sport, Bush is only the
second non-golfer or golf administrator to be chosen for
the Award. In 1978, the USGA recognized entertainers Bing
Crosby and Bob Hope.
"President Bush, along with his father and
grandfather, has long been part of the extended USGA
family," said Cameron Jay Rains, USGA Bob Jones Award
committee chairman. "His passion for the game, as well
as the core values and principles that underscored his
leadership of our country and guide his everyday life, are
emblematic of the characteristics that the Bob Jones Award
seeks to identify. The game and those who play it will
benefit greatly in the years ahead from President
Since retiring from political office, Bush has lent his
name to initiatives to help make the sport more popular.
Since 1997, Bush has served as honorary chairman of The
First Tee program, an initiative of the World Golf
Foundation to which the USGA is the biggest contributor. He
also is a long-time USGA Member, honorary chair of the USGA
Museum and Archives President's Council and an honorary
member of The Professional Golfers' Association of
"I've been lucky enough to play golf with him
many times," said CBS sports announcer Jim Nantz.
"He conducts himself on the golf course in the same
manner he conducts his life, with honor and integrity. I
might also add that he's the world's best role
model for a faster pace of play."
A native of Milton, Mass., Bush was 18 when he enlisted in
the U.S. Navy in 1942 and became a U.S. Navy bomber pilot.
He flew 58 combat missions in World War II, including one
in which he was shot down by Japanese anti-aircraft fire,
and earned a Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery.
Following the war, Bush attended Yale University, where he
was captain of the baseball team and graduated with Phi
Beta Kappa honors. He then worked in the oil industry in
West Texas before following the example of his father and
entering public service. In 1967, he began the first of two
terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing
Texas' Seventh District.
Bush was then appointed to a series of high-level
positions: ambassador to the United Nations in 1971;
chairman of the Republican National Committee in 1973;
chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People's
Republic of China in 1974; and director of the Central
Intelligence Agency in 1976.
In 1980, Bush campaigned for the Republican nomination for
U.S. president. He lost but was chosen as a running mate by
party nominee Ronald Reagan. As vice president, Bush had
responsibility in several domestic areas, including Federal
deregulation and anti-drug programs, and visited scores of
foreign countries. Bush served as vice president for the
next eight years. In 1988 he was elected president, serving
As President, he fostered a close working relationship
with Mikhail Gorbachev, which resulted in the end of the
Cold War and eventually the reunification of Germany. In
Panama, after President Manuel Noriega declared a
"state of war" with the United States, Bush
ordered Operation Just Cause, which ended with the arrest
of Noriega and his eventual imprisonment. And when Iraq
invaded Kuwait, Bush put together an international
coalition for Operation Desert Storm, which defeated Saddam
Hussein's army and liberated Kuwait.
On the domestic front, he signed several pieces of
landmark legislation, including the Clean Air Act and the
Americans with Disabilities Act.
Following an unsuccessful bid for re-election, Bush
authored two books -
A World Transformed
(1998, with Gen. Brent Scowcroft), on foreign policy during
his administration, and
All The Best
(1999), a collection of letters written throughout his
life. Bush also has been one of the nation's foremost
fundraisers for charitable organizations, visiting 56
countries and nearly all 50 U.S. states.
The former President leads humanitarian causes at home
and abroad. He and former President Bill Clinton headed up
fund-raising for the victims of the 2004 tsunami in South
Asia, and less than a year later, for the victims of
Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast of the United
States. Bush also was named the United Nations special
envoy for the Pakistan Earthquake Disaster.
He has raised tens of millions of dollars for the M.D.
Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and along with Mrs.
Bush, he serves as Honorary Chair of the cancer
organization, C-Change. He is the honorary chair of the
Points of Light Foundation, and he has served as chair of
the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship program and the National