James Vernon Elected 2008 USGA President
February 9, 2008
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James F. Vernon of Pasadena, Calif., has been elected to serve a one-year term as president of the United States Golf Association. The election of officers and the full 15-member USGA Executive Committee took place Saturday (Feb. 9) at the USGA's Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas.
As president, Vernon, 58, will lead the Association's professional staff and nearly 1,400 volunteers who serve on more than 30 committees. He is the 60 th president of the Association, which was founded in 1894.
He begins his sixth year as a member of the Executive Committee, a term that has included two years as vice president of the USGA and four years as chairman of the Equipment Standards Committee.
Vernon is a past president of the board of directors of both the Southern California Golf Association (SCGA) and the California Golf Association. He currently serves on the board of directors of the SCGA Foundation. He started his volunteer work with the USGA as a member of the USGA Sectional Affairs Committee in 1998. He is a member of Lakeside Golf Club in Burbank, Calif., and the Monterey Peninsula Country Club in Pebble Beach, Calif.
Vernon is the owner of Frank Vernon Diamond Brokers and Wholesale Jewelers, a family business that was started under his father's name more than 50 years ago. The business has its offices in Los Angeles.
Outside of his golf activities, Vernon serves as secretary for the Diamond Club West Coast Inc., a member organization of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses. He received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and his law degree from Stanford University in 1972 and 1975, respectively. He practiced law for nine years before leaving his firm to take over the family diamond business.
The other elected officers of the Executive Committee are: James B. Hyler Jr. of Raleigh, N.C., and Cameron Jay Rains of San Diego, Calif., as vice presidents; Emily R. (Missy) Crisp of Mill Neck, N.Y., as secretary; and Fredric C. Nelson of San Francisco, Calif., as treasurer.
The other seven returning members of the Executive Committee are: Christie Austin of Cherry Hills Village, Colo.; James T. Bunch of Denver, Colo.; Irving Fish of Wayzata, Minn.; John Kim of Farmington, Conn.; William M. Lewis Jr. of New York, N.Y.; Steve Smyers of Lakeland, Fla.; and Geoffrey Yang of Menlo Park, Calif.
There are three new members on the Executive Committee for 2008; Patricia Kaufman of Fort Washington, Md.; Thomas J. O'Toole of Chesterfield, Mo.; and Brigid Shanley Lamb of Mendham, N.J.
Glen Nager, a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Jones Day, has been chosen as the Association's general counsel for a third consecutive year.
The USGA is the national governing body of golf in this country and Mexico, a combined territory that includes more than half the world's golfers and golf courses.
The Association's most visible role is played out each season in conducting 13 national championships, including the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Senior Open. Ten additional USGA national championships are exclusively for amateurs, and include the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Women's Amateur.
The USGA also writes the Rules of Golf, conducts equipment testing, provides expert course maintenance consultations, funds research for better turf and a better environment, maintains a Handicap System and administers an ongoing "For the Good of the Game" grants program, which has allocated more than $58 million over 11 years to programs that seek to grow the game. For more information about the USGA, visit www.usga.org .