Brewer Thankful For Bob Jones
Family travels to see two-time Senior Amateur champ
receive USGA's top honor; Texan Rundle gets Joe Dey
February 7, 2009
By Ken Klavon, USGA
Newport Beach, Calif. - O. Gordon Brewer Jr. didn't take
the moment lightly. Neither did his family - each and every
one of the nine who made the trek from Arizona, North
Carolina and Texas.
|O. Gordon Brewer addresses the
audience after receiving the Bob Jones Award Saturday
at the Annual Meeting in Newport Beach, Calif. (John
On Saturday night in Newport Beach, Calif., Brewer
accepted the Bob Jones Award with a poignant speech that
focused on the merits of golf. Since 1955, the list of
previous winners reads like a who's who in the annals of
golf. The likes of Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Gary Player,
Arnold Palmer, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Gene
Sarazan and Nancy Lopez
have been honored.
"We're really thankful for him," said son Chip
Brewer, 45, prior to the ceremony. "To have his name
on an award with [Francis] Ouimet, Bill Campbell, [Tom]
Watson, it's pretty special. My dad's been my hero and
introduced me to golf. It's been a real honor for the
The tribute wasn't lost on the former USGA Executive
Committee member, who served from 1996-2001.
"It's beyond my wildest dreams," said the
72-year-old Brewer. "It doesn't get any better than
being identified with the man who set the standard, a man
of the highest integrity."
The Bob Jones Award is the USGA's highest honor,
given in recognition of sportsmanship in golf. The Award,
selected from nominations across the golf community and
chosen by a diverse and distinguished committee, seeks to
recognize a person who emulates Jones' spirit, his personal
qualities and his attitude toward the game and its
Brewer, a two-time USGA Senior Amateur champion, became
passionate about golf at Guilford College in Greensboro,
N.C., after playing basketball there. It was also where he
met his wife, Gail, of 49 years. Brewer acknowledged her
with adoration, calling her his "partner and lifelong
mate" who has been with him the whole way.
Brewer's ties with the USGA began with the 1968 U.S.
Amateur, his first national championship as a player. Along
the way he competed in more than 40 USGA championships. He
started his career as a top amateur golfer in 1967,
culminating in the first of his two Philadelphia Amateur
Championships. He won the second in 1976.
Before tasting victory at the national level, he had to
endure his lumps. In 1985, he finished runner-up to Jay
Sigel at the U.S. Mid-Amateur. Sigel came away impressed
with Brewer's sportsmanship that year.
"If you defined gentleman golfer, it would be
Gordon Brewer," said Sigel.
It wasn't until 1994 that he earned his first USGA
title, winning the USGA Senior Amateur. Two years later he
captured the championship again.
Outside of the ropes, Brewer got involved as a committee
member with the USGA in 1981 before ascending to the
Executive Committee. He over saw the Implements and Balls
Committee at one point. The current president of Pine
Valley Golf Club, he was the president of the Pennsylvania
Golf Association, chairman of the J. Wood Platt Caddie
Scholarship Trust Fund and served on the PGA Board of
Directors from 2001 to 2003.
Brewer has remained committed to amateur golf in the
Philadelphia area, so much so that the Golf Association of
Philadelphia created the Brewer Cup, a competition among
senior players, in 2008. In a bit of just desserts, Brewer
defeated Charles McClaskey to win the inaugural cup.
After a five-minute introductory highlight video that
featured comments by family, friends, including Jack
Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, Brewer spoke ardently about the
game. He challenged the golf dignitaries in the gathering
to continue finding ways to grow golf before segueing onto
the subject of equipment and technology.
"One fact remains: the primary factor in golf is
skill," he said.
Brewer lobbied hard to keep caddies a part of the sport.
The core values of golf essentially mimic life, he
stressed, adding that integrity is an essential quality of
"If you want to know something about someone's
character," he said, "spend some time on the golf
course with them."
Rundle Also Honored
|Dick Rundle, right, receives the
Joe Dey Award from USGA President Jim Vernon, left, and
Executive Committee member Pat Kaufman. (John
Unbeknownst to Dick Rundle, more than 20 letters from
friends and colleagues had been sent to the USGA Awards
Committee nominating him for the Joe Dey Award. So when he
took to the stage to receive his plaque, he came off
gracious and elegant in his remarks, saying, "I accept
this award with a mix of emotions: pride, humility and
The 78-year-old Rundle of Texas was battling a cold. No
way that was going to get the best of him as he beamed with
Rundle has been serving on the USGA Regional Affairs
Committee for the past 15 years. He's contributed countless
hours to many USGA championships as a committee member,
organizer, rules official and referee.
The Joe Dey Award has been given since 1996 and
recognizes an individual's meritorious service to the game
as a volunteer. The award is named after the late Joseph C.
Dey Jr., who served as USGA executive director for 35
years, from 1934 to 1969, and was later the first
commissioner of the PGA Tour.
"As most of us do when something like this happens,
you say, 'What did I do?'" said Rundle between photo
takes with his award.
What will he do with the award? He paused.
"I haven't thought about that," he
Ken Klavon is the Editor of Digital Media for the
USGA. E-mail him with questions or comments at