NASHVILLE, Tenn. - John
Hayden of Birmingham, Ala., and Dree Fausnaugh of Maitland, Fla., were
presented with the 2014 USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award on Wednesday,
June 25 at the Rolex Tournament of Champions in Nashville, Tenn.
Presidents' Leadership Award was created to recognize one male and one female
junior golfer who demonstrate leadership, character and community service
through their involvement with the Leadership Links program – a joint
initiative founded by the USGA and AJGA in 2005 to further develop junior
golfers through volunteerism. Nineteen members of the Rolex Tournament of
Champions field are participants of the Leadership Links program.
Hayden and Fausnaugh
were honored for their service by the AJGA and USGA during the Rolex Dinner of
USGA President Thomas
O’Toole Jr., highlighted the impact of the recipients and the importance of the
Leadership Links program and what it means to those involved.
“The influence of junior
golf goes well beyond the course,” O’Toole said. “John Hayden and Dree
Fausnaugh represent thousands of junior golfers who have not only committed
themselves to improving their games, but committed themselves to improving
their communities through the game of golf.”
About John Hayden
When John Hayden met
Bradley Johnson he had no way of knowing the connection the two would share
eight years later. On that day in 2005, Hayden watched Johnson play at
Greystone Golf and Country Club in Birmingham, Ala. Johnson was a Rolex Junior
All-American in 2005, the runner-up at the 2005 U.S. Junior Amateur
Championship and had a promising golf career ahead of him.
Johnson was killed in a
car accident later that year at the age of 17. After his death, his family
started the Bradley Johnson Memorial Foundation to provide financial assistance
to junior golfers in Alabama. Hayden has since become close to the Johnson
family and has worked to help raise money for their Foundation, and the AJGA’s
Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant.
“I am doing this because
the Foundation helps underprivileged kids play golf, and golf is a game you
can’t take for granted,” Hayden said. “I bet the Johnsons would love to see
their son play again and it is really important to me that everyone gets a
chance to play this game.”
Hayden secures pledges
for each birdie he makes in golf tournaments, and also sends out mass mailings,
emails and brochures in attempt to reach his goal of $10,000 in 2014. Since
2012, he has raised more than $20,000.
“Some people give me
money for each birdie that I make and some write a check. I try to write a
thank you letter to everyone who contributes to the Foundation to let them know
how much it means.”
Hayden also serves as
class president and holds various roles within organizations in his community,
including Relay for Life and junior golf programs at his home course.
“John’s a great leader,”
said Dr. David Balik, Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs at Briarwood
Christian School. “He’s quiet, but students will follow him because he has
great character, and he’s a great guy.”
In two years of playing
AJGA events, Hayden has two top-five finishes in national competition,
including a tie for third at the 2013 Preseason Junior at Château Élan. He has
made a verbal commitment to play golf for the University of Alabama at
Birmingham in 2015.
“Bradley Johnson was all
about character,” Hayden said. “I just want to live each day and be like
Bradley and if I can do that, I did something right.”
About Dree Fausnaugh
Health, safety and
well-being of children in local communities are the mission of the Nicklaus
Children’s Health Care Foundation. Dree Fausnaugh believes in those values so
much, she has dedicated the past two years to raising more than $18,000 for the
Fausnaugh hosts a
charity golf tournament and coordinates every detail, including the setup and
recruitment of sponsors, food and beverage, course contracts and silent auction
“People don’t realize
how much work is actually behind a charity golf tournament,” Fausnaugh said.
“It took a lot of work to get people to commit, sign up and play, but it is
worth it in the end.”
to helping those less fortunate stems from gratitude for what golf has done in
her life, and in the lives of her family members.
“I have received a lot
of opportunities through golf and I want to give back to those less fortunate,”
she said. “It is a really good cause and it helps kids.”
Even while volunteering
hundreds of hours of her time, Fausnaugh has developed as a top competitive
junior golfer. She made her USGA championship debut in the 2011 U.S. Women’s
Amateur Public Links, advancing to the Round of 64, and also competed in the 2013 U.S. Girls’ Junior. Fausnaugh has made a
verbal commitment to play college golf at the University of Central Florida in
Fausnaugh says she is
surprised to be recognized for her work.
“It means a lot to me.
It is a huge honor to be named to something like this. The standards that you
must meet to be considered are very high so it makes me feel good to know that
I was good enough.”
While Fausnaugh is
surprised by the recognition, those who work with her everyday say her
leadership and affect on those around her is invaluable.
“She has the ability to
lead vocally, to lead by what she does on the course and in the hallway,” said
Mike Ostrowski, Director of Athletic Programs at Lake Mary Preparatory School,
where Fausnaugh is a rising senior. “She’s a role model for younger kids.
As our golf program continues to grow, it will be in large part due to her and
what she’s done.”