Far Hills, N.J. – David B. Fay, who started his career in golf as a caddie and became an active champion of bringing the U.S. Open to public golf courses, announced today his decision to retire after 21 years as executive director of the United States Golf Association (USGA).
“David’s passion for the game can be matched only by his passion for the people and the mission of the United States Golf Association,” said Jim Hyler, president of the USGA. “He has been a steadfast advocate for the game and our national championships and the USGA is thankful for his service.”
Mike Butz, USGA deputy executive director since 1995, has been named interim acting executive director while the Association undertakes a national search for a new executive director. Butz will assume the interim role on January 1, 2011.
Fay, 60, began his career with the USGA in 1978, serving first as tournament relations manager and becoming director of program management in 1981. He became assistant executive director in 1987 and was appointed as the sixth executive director of the USGA in 1989. Widely recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on the Rules of Golf, Fay has provided expert commentary and analysis of Rules situations during the network broadcasts of the USGA’s national championships since 1995.
As the USGA’s executive director, Fay has also served since 1991 as joint secretary of the International Golf Federation (IGF). The IGF is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the official international body for the sport of golf. Fay also served as chairman of the World Golf Foundation in 2008.
Fay has been a longtime advocate of making the game of golf more accessible and expanding the number and diversity of its players and fans. During his tenure, the USGA expanded significantly its philanthropic activities, providing through its “For the Good of the Game” grants program more than $65 million since 1997 to more than 1,000 programs aimed at making golf more affordable and accessible. Together, these programs have served more than 2.2 million participants, including economically-disadvantaged juniors, girls, minority youths and individuals with disabilities. Fay was also instrumental in the development of the USGA’s P.J. Boatwright Jr. Internship Program in 1991, through which the Association helps fund more than 100 internships each year at state and regional golf associations for men and women interested in pursuing a career in golf administration.
Fay’s most lasting legacy may well be his successful campaign to bring the U.S. Open to Bethpage State Park on Long Island in 2002. Bethpage’s Black Course became the first public facility ever to host the national championship, and since then the USGA has strongly affirmed its commitment to bringing the U.S. Open to venues that are accessible to the public. From 1999 through 2019, the U.S. Open will have been played at Pinehurst No. 2 (1999, 2005 and 2014), Pebble Beach (2000, 2010 and 2019), Bethpage Black (2002 and 2009), Torrey Pines (2008), Chambers Bay (2015) and Erin Hills (2017), making a total of 11 U.S. Opens in 21 years on publicly accessible courses.
Fay was born in 1950 in New York City and is a 1972 graduate of Colgate University, where he majored in English and political science and was a member of the varsity golf team. He was employed as communications director at the Metropolitan (N.Y.) Golf Association from 1976 to 1978 and was the recipient of the MGA’s Distinguished Service Award for 2009.