Tom Dudley, of Jacksonville, Fla., a past president of the Florida State Golf Association who has volunteered at more than 100 USGA championships as a Rules official over the past 30 years, has been chosen by the USGA as its recipient of the 2019 Joe Dey Award.
Presented annually since 1996, the Joe Dey Award recognizes an individual’s meritorious service to the game as a volunteer. It is named for Joseph C. Dey Jr., who served as the USGA’s executive director from 1934-1969 and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1975.
Dudley, a native of Columbus, Ga., has served as a USGA Rules official at 26 U.S. Opens, and he has worked more than 300 FSGA championships and qualifiers in addition to his tenure as the organization’s president from 2008-09.
“Tom’s selfless commitment to golf and the timeless values of sportsmanship are the embodiment of what the Joe Dey Award stands for,” said Mike Davis, USGA CEO. “He has been a longstanding friend of golfers everywhere, and we are proud to recognize his countless hours of service and the many ways in which he has given back to the golf community through his passion for the game.”
Dudley served as a referee for countless high-profile players, including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy. But his favorites include joining future USGA president Buzz Taylor as the co-referee for the final 18 holes in the 1994 U.S. Amateur Championship at TPC Sawgrass, won by Woods, and during the 1997 U.S. Senior Open at Olympia Fields, receiving the assignment to walk with his good friend, Bob Duval, and Jack Nicklaus.
“I have been honored to meet so many incredible people – like Joe Dey, P.J. Boatwright and others – and it is the camaraderie in golf that I’ve loved the most,” said Dudley. “The game has given me the great opportunity to visit some of the most incredible places in the country. It has taught me that golf is a game of integrity and honesty and playing by the Rules can show a person’s true character, as It is the only game where you call penalties on yourself. Knowing the Rules and ensuring that the game is played by the Rules has played an important role in my love for the game.”
Widely known as an expert on the Rules of Golf, Dudley has attended 30 PGA-USGA Rules of Golf Workshops and has been an instructor at more than 50 workshops. He has scored a 94 or above on every Rules test since 1994, including four perfect scores. He recently passed the test on the new 2019 Rules of Golf with a 99. Only those who score a 90 or above can serve as a Rules official at the U.S. Open Championship.
Dudley is also actively involved with his home golf club, Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, where he helped bring the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship in 2002 and served as the general chairman. He also played a major role in Timuquana’s hosting of the 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship, to be played April 27-May 1.
In addition to his service to golf, Dudley also was involved with his local Little League baseball organization for more than 20 years as a coach, president and director of umpires.
Dudley will receive the Joe Dey Award at the USGA’s Annual Meeting and Service Awards Dinner in San Antonio, Texas, on Feb. 23, 2019. The Service Awards Dinner celebrates the leadership, dedication and exemplary efforts of individuals who have devoted their time and talents to serve the game and honors the people whose dedication and outstanding accomplishments have made an important contribution to golf. In addition to the Joe Dey Award, the Ike Grainger Award, the USGA Green Section Award and the Herbert Warren Wind Book Award will be presented at the Service Awards Dinner.