PITTSBURGH, Pa. (June 14, 2016) – Judy Bell, the first female president of the United States Golf Association and a beloved member of the golf community, received the Bob Jones Award – the USGA’s highest honor –on Tuesday evening at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh. Bell’s selection represents the latest accolade in a long and distinguished life in golf that has spanned more than six decades. “It is simply a humbling experience to be selected for this honor,” Bell said. “When I first started with the game at seven years old, I never could have imagined it would lead to all of this or open so many doors. That’s why I’ve always been so committed to making sure others had the same opportunities I had. This is a wonderful sport, and it should be enjoyed by all.” Presented annually since 1955, the award recognizes the principles that Jones – a winner of nine USGA championships –demonstrated throughout his life: spirit, personal character and respect for the game. Bell, who served as USGA president in 1996 and 1997, used her platform to push for more youth and diversity programs, introducing more people to the game. She established the “For the Good of the Game” grants program, which dedicated more than $65 million to local and national initiatives devoted to improving communities through golf. She was also instrumental in the USGA Foundation’s leadership and fellowship program, which helped showcase viable careers in golf. “The stars must have been aligned for the two female presidents to be on the stage together,” said Diana Murphy, USGA president. “Judy is an inspiration to so many and my opportunity to serve in this role is living proof of her great work and encouragement. Throughout her life, Judy’s tireless efforts to bring more people into the game have brought about so many beginner programs, stronger golf communities and smarter golf leaders. That is an incredible legacy.” Bell competed in 38 USGA championships and was a member of the victorious 1960 and 1962 United States Curtis Cup Teams. She also advanced to the U.S. Women’s Amateur quarterfinals three times and to the semifinal round of the 1950 U.S. Girls’ Junior. She captained the USA Curtis Cup Teams in 1986 and 1988. Bell was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2001. A native of Wichita, Kan., Bell joins some of the game’s seminal figures in winning the Jones Award, including: Francis Ouimet (1955), Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1957), Arnold Palmer (1971), Jack Nicklaus (1975), President George H.W. Bush (2008), Annika Sorenstam (2012) and Payne Stewart (2014).
Published by Rick Woelfel
Rick has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 35 years. He's covered golf in one medium or another for more than 30. He is the co-author of the book So You Want to Play Golf with PGA professional Kim Verrecchio and the host of the Women's Golf Report podcast. Most recently, Rick served as an associate editor for The Mulligan Magazine. He also served as an associate editor for Philadelphia Golf Magazine and New Jersey State Golf from 2004-07. Rick covered his first LPGA Tour event in 1986 and continues to cover women's golf for various media outlets. High on his bucket list is having the opportunity to one day play in an LPGA Tour pro am. Rick is also a longtime correspondent for two suburban Philadelphia daily newspapers, the Intelligencer and the Bucks County Courier Times in Doylestown, PA. Over the course of his career he has coverzed a wide variety of sporting events. He is also a veteran play by play and public address announcer, and handles the PA mic for the nationally ranked Delaware Valley University football program. Rick is also a longtime contributor to Referee, a magazine devoted to sports officiating. He called his first baseball ganme at age 13 and continues to umpire softball and baseball today. View all posts by Rick Woelfel