The allure of the desert was particularly appealing this weekend when I headed west to attend the USGA Annual Meeting, pay a visit to the EWGA Phoenix Metro Chapter and catch up with other industry leaders and visit with former board member and outgoing Chairman of the USGA’s Women’s Committee, Barbara Douglas. It was a whirlwind!
On Friday evening, I visited with several members of the Phoenix Chapter at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale. It was a fun filled evening with great conversation! These women are truly passionate and committed to growing and attracting more women into their Chapter. They have a busy calendar of events and are eager to get their season started. And – they’re already planning their trip to Palm Desert, CA in October for the Championship Finals and the EWGA Foundation Fundraiser to benefit LPGA-USGA Girls Golf. You Go Girls!
On Saturday night, I had the distinct honor of being in the audience when Lorena Ochoa, who retired from the LPGA Tour at age 28, accepted the Bob Jones Award at the USGA’s Meeting. This award is presented annually and is the USGA’s highest honor given in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf. The award seeks to recognize a person who emulates Jones’ spirit, his personal qualities and his attitude toward the game and its players.
Pam Swensen and Lorena Ochoa
There is a very interesting similarity between Ochoa and Jones. They both walked away from competitive golf at the age of 28. Jones did this after winning the Grand Slam in 1930, Ochoa chose to walk away from competitive golf as the No. 1 player in the world. She spoke with passion about her devotion to the foundation she created, which has been her reason for playing and practicing for many years. It has already benefited hundreds of Mexico’s underprivileged children. And she has even grander plans for its future.
“What makes a great person,” she said, “is the way you look at things. God gave me so many blessings in so many ways. …Golf has given me more than I ever expected.”
Earlier that evening, I watched with pride as Barbara Douglas, the first ever African-American woman to chair the USGA’s Women’s Committee gave her closing speech as Chairman. Barbara, a former EWGA Board of Directors Member, is going to be honored this April by the Golf Writers Assocation of America at The Masters with the Ben Hogan Award. She is being recognized with this award for remaining active in golf despite a physical handicap or illness. Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009 just as her term as Chairman of the Women’s Committee was commencing, she continued to travel and officiate at USGA events while undergoing chemotherapy treatments including the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open.
Barbara’s affinity and dedication to the game clearly motivated her in so many ways during this battle with her illness. She is an inspiration and role model to all of us involved in the game of golf. Congratulations.
To view other photos from these events, go to http://www.myewga.com/MYEWGA/MYEWGA/Resources/Blogs/BlogViewer/Default.aspx?BlogKey=927724db-9b21-450e-8021-b070e080d1a3