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PGA Distinguished Service awarded to Pete Dye

Pete Dye, the innovative golf course architect who designed Whistling Straits and three other acclaimed courses for the Kohler Co., has been named recipient of the 2004 PGA Distinguished Service Award.

Dye, 78, will be honored in a ceremony Aug. 11 at The Milwaukee Theater. The ceremony is in conjunction with the 86th PGA Championship, Aug. 12-15 at Whistling Straits in Haven.

"I'm thrilled to death by this honor," Dye said. "It is very special to me. I have always loved golf and have always been attracted to the agronomic end of the business."

Dye, a native of Urbana, Ohio, often is referred to as the "father of modern golf architecture."

An accomplished golfer who won the 1958 Indiana State Amateur and competed in the 1957 U.S. Open, Dye designed his first course in 1959 with his wife, Alice.

A trip to the 1963 British Amateur in Scotland shaped Dye's subsequent design philosophy. His work would soon incorporate many Scottish features, such as undulating fairways, pot bunkers, small greens and wooden bulkheads.

Herbert V. Kohler Jr., president and CEO of the Kohler Co., hired Dye in the mid-1980s to design a course for The American Club, the company's five-star hotel and resort. The 36-hole complex, Blackwolf Run, would play host to the 1998 U.S. Women's Open.

Kohler then asked Dye to recreate an Irish-Scottish links course on two miles of uninterrupted Lake Michigan shoreline a few miles north of Sheboygan.

In 1998, Whistling Straits opened to rave reviews. The course is ranked No. 71 on Golf Digest magazine's 2003-'04 list of "America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses." Dye also designed the companion Irish Course.

Some of Dye's other courses include The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C.; the TPC at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Fla.; and the PGA West Stadium Course in La Quinta, Calif.

"Pete Dye's lifetime devotion to golf, reflective in his renowned course design, has been an inspiration to all who cherish the game," PGA of America President M.G. Orender said.

The PGA Distinguished Service Award, inaugurated in 1988, honors outstanding Americans who display leadership and humanitarian qualities, including integrity, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the game of golf.

Previous winners include Bob Hope, Arnold Palmer, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson and Jack Nicklaus.

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