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Trio given GWAA awards

Acclaimed author Dan Jenkins, Champions Tour player Hubert Green and over-50, two-Tour star Jay Haas have been honored with three prestigious awards given by the Golf Writers Association of America.

Jenkins, who started his writing career while still in high school and went on to define a new era of sports writing during his time at Sports Illustrated, won the William D. Richardson Award, given annually to recognize an individual who has consistently made an outstanding contribution to golf. Green, a former U.S. Open and PGA champ who underwent treatment to remove cancerous growths from his tonsils and tongue and came back to play on the Champions Tour in 2004, won the Ben Hogan Award, given annually to an individual who has continued to be active in golf despite a physical handicap or serious illness.

The 51-year-old Haas, who chose to play predominantly on the PGA Tour in 2004 and played his way into a Captain's Pick for the 2004 Ryder Cup team and finished in the top 30 money winners, is the ASAP/Jim Murray Award winner for 2004. That award recognizes a player for cooperation, quotability and for accommodation to the media and for reflecting the most positive aspects of the working relationship between athlete and journalists.

They will be honored, along with GWAA Players of the Year Vijay Singh, Annika Sorenstam and Craig Stadler, at the Annual GWAA Awards Dinner, April 6 in Augusta, Ga.

Jenkins, whose career began at the Fort Worth Press, is currently a writer-at-large for Golf Digest. He went to Sports Illustrated in 1962 and has been with Golf Digest since 1984. Jenkins has covered an amazing 177 majors during his career and was honored with the PGA Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award in 1995. He was also voted into Texas Sports Hall of Fame and will be one of the first media inductees in 2005. His 17th novel will be published this spring by Doubleday.

Jenkins received 52 percent of the vote. Paul Runyan received 28 percent of the vote and former USGA president Sandy Tatum received 20 percent.

Green, 58, was diagnosed with cancer in May 2003 during a routine dental examination and underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments which caused him to lose 30 pounds before returning to the Tour in 2004. He was subsequently forced to miss much of 2004 with more treatments and returned in mid-April. Green, who has 19 PGA Tour wins and four Champions Tour victories, was 2004 Champions Tour Comeback Player of the Year. Green won the 1977 U.S. Open and 1985 PGA Championship.

Green received 57 percent of the vote while former Clemson All-America John Engler, who continues to come back following a near-fatal car crash in 2003, received 43 percent.

Haas, one of the most likeable players in the game, has been one of the most consistent performers on the PGA Tour for nearly three decades. The Wake Forest alum took a different road upon turning 50 and decided to play predominantly on the PGA Tour. He played in 23 PGA Tour events, missing the cut only three times, finishing in the top 10 eight times and earning one of Hal Sutton’s captain’s picks for the 2004 Ryder Cup team. He played in three Champions Tour events in 2004, finishing second twice and third once.

Haas, who also received the Payne Stewart Award in 2004, received 52 percent to 26 percent for Jack Nicklaus and 22 percent for Meg Mallon. This is the fourth year for the ASAP/Jim Murray Award. Previous winners were Arnold Palmer, Nick Price and Fred Funk.

Past recipients of the Richardson Award, named for The New York Times’ William D. Richardson who was instrumental in the founding of the GWAA in 1946, include Judy Bell, Nancy Lopez, Judy Rankin, Babe Zaharias, Ely Callaway, Ben Hogan, Pres. Dwight Eisenhower, Patty Berg, Gene Sarazen, Arnold Palmer, Ben Crenshaw, Harvey Penick, Peggy Kirk Bell, Frank Hannigan, Kathy Whitworth and Lee Trevino.

Former Hogan award winners include Bruce Edwards, Jeff Julian, Scott Verplank, Jose-Maria Olazabal, Casey Martin, Paul Azinger, Robert Allenby, Lee Trevino, John Mahaffey, Jim Nelford, Ken Venturi, Terri-Jo Meyers, Steve Jones and Pat Browne.

The 955-member GWAA takes an active role in protecting the interests of all golf journalists, works closely with all of golf’s major governing bodies and the World Golf Hall of Fame and facilitates a scholarship/internship program which is currently helping students at 17 major U.S. universities.

 

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