GWAA honors Whan with William D. Richardson Award

HOUSTON, Texas - When Mike Whan (pictured) took over the LPGA Tour 10 years ago, it was struggling. Some even questioned whether or not it would survive.
Whan’s leadership over the past decade spearheaded a radical turnaround for the LPGA and because of those efforts, the Golf Writers Association of America has awarded him the 2020 William D. Richardson Award for outstanding contributions to golf.
In addition to Whan, the GWAA has named Patrick Cantlay winner of the 2020 Ben Hogan Award, given to a player who has overcome a physical handicap or serious injury to remain active in golf, while Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters champ, is the recipient of the ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award, given to a player for his or her working relationship with the media.
Since Whan, 54, took over as commissioner, the LPGA has experienced more than a 50 percent increase in tournaments, more than an 80 percent increase in purses and a 100 percent increase in television coverage. He also introduced the season-long Race to the CME Globe, UL International Crown and Founders Cup.
In addition, the Symetra Tour has grown from 16 tournaments with $1.7M in prize money, to a record $4M in 2019 over the course of 23 tournaments. And participation in the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf has grown from 5,000 to 90,000.
“I want to express a heartfelt thank you to the Golf Writers Association of America for honoring me with the William D. Richardson Award,” said Whan. “It’s very humbling to be included in a list of past honorees that includes names like Bob Hope, Bob Jones, Arnold Palmer, and LPGA Founders like Babe Zaharias, Patty Berg and Louise Suggs.
“The LPGA is the ultimate TEAM effort, so I hope all the players, teachers, and staff understand this award is really recognizing ALL of us! I’m honored to be a small part of this incredible LPGA family, and I’m proud of all that we are doing to leave the game even better for the next generation of golfers,” Whan added.
Scott, who is often referred to as one of the game’s true gentlemen, is the second consecutive Australian to win the ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award, named for the legendary Los Angeles Times columnist the honor cites players who reflect the most positive aspects of the working relationship between athletes and journalists. Geoff Ogilvy won the award in 2019.
"I want to thank the Golf Writers Association for honoring me with this award,’’ Scott said. “As athletes and writers, we do different jobs, but we all love the game of golf and it's values.
“To be included in a group with Ben Crenshaw, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Geoff Ogilvy and so many others who makes this such a special honor. I look forward to thanking the GWAA in person at the dinner.’'
After a year-plus as the world’s top-ranked amateur, Cantlay’s pro career stalled for more than three years because of a stress fracture in his back. He reached the 2017 TOUR Championship without full status on the PGA TOUR and won the 2017 Shriners Hospitals for Children event. In 2019, Cantlay won The Memorial and is currently No. 7 in the world.
"It’s an honor to be associated with Mr. Hogan and join a long list of honorees who have greatly contributed to the game,” said Cantlay.” "While the injury process was certainly difficult, I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of in the process. I’m excited to be in the top 10 in the world and look forward to a long career ahead.”  
All three players will be honored along with 2019 GWAA Players of the Year Brooks Koepka, Jin Young Ko and Scott McCarron at the 48th ISPS HANDA GWAA Annual Awards Dinner on April 8 in Augusta, Georgia.
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 Nicklaus, Crenshaw, Hogan, Palmer, Dottie Pepper, Nancy Lopez, Judy Rankin, Doc Giffin, David Fay, Jack Burke, Jr., the Harmon Family, Furman Bisher, Maj. Dan Rooney, Pete Dye, Sandy Tatum, Dan Jenkins, Judy Bell, President Dwight Eisenhower, Patty Berg, Gene Sarazen, Harvey Penick, Peggy Kirk Bell, Frank Hannigan and Lee Trevino.
Former Hogan award winners include Tiger Woods, Rankin, J.B. Holmes, Tom Watson, Sophie Gustafson, Barbara Douglas, Jarrod Lyle, Ken Green, Erik Compton, Denis Watson, Hubert Green, Bruce Edwards, Scott Verplank, Jose-Maria Olazabal, Casey Martin, Paul Azinger,  David Meador, Trevino and Ken Venturi.
Previous ASAP Sports/Jim Murray winners include Palmer, Nicklaus, Lopez, Davis Love III, Brad Faxon, Steve Stricker, Padraig Harrington, Juli Inkster, Jim Furyk, Nick Price, Jay Haas and Laura Davies.

SOURCE: GWAA
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