From the Golf Journal Archives - Wanted: Candidates For Bob Jones Award

Jan 07, 2011

In February, Lorena Ochoa will be honored with the USGA Bob Jones Award at the Association’s Annual Meeting. During the month of January, the USGA Museum will again feature a series of classic Golf Journal articles about Bob Jones Award winners. The annual series starts with a call for candidates that includes a detailed description about the Award's intent.

(Note: This article originally appeared in the September 1956 issue of Golf Journal.)

Among the USGA awards presented annually to deserving golfers is one sharing a particularly unique position – the Bob Jones Award. Unlike the trophies presented each USGA champion, the Bob Jones award is not presented for the purpose of recognizing golfing skill, although skill may be indirectly involved. The sole purpose of the Award is to recognize the individual whose contribution to the game is most completely described by the term, “distinguished sportsmanship.”

Suggestions are now being invited by the USGA on behalf of persons considered eligible for the Bob Jones Award for 1957. They must be accompanied by a statement of 150 to 200 words about the person concerned. No proposal will be considered without the statement.

The Bob Jones Award has been presented twice. Francis D. Ouimet was the first recipient of the Award in 1955, and William C. Campbell was honored in 1956.

Although the Award has been presented to two prominent figures in golf thus far, the person considered for the Award need not be a distinguished player nor even widely known. The individual may be an amateur or professional, man or woman, boy or girl. The important qualification is that the person fulfill the basic requirement of the Award – a high level of sportsmanship. The Bob Jones Award is not for contributions to the welfare of golf or for overcoming physical handicaps, although such elements may enter into the selection. It is, purely and simply, for distinguished sportsmanship.

There are many facets of sportsmanship, making it difficult to define. However, the personal qualities which the candidate must possess are those most commonly held in high esteem in sports. They would include, for example: fair play, self-control and perhaps self-denial, generosity of spirit (toward an opponent or the game as a whole), a manner of playing or behavior demonstrating respect for the game and the people in it, and unselfishness. Sportsmanship is a composite of these and related qualities. Thus, it is more nearly a manner and attitude than a particular action. Actions reveal sportsmanship.

Although the Award is presented annually, it is not necessary that the accomplishments of suggested individuals be confined to the current year. It might well be presented for sportsmanship demonstrated over a period of years, or for a significant example of sportsmanship in the past.

In nominating Mr. Campbell for last year’s Award, one individual wrote:

“The first Award was made for distinguished sportsmanship over a long period of time. In order to establish the scope of the Award, I believe that the second should be made in recognition of a single and recent example of sportsmanship.

“Bill Campbell’s leadership of our Walker Cup Team last spring was the outstanding accomplishment of the year. His personal leadership and example so inspired a team of young players that we obtained a great win under adverse conditions, and the personal conduct of the members of the team must have strengthened the feeling of international good will between all those who witnessed the matches. Bill’s unselfish act, as a playing captain, of refusing to play himself in any of the matches was typical of the spirit in which he carried out his responsibilities as Captain.”

The names of those people suggested for the Award will be circulated by the USGA to the Bob Jones Award Committee to determine whether any member of the Committee desires to nominate the individual for further consideration. All such nominations will be balloted upon by the full Committee. No one will be considered for the Award unless recommended by a member of the Committee.