Former PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane Beman Named Recipient of the 2015 PGA Distinguished Service Award

PGA of America's Highest Annual Honor to be bestowed Nov. 13

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Former PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane Beman, the guiding force in elevating the profile of the tour professional while expanding golf's global charitable reach and interest in the game, has been named the recipient of the 2015 PGA Distinguished Service Award.

Beman, 77, and a 40-year PGA Life Member, will receive the PGA of America's highest annual honor on Nov. 13, at a ceremony in conjunction with the 99th PGA Annual Meeting in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

A native of Washington, D.C. who attended the University of Maryland, Beman became one of the country's foremost amateur golfers. He won the 1959 British Amateur before capturing the 1960 and 1963 U.S. Amateur Championships. He competed in 11 USGA international events, including four Walker Cup Teams. He turned professional in 1967 and went on to win four times on the PGA TOUR.

Beman succeeded Joe Dey in 1974 as the TOUR's second commissioner, beginning a 20-year term that took professional golf to new heights in popularity. He nurtured television's connection to the game, which resulted in increased tournament purses; and ushered in the creation of the Senior PGA Tour (now Champions Tour) and the Ben Hogan Tour (now Web.com Tour) to develop tomorrow's stars and contributing to playing opportunities for PGA Professionals.

Through the course of his tenure as Commissioner and to this day, Beman is a true friend to the PGA of America. He worked closely with the PGA to grow the game and benefit the membership. Beman also remains a vocal supporter of the key role the PGA member plays in serving as the tangible connection between the game and those who play it in the United States.

"Deane Beman's vision and leadership helped drive professional golf to the forefront of the sporting public's consciousness and become a staple for viewers throughout the world," said PGA of America President Derek Sprague. "Deane's leadership extended the careers of Tour professionals and benefited PGA members as well, while also ensuring that golf remains one of sports' leading catalysts for charitable endeavors. For his career of remarkable achievement in our industry, the PGA of America takes great pride in presenting Deane Beman with the 2015 PGA Distinguished Service Award."

Under Beman's watch, the PGA TOUR's board instituted a policy requiring all tournaments to support a charitable initiative. During Beman's two decades at the TOUR helm, charitable contributions grew from less than $1 million to than $30 million in 1994. Today, the golf industry generates an estimated $3.5 billion annually to charity.

"I am extremely honored to receive this prestigious award. The PGA Professionals in my golf life have been the bedrock of the development of golf in America," said Beman. "I have enormous respect for those individuals who nurture the enthusiasm for those who quest for the ultimate challenge of becoming an accomplished golfer."

Beman also was called by some "the Father of Stadium Golf," a concept that became a standard in a spectator-friendly golf experience. His vision took bloom in 1982 as designer Pete Dye opened the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

In 1998, Beman also saw another of his dream projects reach fruition, with the opening of the World Golf Village near St. Augustine, Florida, which is the home of the World Golf Hall of Fame and where he was inducted as a contributor in 2000.

Prior to stepping down as commissioner in 1994, Beman capped his legacy with the PGA TOUR by opening the Presidents Cup, a biennial international competition matching the best American golfers and international players outside Europe.

Beman and his wife, Judy, live in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. They have five children and 10 grandchildren.

Begun in 1988, the PGA Distinguished Service Award honors outstanding individuals who display leadership and humanitarian qualities, including integrity, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the game of golf. Previous honorees include Bob Hope, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Patty Berg, Jack Nicklaus, and former Presidents Gerald Ford (1991), George H.W. Bush (1997) and William J. "Bill" Clinton (2014).

PGA Distinguished Service Award Recipients
 

1988 Herb Graffis 2002 Tim Finchem
1989 Bob Hope 2003 Vince Gill
1990 No recipient 2004 Pete Dye
1991 The Hon. Gerald R. Ford 2005 Wally Uihlein
1992 Gene Sarazen 2006 Fred Ridley
1993 Byron Nelson 2007 Jack Burke Jr.
1994 Arnold Palmer 2008 Dennis Walters
1995 Patty Berg 2009 William Powell
1996 Frank Chirkinian 2010 Billy Casper
1997 The Hon. George H.W. Bush 2011 Larry Nelson
1998 Paul Runyan 2012 Dave Stockton
1999 Bill Dickey 2013 Lee Trevino
2000 Jack Nicklaus 2014 The Hon. William J. Clinton
2001 Mark McCormack 2015 Deane Beman