The 2013 centennial celebration of Francis Ouimet’s miraculous US Open playoff victory at The Country Club in Brookline against Harry Vardon and Ted Ray reminded us all of the exceptional young amateur who became America’s first golf hero. That young man then became the grand gentleman of New England golf and its most respected icon until his death in 1967.
The Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund, founded in 1949, keeps his name alive and is the largest independent scholarship fund in New England. Its motto, “From what golf has given you, let us give something back to golf,” has a special significance for New England Golf Monthly as it recognizes six outstanding New Englanders who have also embraced this motto in their own lives.
Dick Connolly, Endowing the Ouimet Fund
Appropriately enough, our first honoree is Dick Connolly, a Boston stockbroker for Morgan Stanley and Arnold Palmer’s investment counselor, who has unstintingly given his time, energy, and money to support the Francis Ouiment Scholarship Fund and many other worthwhile causes. A Ouimet Scholarship allowed the Woburn CC caddie and greenkeeper to attend Holy Cross. After graduation and a master’s from Babson, he became a stockbroker in 1973, thus leading to his working for PaineWebber and his first meeting with its new spokesman, Arnold Palmer.
Connolly’s devotion to the Ouimet Fund has become legend—as its greatest individual donor, its President, Director, 30-year Chair of the esteemed Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament, and frequent committeeman. Connolly’s special project has been in making the annual banquet one of the most important golf affairs in the country. When the inaugural “Francis Ouimet Award for Lifelong Contributions to Golf” was presented to Arnold Palmer in 1997, the dinner kindled national interest.
Through Connolly’s direction and selling of sponsorships, the event has raised more than $5 million and has paid tribute to such champions of the game as George H. W. Bush, Barbara and Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Gary Player, and Annika Sorenstam.
Connolly, now 73, and his wife Ann Marie, also a Holy Cross grad and a trustee, have worked together to assist many other charities and organizations, and they have been mainstays of the Holy Cross fund-raising campaigns.
Hosting the CVS Caremark Charity Classic
Brad Faxon of Barrington, RI, and Billy Andrade of Bristol, RI, are both noteworthy for their individual successes on the PGA Tour, but their continuous charitable work on behalf of the less fortunate, especially children, is selfless and exceptional.
Faxon, with eight Tour victories and almost $20 million in earnings, turned pro in 1983 and is currently playing on the Champions Tour. His short game, especially his putting, has been his trademark. He has served two terms as a member of the PGA Tour Policy Board and played on two Ryder Cup teams. Faxon has become involved in golf course architecture and assisted Gil Hanse in the recent redesign of the TPC Boston course.
Andrade turned pro in 1987, has won four times and close to $13 million, and is now eligible for the Champions Tour as of January 25 when he turned 50. He played golf at Wake Forest, led the team to the 1986 NCAA Championship, and played in the 1987 Walker Cup. Faxon and Andrade were elected to the Rhode Island Golf Hall of Fame in 2001.
Both have remained loyal to their New England roots. As hosts of the CVS Caremark Charity Classic at Rhode Island CC since 1999, the two have raised more than $17 million. This past year saw $1.3 million distributed among 81 local charities and nonprofits, and CVS has just committed to another three years as sponsor. Their other venture is the Billy Andrade-Brad Faxon Charities for Children, which has raised more than $7.5 million for at-risk children in RI and southeastern MA.
The two share three significant honors: the Golf Writers of America Charlie Bartlett Award for their “unselfish contributions to society,” the American Heart Association’s Gold Heart Award in recognition of their charity efforts, and the Ambassadors of Golf Award for their “concern for others that extends beyond the golf course.”
Paul Harney, Winning on Tour in His Spare Time
In late August, 2011, when Paul Harney, 82, passed away in Falmouth on Cape Cod, the Bay State lost its most accomplished golfer of the modern era. He owned seven PGA Tour victories, several international wins, and five consecutive Mass Open titles.
Harney, Worcester born and Holy Cross educated, played full time on Tour from 1955 through 1962 and counted Billy Casper, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player among his close friends. He married Patricia in 1957 and promised her he would become a club professional when their first child reached school age. Thus, in 1963, he accepted the head pro position at Sunset Oaks in California for one year before returning to Worcester and the head pro job at Pleasant Valley CC, then a major stop on the LPGA and PGA tours, serving there until 1973.
The family man played from five to 14 Tour tournaments a year from 1963-73 and won three times, the last in 1972. Harney then moved Patricia and their six children to East Falmouth in 1973, where he set up shop on a par-60 golf course. Today, his daughter Erin is the GM, and his son Mike is the head pro of the Paul Harney Golf Club.
Harney personally gave lessons at his Paul Harney Golf Academy, hosted an endless stream of junior and high school competitions, and made himself available to those who sought his advice. He served as president of the New England Section of the PGA, was named 1974 PGA Golf Professional of the Year, and was the first inductee into the New England Hall of Fame in 1996.
He was enshrined into the PGA Golf Professsional Hall of Fame in 2005 for his commitment to developing golf for all. From 1967-71 he was a Goodwill Ambassador for the US State Department where he conducted golf clinics in Malaysia, Myanmar, and Singapore.
Seth Waugh, Returning the PGA Tour to New England
Come Labor Day Weekend 2014, the best professional golfers in the world will descend upon TPC Boston in Norton for the second round of the FedEx Cup playoffs. New England golf fans will plan their long weekend around the Deutsche Bank Championship, one of the region’s most important and popular events.
The tournament sports an $8 million dollar purse, has donated more than $22 million to charity since 2003, and has generated more than $50 million annually to the area.
Born in Ayer, MA, Seth Waugh, the former CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas—he retired in 2012—has been the main impetus behind the success of the event and has ensured the tournament’s run through 2016.
When he became CEO in 2000, one of his mandates was to improve the recognition factor of the foreign Deutsche Bank in the Americas. Waugh, a three-season athlete at the Lawrenceville School and a graduate of Amherst College, knew professional sports would provide that recognition, and he chose major-league golf as his medium. Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem embraced the plan, and Waugh became partners with the Tiger Woods Foundation, the primary beneficiary of the DBC.
Tiger, of course, not only has participated (and won) and drawn huge crowds but also has been thankful for this chance to fund both New England organizations and his scholarship program for underserved youth. He said, “I would like to compliment Seth on his many accomplishments at the Deutsche Bank Championship and personally thank him for his commitment to my Foundation and our college-access programs. Seth’s dedication and insight are clearly evident in the tournament.”
It should not come as a surprise if Seth Waugh succeeds Tim Finchem as Commissioner when his contract expires in 2016. Waugh has certainly proven he has the ambition and the ability to oversee and run operations as complex as the Tour.
Bob Toski, Teaching the World How To Play
Born in Haydenville, MA, and educated at the local Northampton CC, Toski turned pro in 1947, was the Tour’s leading money winner in 1954, and won six tournaments between the Augusts of 1953-54. He also won the Mass Open at Hyannisport Club in 1958 and the Maine Open at Penobscot Valley in 1959.
Very much like Paul Harney, Toski chose to spend more time with his young family, leaving the Tour in 1955 at age 30 to become a club professional and an instructor. It was this second career as an instructor that brought him international renown.
From 1960 on, Toski’s name, face, animated lessons, and signature white cap became ubiquitous in the golf world. He composed instruction articles for myriad magazines, wrote or co-wrote a dozen books, made some of the first teaching videos, was a pioneer in bringing instruction to TV, was a regular on NBC tournament telecasts, developed his own line of eponymous clubs, and taught thousands of students.
In 1971, he started the Golf Digest Schools, directing them for 20 years, and his system became the standard against which all other schools were judged. In 1990, he was inducted into the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame, and in March of 2013, he was inducted into the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame, the PGA’s highest honor.
Touring pros such as Brad Adamonis, Jane Blalock, Pat Bradley, Bruce Crampton, Bruce Devlin, Ken Duke, Bruce Fleisher, Birdie Kim, Tom Kite, Judy Rankin, and Lexi Thompson have sought his advice.
Toski, now 87 and living in Boca Raton, FL, said about his life as a teacher, “If I don’t give a lesson today, I feel like I’ve missed something.”WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?