Vernon Named USGA President; McKinney Ties Joe Jemsek's Record For Shortest Executive Committee Stint

vernon_ins.jpgThat enormous cheer New Jersey residents just heard was the staff at Far Hills celebrating news that Jim Vernon is the next president and Walter Driver is now officially a lame duck.

Far Hills, N.J. – James F. Vernon of Pasadena, Calif., has been nominated to serve a one-year term as president of the USGA by the Nominating Committee of the United States Golf Association. The election of officers and the full 15-member USGA Executive Committee will take place Feb. 9, 2008, at the USGA’s Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas.
As president, Vernon, 57, will lead the Association’s professional staff and nearly 1,400 volunteers who serve on more than 30 committees.
He will begin his sixth year as a member of the Executive Committee, a term that has included two years as vice president of the USGA and four years as chairman of the Equipment Standards Committee.
Vernon is a past president of the board of directors of both the Southern California Golf Association and the California Golf Association. He currently serves on the board of directors of the SCGA Foundation. He started his volunteer work with the USGA as a member of the USGA Sectional Affairs Committee in 1998.  He is a member of Lakeside Golf Club in Los Angeles and the Monterey Peninsula Country Club in Pebble Beach, Calif.

Vernon is the owner of Frank Vernon Diamond Brokers and Wholesale Jewelers, a family business that was started under his father’s name more than 50 years ago. The business has its offices in Los Angeles.
Outside of his golf interest, Vernon serves as secretary for the Diamond Club West Coast Inc., a member of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses. He received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and his law degree from Stanford University in 1972 and 1975, respectively.  He practiced law for nine years before resigning from his firm to take over the family diamond business.
“This is an exciting time to become president of the USGA with 226 million page views online during the 2007 U.S. Open,” said Vernon. “Thanks to online and new media, as well as the assistance from our corporate partners, we are aggressively developing innovative ways to interact with all golfers, especially our 950,000 members, as well as the state and regional golf associations, the PGA of America, and all the allied groups that care deeply about this game.

950,000! We're already seeing his sense of humor!


“I look forward to working closely with executive director David Fay and his talented staff to make sure that we continue to conduct the very best championships in golf and to fulfill our responsibilities to establish equipment rules that are based on informed science and facts.”

As for the others...

The other nominated officers of the Executive Committee are: James B. Hyler Jr. of Raleigh, N.C., and Cameron Jay Rains of San Diego, Calif., as vice presidents; Emily R. (Missy) Crisp of Mill Neck, N.Y., as secretary; and Fredric C. Nelson of San Francisco, Calif., as treasurer.
The other seven returning members of the Executive Committee are: Christie Austin of Cherry Hills Village, Colo.; James T. Bunch of Denver, Colo.; Irving Fish of Wayzata, Minn.; John Kim of Farmington, Conn.; William M. Lewis Jr. of New York, N.Y.; Steve Smyers of Lakeland, Fla.; and Geoffrey Yang of Menlo Park, Calif.
Glen Nager, a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Jones, Day, Reavis and Pogue, has been chosen as the Association’s general counsel for a third consecutive year.
There are three new nominations to the Executive Committee for 2008. They are Patricia Kaufman of Fort Washington, Md.; Thomas J. O’Toole of Chesterfield, Mo.; and Bridgid Shanley Lamb of Mendham, N.J.

My beloved USGA sources called to immediately voice their pleasure with the O'Toole and Lamb nominations and knew little about Kaufman:

Kaufman, 63, is a lawyer who has specialized in wills and estates and civil litigation. She serves as legal editor for a national newsletter on corrections law, and she writes for other legal journals as well. Additionally, for more than five years, she has been a science writer for the National Institutes of Health. She holds a law degree from Catholic University (1979) and a Masters of Science in Biology from West Virginia University (1970).
She was a member of the USGA Women’s Committee for six years, through 2007. She served on the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship Committee, where she was chairman for the past four years, and on the USGA Regional Affairs Committee until 1998.
In addition, she served as president of the Maryland State Golf Association Women’s Division from 1995-1999. She is a long-standing board member of the Women’s District of Columbia Golf Association and the Middle Atlantic Golf Association.
An avid golfer who began playing the sport at age 8, Kaufman has been married for 40 years to husband, Lou, and they have two daughters and five grandchildren.
O’Toole, 50, is a partner in the law firm of Doster Mickes. He specializes in real estate transactions, construction litigation and zoning issues. He received both his undergraduate degree (1979) and law degree (1985) from St. Louis University. A native of St. Louis, O’Toole has been involved with the USGA since 1988.
He has served as a Rules official at more than 100 USGA championships, including every U.S. Open since 1990. He also has been the lead official in conducting more than 120 qualifying rounds for USGA championships. O’Toole has been “certified” as a Rules of Golf expert each year since 1990, and he has been a consulting member of the Rules of Golf Committee since 2004.
In 1992, he founded the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association, a regional association that serves eastern Missouri and central Illinois. He serves on the executive board of the Association.
Shanley Lamb, 61, retired from her law career in 1984 after having served in both private practice and government positions. She also was active in state and national political campaigns following graduation from Newton College (1969) and Seton Hall University School of Law (1976).
She served on the USGA Women’s Committee for three years, through 2007. She began her USGA service as a member of the U.S. Girls’ Junior Committee in 1995.
Two years earlier, in 1993, Shanley Lamb joined the board of the Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association. She was board president from 1998 to 2000. In 2006, she received the Judy Bell Award for contributions to women’s golf in the metropolitan New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area.
She has competed in one U.S. Girls’ Junior and four USGA Senior Women’s Amateurs. She and her husband, Jim, have three children.

And for the traditional buried lede...

The three current Committee members who will be retiring at the upcoming Annual Meeting are current president Walter W. Driver Jr. of Atlanta, Ga.; Pat McKinney of Charleston, S.C.; and Loren Singletary of Houston, Texas.

McKinney departs after joining last year, dashing hopes for the great state of South Carolina. As for Singletary, no idea who that is. And as for Driver, ah, what can we say but, it's a bright, bright day seeing his name next to "retiring" in a USGA press release.