One of the first ominous signs--well, after the 2004 Shinnecock debacle--that things were going to be different under USGA president Walter Driver came when it was announced June 29, 2005 that he had been nominated as the next president. That was a whopping 7 months before he would take office.
The move effectively rendered then-president Fred Ridley a lame duck and was widely considered to be unprecedented by USGA insiders.
In light of recent events indicating that the embittered Driver is going out with a flourish by taking down as many staff members as possible while leaving no positive mark on the game or the USGA, the nominating committee needs to make it known who will be replacing Driver.
Either of the two candidates in line to replace Driver--believed to be vice presidents Jim Vernon and Jim Hyler--will mark a huge improvement for the organization. (Actually, Dick Cheney would be a step up at this point!)
Vernon's nomination would mark a welcome change and provide some hope to both staff and the golf community that the USGA is attempting to move in a more positive direction. Vernon's interest and knowledge on equipment issues will be especially important with the grooves debate heating up and the ball study soon entering, gulp, year six.
So nominating committee, who will it be?