There is lame hometown paper fluff, and then there's Furman Bisher transcribing what outgoing USGA President Walter Driver wants him to write.
This gem is listed under blog content at the Atlanta Journal Constitution web site (gosh I hope this didn't actually hit a printing press):
Being president of the USGA is the trophy at the end of the well-ordered ascendency of a faithful servant, from board director to general counsel to vice-president in the case of Walter Driver Jr. It’s officiated by the well-bred whose names oftimes begin with an initial, or are concluded with a Jr. or II or III. As in C. Grant Spaeth or James D. Standish Jr. Walter W. Driver Jr. was the perfect fit — especially with his awesome name.Hit the link, I did NOT insert that last line! Furman sculped that treasure all on his own.
On top of that, he was an accomplished player, scratch at the time of induction, and an alumnus of Stanford University, the pipeline which gave us such celebrated golf personages as Lawson Little, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods and Sandy Tatum.Scratch, wow, remember that later.
Arriving in Atlanta, he became a member of the distinguished firm of King & Spalding, but just two years ago switched interests to the investment firm of Goldman Sachs, Southeast manager no less.Gee Furman, why didn't you throw in a "not too shabby" to make it feel like a Macon Light and Penny Saver society column.
Twice he won the club championship at Peachtree, the shrine to golf that Bobby Jones inspired. Once he became involved in the USGA it was inevitable that he should eventually rise to the presidency, succeeding as he did a former U.S. Amateur champion, Fred Ridley. He got a forewarning of the storm ahead when at the Open at Shinnecock Hills in 2004 he served as chairman of the competition committee and took the blame for high winds, fractious weather and a course as slick as an interstate.Now he took the blame. Of course, back in June, Bisher wrote that it was a faulty weather forecast, but I guess Walter, having found that spin didn't fly, is telling his biographer that he took the blame. If you can find an apology or even an ounce of contrition in the transcripts here and here, you have been blessed with Furman Bisher's reading comprehension skills. And look who Bisher/Driver actually blames:
Truth is, he merely represented the membership; two hired staff employees, now departed, were responsible for the condition of the course, Tom Meeks and Tom Moraghan.
Tom Moraghan? Note to Bisher's editor: Google is your friend.
Driver was a susceptible target, tall, well-constructed and rather handsome in a rustic sort of way. Media were looking for a scapegoat and laid it on him, laced with an overdose of resentment.It's those rustic looks!!! The media resents! Yes, and only I could have his pot belly, would my life be complete.
By the way, well-constructed? Is there something you know Furman from personal experience? Not that there's anything wrong with that!
There was still a chorus of writers looking under rugs for reasons to indict the USGA on an unspecified charge, and Walter Driver. In the end, though, Oakmont drew a harmonious response from the competitors, sort of an unofficial gift to the outgoing president.
"Muchas gracias Senior Driver!"
He still has his favorite championship left, the Walker Cup, to be played in Northern Ireland. “That’s a championship I can get teary about,” he said.
Teary? Well-constructed men don't cry!
There have been internal matters that rattled the furniture at the USGA headquarters in Far Hills, N.J. Driver has seen fit to whittle on some of the staff benefits and came to cross swords with Marty Parkes, the senior director of communications.
There has been crossfire about equipment standards, whose terminology is like trying to translate something off a cave wall to me. Then there was the matter of travel by private jet, which, as it turned out, was a practice Fred Ridley left behind.You'd think the good folks might have come up with something better at this point than "Fred did it."
On another matter, Driver’s game has suffered. His handicap is now a plus-two.He went from scratch to plus-two as president? Ah the suffering!
Meanwhile, back at the homestead, Betty Driver counts the days.She's not the only one counting the days.
It’s sort of like the time when the kids, now grown and out, waited to get a glimpse of dad. “Work, work, work,” they would say, “golf, golf, golf, that’s all daddy does.” Reg Murphy, now a resident of Sea Island, preceded Driver in the office 12 years ago. “There are times when you need a steward and there are times when you need to change,” he told Golf World. “Walter is a change agent.” Wonder if they really understand what he’s saying in the media center, or if they’re still wondering “if the USGA can survive Walter Driver?” as Golf World headlined its report.
Wow, I need to shower now.