David Fay Steps Down from USGA's Top Post

David B. Fay, who started his career in golf as a caddie and became an active champion of bringing the U.S. Open to public golf courses, has announced he will retire after 21 years as executive director of the United States Golf Association (USGA).

David Fay

"David's passion for the game can be matched only by his passion for the people and the mission of the United States Golf Association," said Jim Hyler, president of the USGA. "He has been a steadfast advocate for the game and our national championships and the USGA is thankful for his service."

"Things are in good order," Fay said in a statement released Christmas Eve. "Our senior staff leaders, each of whom I have put into place, are highly talented and motivated. And looking ahead, there are a number of multi-year projects on the drawing board which could have long-term impact on the Association.

"Which makes this, for me, a good time to move on. Leave on a high note, as Seinfeld would say."

Mike Butz, USGA deputy executive director since 1995, has been named acting executive director while the association undertakes a national search for a new executive director. Butz will assume the interim role on January 1, 2011.

"I am confident that my friend and long-time colleague, deputy executive director, Mike Butz, will do an excellent job as interim executive director," said Fay. "His knowledge and understanding of the workings of the Association is second to none."

Fay, 60, began his career with the USGA in 1978, serving first as tournament relations manager and becoming director of program management in 1981. He became assistant executive director in 1987 and was appointed as the sixth executive director of the USGA in 1989. Widely recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on the Rules of Golf, Fay has provided expert commentary and analysis of Rules situations during the network broadcasts of the USGA's national championships since 1995.

As the USGA's executive director, Fay has also served since 1991 as joint secretary of the International Golf Federation (IGF). The IGF is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the official international body for the sport of golf. Fay also served as chairman of the World Golf Foundation in 2008.

Fay's most lasting legacy may well be his successful campaign to bring the U.S. Open to Bethpage State Park on Long Island in 2002. Bethpage's Black Course became the first public facility ever to host the national championship, and since then the USGA has strongly affirmed its commitment to bringing the U.S. Open to venues that are accessible to the public. From 1999 through 2019, the U.S. Open will have been played at Pinehurst No. 2 (1999, 2005 and 2014), Pebble Beach (2000, 2010 and 2019), Bethpage Black (2002 and 2009), Torrey Pines (2008), Chambers Bay (2015) and Erin Hills (2017), making a total of 11 U.S. Opens in 21 years on publicly accessible courses.

"The year 2010 was memorable, personally and professionally," said Fay. "This decade began with a U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and will end with a Pebble Beach Open in 2019, with a blend of excellent new and old national-championship venues in between.

Fay was born in 1950 in New York City and is a 1972 graduate of Colgate University, where he majored in English and political science and was a member of the varsity golf team. He was employed as communications director at the Metropolitan (N.Y.) Golf Association from 1976 to 1978 and was the recipient of the MGA's Distinguished Service Award for 2009.

Fay, who was treated for cancer, turned 60 two months ago. "When one is a cancer survivor, milestones like this take on extra importance, and sharpen perspective," he said.

Fay concluded: "It's been my privilege to have served under 17 USGA presidents (12 during my tenure as executive director) with each bringing particular talents, views and energies to the position of chief officer. And I've had the pleasure of working with over 100 men and women who've served on the USGA's executive committee.

"These individuals, along with over 3,000 other USGA committee members I've known through the years, represent the soul of the USGA. They volunteer their time to the Association's work, and I applaud them for their passion and dedication to the game of golf.

"I leave with the highest regard for the institution of the USGA and its on-going work as golf's impartial Bureau of Standards.

"It's been a rewarding, satisfying and fun run.

"My heartfelt thanks to all of you - with a special salute to the women and men of the superb USGA staff - who helped make it so."

For more information about David Fay and the USGA, visit www.usga.org.