January 7 2014
Ken Duke and Graeme McDowell have been honored by the Golf Writers Association of America with the Ben Hogan Award presented by ISPS Handa and the ASAP Sports-Jim Murray Award, respectively.
Duke, who picked up his first PGA TOUR victory at the Travelers Championship last summer, was selected for remaining active in golf despite a physical handicap (in his case, scoliosis) or serious illness.
"I’m overwhelmed, so honored,” said Duke, 44, who still has the 16-inch metal rod attached to his spine that was surgically placed when he was 15. Forced to wear a back brace, Duke still played high school golf in Arkansas. He turned pro in 1994, played all over he world and on nearly every mini-tour, before finally making it onto the PGA TOUR in 2004 when he was 35.
Asked what the iconic Hogan means to him, Duke beamed. “A class act, probably the best to ever play the game,” he said. “He was a guy with an incredible work ethic. He put the time into learning to play the game.”
McDowell attended the University of Alabama-Birmingham but played primarily in Europe after turning pro in 2002. After winning the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2010, though, he has taken up membership on the PGA TOUR and established himself as a business owner with a pub at Lake Nona in Orlando, where he lives.
Last year McDowell added a second PGA TOUR win, the RBC Heritage, and he owns eight European Tour titles. Along the way, he has gathered a reputation as a refreshingly forthright and insightful interview.
“I take my relationship with the media very seriously,” McDowell said. “I'm pretty honest to a fault at times. It's very important to me. You guys give us exposure globally. You're a very important cog in the whole golf – and sports – machine. It's important – good, bad or ugly – to give you an idea of what's going on in my head and with my game.”
In addition, Rhonda Glenn, who is considered the foremost authority on women's golf and worked in the communications department at the USGA for 47 years,, was voted the winner of the William D. Richardson Award for consistently making outstanding contributions to golf.
Duke, Glenn, and McDowell will be presented their honors April 9 at the annual GWAA Awards Dinner in Augusta, Ga.
Former Hogan award winners include Rankin, Tom Watson, Sophie Gustafson, Barbara Douglas, Ken Green, Erik Compton, Denis Watson, Hubert Green, Bruce Edwards, Scott Verplank, Jose-Maria Olazabal, Casey Martin, Paul Azinger, David Meador, Trevino and Ken Venturi.
Previous ASAP/Jim Murray winners include Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Nancy Lopez, Brad Faxon, Steve Stricker, Padraig Harrington, Juli Inkster, Nick Price, Jay Haas and Laura Davies.