Bush 41 to receive TOUR's Lifetime Achievement Award

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President George H.W. Bush meets Lee Westwood of England at the 2008 Ryder Cup.
March 23, 2009
PGA TOUR staff

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, has been named the ninth recipient of the PGA TOUR's Lifetime Achievement Award. Bush will be honored at 5 p.m. on May 6 during a "Military Tribute" on the 18th hole of THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass during THE PLAYERS Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The tribute is part of THE PLAYERS Military Appreciation Day, which offers free admission to all active-duty and retired members of U.S. Armed Forces. The tribute is also open to the public (Wednesday tournament ticket holders). Bush will officially receive the award from PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem during a private reception that evening.

Created in 1996, the Lifetime Achievement Award honors individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the TOUR over an extended period of time through their actions on and off the course. Bush joins a distinguished list of past Lifetime Achievement Award recipients, although he is the first recipient from outside the golf industry. Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Jack Burke Jr., Pete Dye, Deane Beman and Jack Nicklaus are the past winners.

"It means a great deal to receive this distinguished award from an organization like the PGA TOUR which, to me, epitomizes the Points of Light spirit for the way it supports so many worthwhile causes in such a wonderful way," said Bush. "Working with Tim Finchem and getting to know so many of the TOUR's members has been one of the great joys of my post-White House life, and my gratitude goes to all who were fully aware of my skills on the course and yet chose to support this welcome decision anyway."

"A great friend to the PGA TOUR and the sport of golf, President Bush's support makes him a most fitting recipient of the PGA TOUR's Lifetime Achievement Award," said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. "President Bush's influence on golf is seen not only in his support of The First Tee and The Presidents Cup, but also in his enthusiastic love of the game, and it will be an honor to present him with the PGA TOUR's Lifetime Achievement Award."

Bush, 84, grew up in a family that was always heavily involved with golf. His grandfather, George Herbert Walker, was United States Golf Association (USGA) president in 1920 and donated the trophy for what would become the Walker Cup. Bush's father, Prescott Bush, was a scratch golfer who served as USGA president in 1935 and was instrumental in establishing the USGA Museum and Archives.

In 1996, Bush served as honorary chairman of The Presidents Cup at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Prince William County, Va. He has since attended every Presidents Cup, taking time to stand on the first tee and greet each and every player. Bush has developed close relationships with many U.S. players. PGA TOUR players like Brad Faxon, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard, Fred Couples and Davis Love III are among those who have been fortunate enough to develop presidential friendships. All four have spent time at the Bush compound in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Since 1997, Bush has served as honorary chairman of The First Tee program. He's also an honorary member of the PGA of America and honorary chair of the USGA Museum and Archives President's Council, and in 1997, he received the PGA of America's Distinguished Service Award. In 2007, he hit the ceremonial first shot on July 4 to launch the AT&T National, a golf tournament hosted by Tiger Woods. In 2008, he received the Bob Jones Award, given annually by the USGA in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf.