USGA to honor Judy Bell with 2016 Bob Jones Award

Former USGA president Judy Bell will be honored for her long-term commitment to extending the reach of the game of golf.

John Mummert/USGA

The United States Golf Association announced Thursday that it will bestow its highest honor, the Bob Jones Award, to Judy Bell during the week of the 2016 U.S. Open Championship at Oakmont Country Club.

Presented annually since 1955, the award recognizes an individual who demonstrates the spirit, personal character and respect for the game exhibited by Jones, winner of nine USGA championships.

Bell was the the USGA’s first female president (1996-97) and established the For the Good of the Game grants program, which dedicated more than $65 million toward national and local projects devoted to improving the lives of communities through accessible golf. Bell was that program’s director from 1999 to 2010.

On the course, Bell competed in 38 USGA championships, including three trips to the U.S. Women’s Amateur quarterfinals and one U.S. Girls’ Junior semifinals appearance. She joins a list of Bob Jones Award winners that includes national champions such as Francis Ouimet (1955), Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1957), Arnold Palmer (1971), Jack Nicklaus (1975),  Ben Hogan (1976), Annika Sorenstam (2012) and Payne Stewart (2014), as well as those who have contributed to the fabric of the game in other meaningful ways such as Richard S. Tufts (1967), Joe Dey (1977), Bing Crosby and Bob Hope (1978), P.J. Boatwright Jr. (1993), President George H.W. Bush (2008) and Barbara Nicklaus (2015).