Fred Couples, owner of one of golf’s smoothest swings, receives one of the game’s most prestigious honors, the Gold Tee Award, from the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association at the 63rd National Awards Dinner on Monday, June 23, at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown. The Gold Tee is awarded to an individual whose career achievements exemplify the best spirit and traditions of the sport of golf.
Couples, winner of the 1992 Masters, won 15 times on the PGA Tour, including two Players Championships. Last year, he captained the U.S. team to its third straight victory in the President’s Cup. Couples was named PGA Tour Player of the Year twice, and competed on five consecutive Ryder Cup teams (1989-97).
As a winner of the Gold Tee Award, Couples will be in select company. Among the luminaries of the game who received the honor in the past are Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Nancy Lopez, Tom Watson, Annika Sorenstam, and Phil Mickelson.
Nancy Lopez, a star of the LPGA, joins Couples at the annual awards dinner. She is this year’s recipient of the association’s Winnie Palmer Award, named in honor of the deceased wife of golf legend Arnold Palmer, who devoted much of her life to charity work for literacy programs and health care. When told that Lopez would receive the award, Arnold Palmer said, “What a great choice! Nancy fits the description of the award perfectly. Winnie would be pleased.”
For the past 33 years, Lopez has hosted an annual golf tournament to benefit AIM (Adventures In Movement) for the Handicapped. Based in Ohio, AIM helps those who are mentally challenged, physically handicapped, or have special needs. The organization is noted for never charging for its services to handicapped children, and never turning a child away. Lopez is chairman and a national ambassador for AIM.
The MGWA National Awards Dinner has raised more than $1.5 million for caddie scholarship programs in the metropolitan New York area, the MGA Foundation, and the Dave Marr Memorial Scholarship for sports journalism at Columbia University.