Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sandy Tatum and Grant Spaeth inaugurated into NCGA Hall of Fame

Two of Stanford's all-time greats, Sandy Tatum and Grant Spaeth, were inaugurated into the Northern California Golf Association's Hall of Fame on Feb 6, 2011 as part of it's initial class of inductees which also included Ken Venturi and Jack Bariteau.  The NCGA announcement can be found here.  Sandy Tatum is also a member of the Stanford Hall of Fame.  A wide ranging video interview with Grant Spaeth can be found here.

The NCGA's press release included the following about Tatum and Spaeth:

Sandy Tatum

Frank "Sandy" Tatum
The rich golf legacy of Frank “Sandy” Tatum is crystalized by his now-famous defense of the punishing setup of Winged Foot for the 1974 U.S. Open. When he said, “Our objective is not to humiliate the best players in the world. It’s to identify them,” Tatum spoke with the passion, eloquence, clarity and vision of a man who regarded golf as more than just a sport. To him, it veered close to a spiritual experience, and he attached that kind of love to every golf endeavor, whether it was striking a 5-iron to a tightly-guarded green or serving as the president of the United States Golf Association from 1978 to 1980.
Tatum, raised in Los Angeles on the fairways of Wilshire and Bel Air country clubs, became a Stanford man, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate and a Rhodes scholar at Oxford. Raised by a father who took the game seriously, Tatum could golf his ball. He was a member of Stanford’s back-to-back NCAA golf championships in 1941 and ’42, and during the latter year he also captured the individual title. For that, he is a member of the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame. Sandy also was the first American to play golf for Oxford, where he was conditioned to understand that playing in bad weather was a fundamental part of the game.
From there, the longtime attorney dedicated his life to the betterment of of golf. Few men, with the possible exception of Bobby Jones and Bill Campbell, have done more for amateur golf than Tatum. His accomplishments ring like churchbells over the decades. From his service on the USGA executive committee during the 1970s, to his bringing his beloved Pebble Beach onto the U.S. Open rotation, to his collaboration with Tom Watson and Robert Trent Jones Jr. in the creation of Spanish Bay in 1987, and to his tireless push toward the restoration of Harding Park in San Francisco, Sandy has attacked each project with the energy of a teenager.
Today, at 90 years old, he remains one of golf’s most influential purists. His life, like that signature pause at the top of his swing, has been unforgettable. More than 36 years after his memorable words at Winged Foot,  we identify Frank “Sandy” Tatum as an inductee to the Northern California Golf Association Hall of Fame.

Grant Spaeth

Grant Spaeth
Grant Spaeth’s lifelong impact on golf actually is the reverse–the game impacted him and never let go.
From his NCAA team title at Stanford in 1953 to his eventful years from 1990 to ’92 as president of the United States Golf Association, Spaeth’s contribution to the game continues to this day. Simply, Spaeth was born  to serve the game. He was a graduate of Palo Alto High and the son of the Dean of the Stanford Law School. While his father was stationed in Montevideo, Uruguay, Spaeth was introduced to golf on a course across the street from his home. Later as a teenager, he caddied for the Stanford golf team, and it wasn’t too long before he and his Stanford teammates became national champions.
Spaeth graduated from the Harvard Law School and served in the U.S. Army followed by the Reserves. His law practice in Palo Alto was the foundation to years of public service. Spaeth was the Deputy Secretary for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare from 1978 to ’80 and also served as a Palo Alto city councilman. Then came years of work on various USGA committees, leading to his USGA presidency and a list of accomplishments to remember. He may have been the best reach-out-to-people person who ever filled the USGA president’s chair. Spaeth was instrumental in bringing the British Open back to Carnoustie, Scotland. He founded the U.S. Men’s Mid-Amateur and Women’s Mid-Amateur Championships. He created the USGA’s regional affairs departments.
Through it all, Spaeth’s affection for the game remained rich. On Sunday mornings before the final round of the Masters, he often walked Augusta National’s back nine alone, savoring the memories and the promise of what was ahead. Closer to home, he has entertained TV viewers on “Hooked on Golf”  with his articulate, entertaining and informative essays on the game and its rules. “I want more people exposed to the game,” he said recently. “Those who take to it will be lucky and should be thankful.” The Northern California Golf Association is proud and honored to induct Grant Spaeth to its Hall of Fame.

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