David Fay to Retire As USGA Executive Director
By Stephanie Wei under Announcements

After over two decades as executive director of the USGA, David Fay announced on Christmas Eve that he’s stepping down from the position at the end of the year. His legacy includes trying to make the sport more inclusive by bringing the US Open to public courses like Bethpage Black and Torrey Pines. He also played a pivotal role in getting golf back in the Olympics.

In an email to friends and acquaintances, Fay wrote that Mike Butz, the deputy executive director, will take over for him on January 1 until a permanent replacement is found. Here’s Fay’s farewell letter in full:

The year 2010 was memorable, personally and professionally.  Personally, I turned 60 two months ago.  When one is a cancer survivor, milestones like this take on extra importance, and sharpen perspective.  Professionally, 2010 was a very good year for the USGA.   This decade began with a U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and will end with a Pebble Beach Open in 2019, with a blend of excellent new and old national-championship venues in between.  The golf-in-the-Olympics international structure is now in place, culminating a 20-year effort to return golf to the Olympic Games.  And there is a renewed commitment to our core responsibilities which have defined the Association for 100 years:  conduct national championships for women and men; write and interpret Rules and regulations (playing, equipment and handicap); and invest in the important and topical work of our Green Section programs.  And the USGA’s volunteer-staff structure remains the model for State/Regional amateur-golf associations throughout the country.

While the strength of the USGA is not simply measured by its balance sheet, the year 2010 was, by far, the most financially successful year in the 116-year-old history of the USGA.

Things are in good order.   Our senior staff leaders, each of whom I have put into place, are highly talented and motivated.  And looking ahead, there are a number of multi-year projects on the drawing board which could have long-term impact on the Association.

Which makes this, for me, a good time to move on.   Leave on a high note, as Seinfeld would say.

Effective December 31, I’ll be retiring from the USGA.   It’s a place I joined 32 years ago, the last 21 of which I’ve served as executive director.

It’s been my privilege to have served under 17 USGA presidents (12 during my tenure as executive director) with each bringing particular talents, views and energies to the position of chief officer.  And I’ve had the pleasure of working with over 100 men and women who’ve served on the USGA’s executive committee.  These individuals, along with over 3,000 other USGA committee members I’ve known through the years, represent the soul of the USGA.   They volunteer their time to the Association’s work, and I applaud them for their passion and dedication to the game of golf.

I am confident that my friend and long-time colleague, deputy executive director, Mike Butz, will do an excellent job as interim executive director.  His knowledge and understanding of the workings of the Association is second to none.

I leave with the highest regard for the institution of the USGA and its on-going work as golf’s impartial Bureau of Standards.

It’s been a rewarding, satisfying and fun run.

My heartfelt thanks to all of you – with a special salute to the women and men of the superb USGA staff – who helped make it so.



Thank you, David, for all you’ve given back to the game.