Friends of Golf (FOG)
Many have compared Friends of Golf’s (FOG) support of collegiate golf to the New York Athletic Club’s role in college football and the Heisman Trophy. In 2010, FOG became the first organization and only the fifth recipient of the Golf Coaches Association of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The four others are Arnold Palmer, Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus and Karsten Solheim.
In 1989, FOG board chairman and 1940 Heisman Trophy winner, Tom Harmon and his friend Ben Hogan established the Ben Hogan Trophy recognizing each year’s outstanding college golfer. Harmon was a true American hero and one of the most famous athletes of his generation. Following his storied University of Michigan football career and being the NFL’s overall #1 draft pick, he enlisted in the Army Air Corp as a fighter pilot. During WWII, he survived a crash in South America before being shot down over Japanese-occupied China and receiving a Purple Heart and a Silver Star. In spite of his accomplishments, he’s best known today as the father of Mark Harmon, former UCLA quarterback and star of NCIS, America’s #1 rated television show.
FOG was founded in 1978 by long time UCLA golf coach Eddie Merrins and billionaire philanthropist, John Anderson, but over the years has included names like Peter Ueberroth, Ken Venturi, Carroll Shelby, John Wooden, Dinah Shore, Digger Phelps, Johnny Miller, Jim Nantz, Al Michaels and many more. In addition to its high profile in college golf, FOG has donated over $6 million to youth golf organizations at all levels. FOG’s Turn Wood and Iron into Gold program collects used golf equipment and donates it to inner city high school golf teams; boys and girls golf programs that wouldn’t exist without FOG’s support.
FOG’s fund raising centers around its one-day tournament held annually at the Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles. The day, once heralded by Byron Nelson as “the finest one day tournament of its kind in the country” includes morning and afternoon shotgun starts, extravagant live and silent auctions and a star-filled dinner and awards banquet. FOG’s Honorees have won a combined 110 major golf championships and have names like Nicklaus, Palmer, Sorenstam, Whitworth, Trevino, Player and Nelson. Throughout the years Tournament Day has produced memorable moments. As a high school junior, Tiger Woods met Jack Nicklaus for the first time while playing in FOG’s one day tournament and Ernie Els captured the British Open several weeks after serving as FOG’s 2012 Honoree. FOG’s 2013 Honoree Luke Donald is sure to add to the major total during his career.
For additional information regarding FOG sponsorship opportunities, tournament participation, FOG’s Turn Wood and Iron into Gold program or donating to the future of golf, visit www.friendsofgolf.org or call 877-551-4FOG(4364).