When amateur golfers in Texas make their way to a local USGA championship site, they are certain about what they are playing for. That ideal was made clear thanks to the work of one dedicated volunteer that has taken the meaning of the job to a whole new level.
Dallas resident Dick Rundle’s main body of work for the USGA has been organizing and running championship qualifying in North Texas. He is most noted for the original idea of outfitting an equipment trailer containing essential gear for conducting championships and qualifying events – tents, tables, chairs, USGA banners, clocks, flags, and radios – to set up at every host site.
Rundle has also been given credit for combating slow play, and instituting a pace-of-play policy in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that has cut round time down from five plus hours, to just over four.
His dedication to golf was evident in the more than 20 letters the USGA Awards Committee received on Dick’s behalf, nominating him for the Joe Dey Award. One of the letters was sent by 2007 U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion and two-time Walker Cup player Trip Kuehne, 36, who grew up in the Dallas area and has long witnessed Rundle’s service to the game.
"Dick has been an extremely positive influence on my playing career, always willing to give an encouraging word and help make each event a great experience for the competitors," said Kuehne. "His single-minded pursuit of the betterment of golf makes him an incredibly worthy candidate for the USGA’s highest award for a volunteer."
The USGA was proud to announce on Tuesday that Rundle - who has been serving on the USGA Regional Affairs Committee for the last 15 years and has contributed countless hours to many USGA championships as a committee member, organizer, rules official and referee - was indeed named the recipient of the 2009 Joe Dey Award.
Given since 1996, the award recognizes an individual’s meritorious service to the game as a volunteer. The 78-year-old Rundle will receive the honor Feb. 7 at the USGA’s Annual Meeting in Newport Beach, Calif. The award is named after the late Joseph C. Dey Jr., who served as USGA executive director for 35 years, from 1934 to 1969, and was later the first commissioner of the PGA Tour.
"To have one’s efforts noticed, acknowledged and commended by the folks he works with, is the highest honor there is," said Rundle. "Certainly, the most precious accolade one can ever receive comes from his peers. I am proud that my work has been worthy."
In 1990, Rundle became a volunteer rules official working in the NTPGA (Northern Texas Section PGA of America). It was then that he began a relationship with the late Frank Anglim - winner of the 1999 Joe Dey Award - and Rundle had the honor of introducing Anglim at the USGA’s awards ceremony that year.
"Dick has always given the USGA his best, both with his supreme competence, and his generosity with his time and expertise," said USGA President Jim Vernon. "He exemplifies what we value and appreciate in a volunteer, and I cannot think of a more deserving recipient of this honor."
Previous winners of the Joe Dey Award are: Charles Eckstein (1996); John Staver (1997); Joe King (1998); Frank Anglim (1999); Jack Emich (2000); Bill Dickey (2001); Clyde Luther (2002); John Hanna (2003); Adele Lebow (2004); Pearl Carey (2005); Dr. Bob Hooper (2006); Harry McCracken (2007); and Gene McClure (2008).
--Story by Dave Fanucchi, USGA