PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Art Spander of Oakland, Calif., who for nearly 50 years has been a fixture covering virtually all of the greatest events in sports, has been named the recipient of the 2009 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism. Spander is the 20th individual to be so honored.
Spander, 70, will be honored April 8, at the 37th Golf Writers Association of America's Annual Spring Dinner and Awards Ceremony at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion in Augusta, Ga.
"Art Spander's presence at a sporting event adds just a dose more of spice to the commentary, the right pitch to describing the competition, and leaves us with thought-provoking messages that have been his signature to for nearly a half century," said PGA of America President Jim Remy. "Art's coverage of Rose Bowls, Super Bowls, the Olympics, Wimbledon and of golf's four major championships has never failed to deliver the goods to his readers. For a lifetime of outstanding service that includes his sincere love of golf, The PGA of America is proud to present him with this award."
By his count, Spander has covered 120 major golf championships since 1960, when he began his journalism career as a news writer for United Press International in his hometown of Los Angeles. He also has attended the past 56 Rose Bowls, from spectator to vendor, to press box usher and eventually as a reporter. He also has covered 33 of the past 34 Super Bowls, all Triple Crown events in thoroughbred racing, two decades of the World Series, the Final Four, the NBA Finals, three Winter and three Summer Olympic Games, the Indianapolis 500, Wimbledon and the U.S. Tennis Open.
Among his peers past and present, Spander credits the counsel and friendship he received over the years in journalism by the late Jim Murray, the 1993 recipient of the PGA Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award, and award-winning author Dan Jenkins, who received the same honor in 1995.
"It's a great group of people who have preceded me in receiving this award, and when I view the list of honorees on a wall at a PGA Championship, all I can say is 'wow!' To me this is our profession's hall of fame," said Spander. "What we do in this business is so fulfilling. I've always liked to see the event and then sit down and describe just what went on to the reader. Awards are secondary when you are given the opportunity to be able to be at the great events. I am very honored to be recognized by my peers."
Spander became a full-time sportswriter in 1963 for the Santa Monica Outlook, serving as a beat writer for the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Dodgers, and covered UCLA and USC football and basketball.
Spander was presented the 1999 Dick McCann Award, which earned him a niche in the Pro Football Hall of Fame's "Writer's Wing," and he was honored in 2007 with the Masters Major Achievement Award. He was voted the 1980 California Sports Writer of the Year, and is the only person to win the Golf Writers Association of America first place award in each of five decades. From 2005 to 2007, Spander served as president of the Golf Writers Association of America.
Born in Los Angeles, Spander attended Dorsey High School, which is the alma mater of such sports luminaries as baseball's Sparky Anderson, Renee Lachemann and Chili Davis, and later NFL star Keyshawn Johnson.
Spander was the sports editor of the UCLA student newspaper and a former sports information intern. He graduated from UCLA in 1960, forsaking a possible berth in law to work as a news writer for United Press International's (UPI) bureau in Los Angeles. He had been a member of the ROTC while at UCLA, and was called to duty in the Army Reserves until a commanding officer rechecked Spander's physical exam report, and learned that Spander had lost the use of his left eye in a childhood accident.
Spander returned to UPI in the summer of 1961 and was later hired as a sportswriter by the former Santa Monica Outlook, serving as a beat writer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the former Los Angeles Rams, while also covering UCLA and USC football and basketball.
In May 1965, Spander was hired by the San Francisco Chronicle, and a year later became a golf beat writer. In 1967, he received credentials to cover the Masters and has not missed the past 42 springs at Augusta National Golf Club. In the fall of 1979, Spander became a full-time columnist for the San Francisco Examiner and remained with the newspaper until 1996.
Among his golf coverage, he has had the distinction of working at Pebble Beach to cover 41 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Ams (formerly the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am), 13 state amateur championships, four U.S. Open Championships and one PGA Championship. By his count, he also has played Pebble Beach some 50 times.
In March 1996, Spander joined the Oakland Tribune, where he worked until the summer of 2008, while also serving as an American columnist for Scotland's Sunday Herald and the London-based Daily Telegraph. Today he is a freelance writer for both print and the Internet.
He is the co-author with Mark Mulvoy of Golf: The Passion and the Challenge (1977); The Art Spander Collection (1989); and co-author with Gary Shemano of, Keeping on Course: Golf Tips on Avoiding the Sandtraps of Today's Business World (1997).
Spander and his wife, Liz, live in Oakland, Calif., and are the parents of daughters, Debbie and Wendy, and have two grandchildren.
The PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism, first presented in 1989, honors members of the media for their steadfast promotion of golf.
The award selection committee is composed of representatives from The PGA of America, PGA Tour, USGA, LPGA Tour, Champions Tour, European Tour, Augusta National Golf Club, Golf Superintendents Association of America, National Golf Course Owners Association, American Society of Golf Course Architects, the National Golf Foundation and past recipients.
PGA Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Recipients:
1991 Dick Taylor
1992 Herbert Warren Wind
1993 Jim Murray
1994 Frank Chirkinian/Bob Green
1995 Dan Jenkins
1996 Furman Bisher
1997 Jack Whitaker
1998 Dave Anderson
2000 Jim McKay
2001 Kaye Kessler
2002 Nick Seitz
2003 Renton Laidlaw
2004 Bob Verdi
2005 Al Barkow
2006 Ron Green Sr.
2007 Jack Berry
2008 Marino Parascenzo
2009 Art Spander
Since 1916, The PGA of America's mission has been twofold: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf.
By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, the Association enables PGA Professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry.
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Contact - Julius Mason