Under O’Toole’s leadership, the USGA will continue to focus on the core priorities that have been established in the Association’s strategic plan: to conduct the exemplary finest championships in golf, to provide worldwide excellence in governing the game, and to enhance critical services that support the game and those who play it. The USGA’s efforts and investment in these strategic areas are vital to maintaining a game that is vibrant and sustainable. Building on the USGA’s considerable efforts of the past, O’Toole challenged the Association’s volunteers and staff and the industry at large to strive for a game that is affordable, environmentally responsible, in balance with modern lifestyles, and – importantly – welcoming and accessible to all who wish to play.
“With its second century of service well underway, the USGA is striving to bring out the very best the game has to offer and to open up the game to new players and new cultures in the U.S. and throughout the world,” said O’Toole. “Making the game more accessible and more welcoming is not done merely for the benefit of feeling good, or even just doing the right thing. Opening up golf is good for the game.”
During his Annual Meeting remarks, O’Toole announced that the USGA will commit resources and energy in 2014 toward the creation of a comprehensive strategy to help open up the game to audiences that have historically been underserved by the golf industry. As part of that commitment, the USGA is formulating a task force comprising Executive Committee and staff leaders, thought leaders from across the golf industry, and thought leaders from beyond golf to identify and prioritize the best opportunities for opening up the game and enabling greater participation by minorities, women, juniors and golfers with disabilities. The goals of the strategy initiative are to identify the best practices and most impactful programs against which the USGA and the industry can leverage their considerable collective resources and influence to build a more welcoming environment in the game.
Thomas J. O’Toole Jr. has dedicated more than a quarter century in service to the USGA and the game. He has been associated with the USGA since 1988, serving as a Rules official at more than 150 USGA championships, including every U.S. Open since 1990. Since 2004, he has been a member of the Rules of Golf Committee.
O’Toole is entering his seventh year as a member of the USGA Executive Committee, three of which he served as vice president. Throughout this time, he has continued to pursue improvements to the USGA’s diverse functions as chairman of the Championship and Compensation Committees and through service on the Audit, Commercial, Handicap, International Team Selection, Management, Rules of Golf and Joint Rules of Golf Committees. As a prior chairman of the Amateur Status Committee, O’Toole played a critical role in establishing a joint code of Amateur Status with The R&A in 2012.
O’Toole’s dedication to the game also extends to the state and regional golf community. In 1988, he was elected to the Missouri Golf Association Board of Directors. In 1991, O’Toole established the St. Louis Metropolitan Amateur Championship, which allowed public and private players to compete against one another without regard to race or socio-economic background. One year later in 1992, he was the principal founder of the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association (MAGA), the first association in the region to permit public clubs as members and service all golfers without discrimination. Within its first four years, the MAGA expanded its tournament schedule from men’s to women’s to junior and senior championships, and grew to 110 Member Clubs and elected the first African-American to the MAGA Board of Directors.
O’Toole is a partner in the law firm of Mickes Goldman O’Toole, LLC. He chairs the firm’s Business and Corporate Group, and his practice focuses on real estate, specializing in zoning/land use, condemnation and real estate transactions. He earned both his undergraduate degree (1979) and law degree (1985) from St. Louis University.
Added USGA Executive Director Mike Davis: “The staff and I look forward to working side-by-side with Tom and the executive committee to open up the game to more people and to pursue the work that will sustain the game for the next 100 years.”
Along with O’Toole, four members of the Executive Committee have been elected to serve as officers. They are: Daniel B. Burton, of Lititz, Pa., and Diana M. Murphy, of St. Simons Island, Ga., as vice presidents; William L. Katz, of Chatham Township, N.J., as secretary; and Mark E. Newell, of McLean, Va., as treasurer.
In addition, Ernest J. Getto, of Santa Barbara, Calif., will serve a second term as general counsel for the USGA.
The other seven current members of the Executive Committee nominated to continue their service are: Karen S. Ammerman, M.D., of Webster, Mass.; William E. Fallon, of Pittsburgh, Pa.; William W. Gist IV, of Omaha, Neb.; C. Malcolm Holland III, of Dallas, Texas; Sheila C. Johnson, of Middleburg, Va.; Edward G. Michaels III, of Atlanta, Ga.; and Mark P. Reinemann, of Pewaukee, Wis.
There are three new members of the Executive Committee for 2014: G. Thomas Hough, of Atlanta, Ga.; Asuka Nakahara, of Merion, Pa.; and George J. Still Jr., of Atherton, Calif.
G. Thomas Hough, 59, is a vice chairman of assurance services for the Americas division of Ernst & Young in New York, N.Y. He joined the firm in 1978, became a partner in 1987 and rose to regional managing partner in the Pittsburgh and Atlanta offices before assuming his current role in New York in 2009. Hough is a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta and a past president of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Birmingham, Ala. He has also served on the executive committee of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and is a past board member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and trustee of the Woodruff Arts Center. A 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama, where he played varsity golf, Hough is a member of the university’s President’s Cabinet.
Asuka Nakahara, 58, is associate director of the Zell-Lurie Real Estate Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a recent recipient of the Helen Kardon Moss Anvil Award, the top Wharton teaching honor. In 2009, he co-founded Triton Atlantic Partners, an advisory firm and investment vehicle focused on distressed real estate. Nakahara began his career as a leasing agent with Trammell Crow Company in 1980. He was named a partner in 1983 and chief financial officer in 1996. He retired from the company in 1999. He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering with honors from Rice University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. His board directorships include CBRE Clarion Global Real Estate Income Fund and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
George J. Still Jr., 56, is a partner emeritus at Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), a global firm with offices in California, New York, Israel and India. He serves on the board of directors of two public companies: Rackspace, a cloud computing company; and Workday, an enterprise cloud software company where he serves as lead director. Still also serves on the boards of KnowledgeBeat, a nonprofit focusing on children’s health in rural Zambia, Africa, and The First Tee of San Francisco. He is a former member of the board of directors of the Lucille Packard Foundation for Children’s Health in Palo Alto, Calif., where he is a member of the Audit Committee. Still is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University, and he earned an MBA at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.
In addition to Nager, two members of the Executive Committee retired at the 2014 Annual Meeting: Peter M. Castleman, of Glenbrook, Nev.; and Gary R. Stevenson, of San Francisco, Calif.