Story written by Janeen Driscoll, USGA (click here for original source)
The USGA will bestow its highest honor, the Bob Jones Award, on Dennis Walters of Jupiter, Fla., at a ceremony on June 13, 2018, one of the highlights of U.S. Open Championship week in Southampton, N.Y.
Presented annually since 1955, the Bob Jones Award recognizes an individual who demonstrates the spirit, personal character and respect for the game exhibited by Jones, winner of nine USGA championships.
Known for his never-say-quit attitude, Walters turned the tragedy of being paralyzed from the waist down at age 24 from a golf-cart accident into a personal mission to teach golf and life lessons to a worldwide audience. His story continues to inspire fans of all backgrounds through the countless professional talks and trick-shot shows he has conducted since 1977.
“Dennis Walters exemplifies the values, dedication and passion for golf that all true champions of the game possess,” said Mike Davis, executive director/CEO of the USGA. “He inspires all of us with his belief that anyone can play the game, delivering life lessons through golf, and showing that anything is possible in both life and golf if you’re willing to work hard enough.”
The award ceremony will take place Wednesday evening of U.S. Open week at Sebonack Golf Club, in close proximity to historic Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, site of the 118th U.S. Open Championship. Among the featured speakers for the invitation-only event will be Jack Nicklaus, eight-time USGA champion, 1975 Bob Jones Award winner, and one of Walters’ longtime supporters and friends.
In 1967, at the age of 17, Walters won the New Jersey Junior Championship, Caddie Championship and Public Links Junior Championship, an unprecedented triple crown. He attended North Texas State on a golf scholarship and finished 11th in the 1971 U.S. Amateur Championship. He had reached the final stage of the PGA Tour’s Qualifying School when the accident changed his life.