Jack Berry, the 2007 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism, is the 18th individual to be recognized with this Award. The award honors members of the media for their steadfast promotion of golf.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Jack Berry, of W. Bloomfield, Mich., whose five decades of reporting featured more than 70 of golf’s major Championships, as well as the promotion of the PGA Professional, has been named recipient of the 2007 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism. Berry is the 18th individual to be recognized with this Award.
Berry, 75, will be honored April 4, 2007, at the 35th Golf Writers Association of America Annual Spring Dinner and Awards Ceremony at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion in Augusta, Ga.
"It is with a great deal of pride that The PGA of America presents this award to Jack Berry, a professional who has enlightened us all by both his attention to detail and wit, and has captured the best in the game of golf in his work," said PGA of America President Brian Whitcomb. "Mr. Berry has spent his journalistic career covering the landmark events, but he also has been a tireless servant of the game by promoting local golf and elevating the PGA Professional’s vocation to the general public."
Born in Detroit, Berry began a lifelong love affair with sports as a baseball fan, following his father, Clair, who was the traveling secretary for the Detroit Tigers. Jack Berry picked up a golf club, his father’s wooden-shaft driver, for the first time in high school. He learned the game through the late PGA Professional Chet Jawor, who was PGA head professional for Detroit’s six municipal golf courses.
"I soon became a big fan of the PGA Professional," said Berry. "I always liked what they did for the game and all were good guys and completely different than the Tour professional. I was fortunate that the two newspapers where I worked (Detroit Free Press and Detroit News) had a good tradition of local golf coverage.
I enjoyed the opportunity to work with people in the community in covering golf. I am very honored to receive this Award, considering those who have preceded me."
Berry attended Marquette University from 1949-1951, and also served two years in the U.S. Army from 1952-54. Upon his discharge, he finished his college education and graduated from Michigan State University in 1956.
His journalism career began as a correspondent for United Press (1956-59), where he distinguished himself through his versatility, covering professional and local sports as the wire service’s sports editor for the state of Michigan.
Berry joined the Detroit Free Press in 1959, and spent the next 12 years on the sports staff. He marked his first Tour event when he covered the 1958 Buick Open in Grand Blanc, Mich.
His professional sports "beat" featured the Detroit Red Wings of the then-six-team National Hockey League; and he marked his first major Championship in 1961, at the U.S. Open at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Mich.
Berry joined the Detroit News in 1971, and remained its premier golf writer through 1993, during which time he developed a relationship with Michigan PGA Professionals and the Free Press Junior Golf Program, which collaborated with the Detroit Recreation Department. It is a program "that was a forerunner to today’s First Tee in providing opportunities for young people to join the game," said Berry.
In 1984, Berry was named the 27th president of the Golf Writers Association of America, making him the second journalist from the Detroit News (preceded by John Walter in 1958-59) to hold that position. Berry also served as GWAA secretary-treasurer from 1990-98.
Following his Detroit News’ career, Berry became one of the most prolific golf freelance writers, with columns and features appearing in PGA Magazine, Chicagoland Golf and the Michigan Golfer. He is the recipient of the 1997 Golf Association of Michigan Distinguished Service Award. In 2003, he became the second journalist inducted into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, joining the late Walter. Among the members of the Michigan Hall of Fame are legendary five-time PGA Champion and founding PGA member Walter Hagen, and
1953 PGA Champion Walter Burkemo.
Berry marked the 1986 Masters, when Jack Nicklaus conquered Augusta National Golf Club at age 46, as not only his most memorable golf event as a reporter, but also a defining moment in his life. Berry nearly died following the Masters. He was stricken with acute viral myocarditis two weeks earlier at the Players Championship. After enduring great pain and energy loss during the Masters, he arrived home to enter the emergency room of the local hospital.
"I arrived with heart, liver and kidney failure, and in shock," said Berry.
"I almost made the final six-footer."
Some two years later, Berry’s recovery was complete, as he competed in the New York City Marathon.
His reporting has also ventured into horse racing, where he chronicled Secretariat’s path to the 1973 Triple Crown; to Super Bowl VII, where the Miami Dolphins became the NFL’s first and only unbeaten championship team at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1973; and to Lake Placid, N.Y., where the 1980 United States Olympic Hockey Team upset the squad from the former Soviet Union in the famous "Miracle on Ice."
Berry and his wife, Bonnie Humm, live in W. Bloomfield. He is the father of four daughters: Anne Daugherty, of Birmingham, Mich., Susan Berry, of Chicago, Karen Gebhardt, of Cedar Springs, Mich., and Jill Berry, of Chicago.
The PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism, first presented in 1989, honors members of the media for their steadfast promotion of golf. Past Award winners include: Dick Taylor, Herbert Warren Wind, Jim Murray, Frank Chirkinian, Bob Green, Dan Jenkins, Furman Bisher, Jack Whitaker, Dave Anderson, Ken Venturi, Jim McKay, Kaye Kessler, Nick Seitz, Renton Laidlaw, Bob Verdi, Al Barkow and Ron Green Sr.
The Award selection committee is composed of representatives from The PGA of America, PGA Tour, USGA, LPGA Tour, Champions Tour, European Tour, Golf Superintendents Association of America, National Golf Course Owners Association, American Society of Golf Course Architects, National Golf Foundation and past recipients.
The PGA of America is the world’s largest working sports organization, comprised of 28,000 men and women golf Professionals who are the recognized experts in growing, teaching and managing the game of golf, while serving millions of people throughout its 41 PGA Sections nationwide. Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has enhanced its leadership position in a $62 billion-a-year industry by growing the game of golf through its premier spectator events, world-class education and training programs, significant philanthropic outreach initiatives and award-winning golf promotions. Today’s PGA Professional is the public’s link to the game, serving an essential role in the operation of golf facilities throughout the country.