SBD/March 15, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Sheila Johnson Hopes New Position With USGA Helps Grow Participation In Golf

Johnson brings valuable experience to the USGA Exec Committee
Monumental Sports & Entertainment Vice Chair SHEILA JOHNSON “represents a potential catalyst who has the determination and wherewithal to ignite interest among golf’s most underrepresented constituents,” according to Gene Yasuda of GOLFWEEK. She was recently appointed to the USGA Exec Committee “at a time when a growing number of USGA critics say the association is losing touch with everyday golf and isn’t doing enough to boost participation.” USGA President GLEN NAGER “makes no bones about the purpose of Johnson’s recruitment.” Nager said, “Sheila brings to the USGA both experience and an important perspective as we continue our work to make the game more welcoming, especially among women and minority golfers.” Yasuda writes Johnson “doesn’t view golf, or athletics, in general, as mere sport, but a vehicle for societal reform.” Johnson said, “If we had more acceptance of women in sports, you would not see a lot of the problems of self-esteem. You’d see more women learning to be successful in corporate fields.” Johnson has “reinvented herself as a golf-resort owner” in what she likes to say is “Act III of my life.” Johnson, since developing the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Va., “has added" Reunion Resort & Spa in Orlando and Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, Fla., "to her company." Though her goal “isn’t necessarily to build an empire, Johnson is eyeing select acquisitions” (GOLFWEEK, 3/15 issue).

TOURNAMENT CHAMPION: In Tampa, Rodney Page wrote the PGA Tour will keep an event in the Tampa area if Johnson “has anything to do with it.” Johnson, who owns Innisbrook Resort & Golf Resort, site of this week's Tampa Bay Championship, said, “I am going to make sure this tournament stays around. We’re very aggressively trying to find a sponsor. The PGA [Tour] really loves this tournament. TIM FINCHEM and everybody has been telling us we need to keep it here” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 3/14).
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