Minnesota native Tom Lehman was the guest speaker and honored with the 19th Francis Ouimet Award for Lifelong Contributions to Golf at the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund’s 66th Annual Banquet. The Banquet, which has become the largest annual golf dinner in the U.S., was held Monday, April 11 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel. The Connolly Group – Morgan Stanley was again the Presenting Sponsor.
“We are so thrilled to be able to honor Tom Lehman back to the city where he had one of his greatest accomplishments in the game of golf. Golf fans in this region certainly have indelible memories from the ’99 Ryder Cup” Gregory J. Gailius, Ouimet Fund President, said. “Tom is widely regarded as one of the game’s ‘good guys’ and we were excited to have him as this year’s honoree.”
Lehman has experienced success at every level of golf as he’s the only player in history to finish the season atop the PGA (1996), Champions (2011) and web.com (1991) tour money lists. He overcame a rocky start to his career but persevered, finishing within the top 75 of the TOUR’s money list for 13 seasons in a row, a testament to his consistency. He tasted victory five times on Tour, including the 1996 British Open Championship, and winning the Tour Championship that same year on his way to Player of the Year accolades. Lehman has had the honor of representing the United States six times in international competition, appearing on three Ryder Cup (1995, 1997 and 1999) teams and three President Cup (1994, 1996, and 2000) squads. Captain Ben Crenshaw tabbed Lehman to lead off singles play in the 1999 Ryder Cup at the Country Club in Brookline. The likable Minnesotan defeated Lee Westwood 3&2 as the USA completed an epic comeback that lives forever in golf lore. He went on to become Ryder Cup Captain in 2006, a Vice Captain in 2010, and will be Vice Captain of the Ryder Cup Team this year at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota. Mr. Lehman is a Minnesota native.
Mr. Lehman has continued with great success on the Champions Tour, including the Senior PGA Championship in 2010. In 2011 he won three times, finishing atop the money list, and capturing the Charles Schwab Cup. One of those 2011 titles was the Tradition, another major, which he successfully defended in 2012. The momentum has continued into the present as he has found himself within the top 20 of the season-ending money list from 2012 – 2015. He is currently 4th on the 2016 money list and 30th in all-time Champions Tour earnings. He opened the season with a runner-up finish to Duffy Waldorf at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship. He has also branched out into golf course design, with several highly acclaimed projects.
He is highly regarded for his numerous charitable involvements and deep religious conviction and has been honored with the Payne Stewart and Byron Nelson Awards.
The Francis Ouimet Award for Lifelong Contributions to Golf became part of the Ouimet Annual Banquet when Arnold Palmer was honored. Subsequent honorees have been Gene Sarazen, Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, Ken Venturi & Eddie Lowery, Former President George H.W. Bush, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Nancy Lopez, Greg Norman, Peter Jacobsen, Jack & Barbara Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Annika Sorenstam, Mark O’Meara, and Mr. Ouimet himself in 2013, the Centennial of his historic U.S. Open victory.