Frank “Sandy” Tatum, one of the most influential and important figures in American golf for several decades, passed away Thursday at age 96.
Tatum was a giant in the game through his insight, intuition and initiative, offering his ideas and influence to help steer golf through years of change.
In some ways, Tatum was golf’s unofficial ambassador with his shock of white hair and his passion for the game.
Having attended Stanford, where he was member of NCAA Championship golf teams in 1941 and 1942, and later as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, Tatum grew up in the game and spent his lifetime in service to golf.
Tatum was president of the USGA from 1978-80 and later served on the powerful USGA Executive Committee. It was Tatum who was largely responsible for the brutal setup in the 1974 U.S. Open, the so-called “Massacre at Winged Foot” when Hale Irwin won the championship at 7-over par.
Asked once if the USGA was intent on embarrassing the game’s top players, Tatum famously said, “We’re not trying to embarrass the best players in the game, we’re trying to identify them.”
A member of San Francisco Golf Club and Cypress Point, Tatum was also instrumental in rejuvenating Harding Park in San Francisco, bringing the public course back to its former glory. It eventually landed two World Golf Championship events, a Presidents Cup and the 2020 PGA Championship.
Tatum’s book about his life in golf was titled, A Love Affair With The Game.
The game lost a giant on Thursday.