2019 Writing Contest Results


HOUSTON (February 28, 2019) – It was a year when Tiger Woods’ comeback shared headlines with new faces, familiar places, forgotten champions and, as always, a few looks back into the game’s past.

The winning stories in the 2019 GWAA Writing Contest reflected the diversity and changes in the game and the way we cover it as the GWAA honored, among others, stories on Tiger, Masters champion Patrick Reed, David Feherty and the murder of a young Iowa State golfer.

Golf Magazine’s Alan Shipnuck and former Augusta Chronicle columnist Scott Michaux each picked up the 10th first places of their careers — Shipnuck in Non-Daily Columns for a piece on how today’s game has gone soft; Michaux in Special Projects for his look at Masters champion Sergio Garcia — while Golf and Golf Digest picked up two wins each. Shipnuck and Michaux join Dan Jenkins and Jaime Diaz as the organization’s only 10-time winners.’s Dylan Dethier was a first-time winner with his News Story on the murder of Iowa State’s Celia Barquin Arozamena, while Digest’s Dave Kindred picked up his fifth career win in Game Stories. Golf Digest swept the Non-Daily Features category with John Feinstein picking up his second career win, this one, with an in-depth look at Feherty’s complex life.

Ian O’Connor of became a seven-time winner with his Daily Columns win with a column on Patrick Reed’s family watching him win from three miles away, while Global Golf Post’s Steve Eubanks picked up his first win with a Daily Feature on former U.S. Open champion J.J. McDermott, who lived his adult life with mental illness.

All winners will be honored April 10 at the ISPS HANDA GWAA 47th Annual Awards Dinner presented by the LPGA, PGA of America, PGA TOUR and USGA. The event is held at Savannah Rapids Pavilion in Augusta, Ga.

The full list of winners follows at look at the winning stories, which includes a judges’ comment and link to the story:

Dethier’s story on Celia Barquin Arozamena – “This is great storytelling. The writer skillfully employs the knowledge of sports with police reporting and human interest to tell a complete, compelling story.”

Kindred’s piece on Tiger at the PGA: “To write simply that Tiger Woods was climbing leader boards again would be missing the point. It is what went into that. The writer captured the magnitude of Woods’ achievement and what a great player’s return meant to the sport.”

O’Connor’s column on Reed’s family: “The Reed family piece was not only well written but provided new and heart-breaking details into a highly-publicized and very personal situation.”

Eubanks’ feature on McDermott: “I love history lessons. This story told me something I didn’t know in a very compelling, emotional, well-written way.”

Shipnuck’s column: “A well-wrought opinion, probably shared by many, about the ‘wussification’ of the game, deftly handled with both light-hearted humor and hard-edged commentary.”

Feinstein on Feherty: “The story-telling on the Feherty piece hooked me from beginning to end. It didn’t just tackle emotionally difficult and painful subjects (suicide, mental illness) but did so with dignity while being honest.”

Michaux on Garcia: “Well written, and with much new information. This story earns a green jacket.”


The following is a full list of the winners, including honorable mentions.

There were 359 entries in the 2019 contest

NEWS – 1, Dylan Dethier,, Murder stuns collegians; 2,  Alan Shipnuck,, My son is a Masters champion; 3, Gary Van Sickle,, Woods proves he’s still got it.

Honorable mention — Mike McAllister,, Calmest guy in the room wins Open; Adam Schupak,, Masters tix: buyer, seller beware; Art Stricklin,, PGA eyes move to Texas; Guy Yocom, Golf Digest, Don’t mess Shinnecock up again.

GAME STORIES – 1, Dave Kindred,, Tiger didn’t win PGA, or did he?; 2, Gary Van Sickle,, A Strange feat for Koepka; 3,Ryan Lavner,, Reed wins Masters.

Honorable mention — Joel Beall,, Tiger Woods wins; Dave Kindred,, Reed is an imperfect champion; Brian Wacker,, Koepka is more than a bomber; Sean Zak,, Branch derails Spieth’s charge.

DAILY COLUMNS – 1, Ian O’Connor,, Reed’s family sees win from afar; 2, Randall Mell,, Betting will bring in blowhards; 3; Steve Eubanks, Global Golf Post, The mystery of S.H. Park.

Honorable mention — Martin Kaufmann,, Hallelujah, Tiger; Ian O’Connor,, Why Mickelson should withdraw; Brian Wacker,, Mickelson has to live down his actions.

DAILY FEATURES – 1, Steve Eubanks, Global Golf Post, America’s greatest forgotten golfer; 2, Ryan Lavner,, Life after Hurricane Harvey; 3, John Hopkins, Global Golf Post, Five sons, one legend.

Honorable mention — Michael Bamberger,, Cam Champ is it for golf; Helen Ross,, Safeway Open rebounds from wildfires; Adam Schupak,, How Reed mastered Augusta; Alan Shipnuck,, Fighting for a miracle.

NON-DAILY COLUMNS – 1, Alan Shipnuck, Golf Magazine, Today’s game has gone soft; 2, Jerry Tarde, Golf Digest, Golf’s best waggle is gone; 3, Steve Rushin, Golf Digest, Why New York loves Phil.

Honorable mention — Michael Bamberger, Golf Magazine, This land is their land; John Barton, Golf Digest, First tango in Paris; Helen Ross, Pinehurst Living, Saying goodbye; Steve Rushin, Golf Digest, Golf wins over other sports stars.

NON-DAILY FEATURES – 1, John Feinstein, Golf Digest, Feherty smiles through the tears; 2, Ron Whitten, Golf Digest, Pete Dye’s final chapter; 3, John Barton, Golf Digest, My last round.

Honorable mention — Beth Ann Nichols, GolfWeek, Garcia’s family affair; Adam Schupak, ScoreGolf, The renaissance of Tiger; Alan Shipnuck, Golf Magazine, Tragic tale of Wayne Westner.

SPECIAL PROJECTS – 1, Scott Michaux, Augusta Chronicle, Sergio Sheds a Major Label; 2, Mercer Baggs and Ryan Lavner,, Carnoustie 1999; 3, Max Adler and Jeffrey Toobin, Golf Digest, Valentino’s Redemption.

Honorable Mention — Bob Harig,, How Tiger limped to US Open win; John Huggan and Dave Shedloski, Golf Digest, The bogey that won at Birkdale; John Strege,, How we watch the Masters.