2020 Writing Contest Results


 HOUSTON (February 27, 2020) – Tiger Woods and Dan Jenkins dominated the contest headlines last year and, not surprisingly, the 2020 GWAA Writing Contest.

Golf Digest writers won in five categories, including tributes by Jerry Tarde and Tom Callahan for their late colleague, Jenkins, and Dave Kindred on Tiger’s improbable Masters victory.

Tiger’s comeback was also the subject of the winning Special Projects entry put together by writers Jaime Diaz, Randall Mell, Rex Hoggard, Will Gray, Ryan Lavner and Mercer Baggs.

It was Diaz’ 11th career first-place and he is joined at 11 wins by’s Alan Shipnuck, who won for his ground-breaking investigation into Kevin Na’s complicated relationship with Korean media after Na won in Las Vegas last fall.

Callahan won his 10th first-place with a tribute to his long-time friend and GWAA icon Jenkins and joins Jenkins and Scott Michaux as 10-time winners. Tarde and Kindred each won for the sixth time – Tarde for his Non-Daily Column on Jenkins, Kindred for his Game Story on Tiger’s improbable Masters win.

Max Adler of won his fourth career first, this one in Daily Features for his story on Valentino Dixon, whose drawings of Amen Corner helped him survive prison after being falsely accused before finally being released. Shane Ryan, also from, won Daily Columns for a look – with a literary twist – at how golf needs more courses like Bethpage Black.

Shipnuck also won a second in News, while Lavner took home a second place in Daily Features. Other multiple award-winners were‘s Dylan Dethier, who tied for second in Daily Columns and was third in News, and Gary Van Sickle, who was tied for second in Daily Columns for and was second in Special Projects for

The winners will be honored April 8 at the ISPS HANDA GWAA 48th Annual Awards Dinner presented by the LPGA, PGA of America, PGA TOUR and USGA. The event will be at Savannah Rapids Pavilion in Augusta, Ga.

The full list of winners follows, as well links to the winning stories and a judges’ comment on each first-place story:

Shipnuck’s look at Na: “This was a complicated story to tell, not just because of a language barrier but also because the average golf fan/reader didn’t know much of the back story that caused Na such anguish. The author handled a sensitive topic and provided important perspective.”

Kindred’s column on Tiger’s 15th major: “This tale of Tiger Woods winning the 2019 Masters sweeps the reader along in tightly-crafted writing and captures the rich flavor and electricity of one of the momentous stories in the history of the game.”

Ryan’s twist on Bethpage Black: “The headline says it all. If you are journeying from L’empire De La Morte in Paris to Dante’s Gates of Hell, and want a little golf mixed in, this writer is the one to get you there.”

Adler on Dixon’s journey from a jail cell to Augusta National: “Falsely-accused man who spent time in prison drawing pictures of Amen Corner finally gets to see it in person after being released. Well-done piece informs us that the man credits art and golf, which he had known nothing about, in helping survive behind bars.”

Tarde on Jenkins: Non-Daily Columns: “A warm, easy-to-read look at Jenkins the character and the person. Nicely done and quite revealing.”

Callahan’s look at Jenkins’ life: “A portrait of the man who was one of the best sports journalists of this or any generation. So well written. Very humorous and insightful, just like Dan Jenkins his ownself!”’s multi-story project on Tiger’s comeback: “It was as complete a look into golf’s troubled superstar as has ever been. It was an even look at the rise, fall and rise of Tiger Woods on and off the course. It required a great deal of reporting”


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

There were 386 total entries in the 2020 contest.


NEWS STORIES – 1,  Alan Shipnuck, “Na fights for his name,”; 2, Alan Shipnuck, “Fellow pros watched Tiger’s victory,”; 3, Dylan Dethier, “Inside Reed’s waste-area penalty,”

Honorable mention — Michael Bamberger, “Caddie claims Kuchar stiffed him,”; John Feinstein, “She’s my hero,”; Adam Schupak, “Kuchar shifts into damage control,”;  Brian Wacker, “Golfers lead hurricane relief,”

 GAME STORIES – 1, Dave Kindred, “Tiger’s improbable 15th major,”; 2, Mike McAllister, “From despair to Claret Jug,”;  3, Ian O’Connor, “Woodland’s journey to Open champ,”

Honorable mention — Joel Beall, “Inside 47 tense minutes,”; Ryan Lavner, “Tiger’s roar returns,”;  Cameron Morfit, “Soaking up Tiger history,

DAILY COLUMNS  —  1, Shane Ryan, “Golf needs more sinister courses like Bethpage,”, April 15;  2, (TIE) — Gary VanSickle, “What if Tiger wins today?”; Dylan Dethier, “Why Tiger’s win matters,”

Honorable mention — Max Adler, “Phil knows better,”;  Michael Bamberger, “Ireland watches Lowry win,”;  Martin Kaufmann, “Augusta event won’t do much for women’s golf,”

 DAILY FEATURES — 1. Max Adler, “From jail cell to Amen Corner,”; 2, Ryan Lavner, “Haley Moore’s long journey,”; 3, Gary D’Amato, “Hero in their midst,”

Honorable mention — Josh Berhow, “The search for a $10 putter’s owner,”; Ian O’Connor, “Tiger was done but Joe wasn’t,”; Ian O’Connor, “Rory and a complicated Open,”

NON-DAILY COLUMNS – 1, Jerry Tarde, “We we’re lucky to know Jenkins,” Golf Digest; 2, Dave Shedloski, “To quit or not to quit,” The Memorial Magazine; 3, Martin Kaufmann, “New rules, same slow play,” Washington Examiner.

Honorable mention — Tom Coyne, “They don’t ask how,” The Golfer’s Journal; Martin Kaufmann, “Muni money pits,” Washington Examiner; Ron Whitten, “Nice life, Alice,” Golf Digest.

NON-DAILY FEATURES – 1, Tom Callahan, “Raise a glass to Dan Jenkins,” Golf Digest; 2, James Yang, “How to hang out at your 1st Masters,” Golf Digest; 3, Adam Schupak, “Taken hostage in Augusta’s pro shop,” Golf Magazine.

Honorable mention — Martin Kaufmann, “How Tiger changed his stripes,” Washington Examiner; Alan Shipnuck, “Tragic murder of a golfer,” Golf Magazine; Guy Yocom, “It’s time to remember Sam Snead, Golf Digest.

SPECIAL PROJECTS – 1, Jaime Diaz, Randall Mell, Rex Hoggard, Will Gray, Ryan Lavner, Mercer Baggs, “Tiger, The Comeback,”; 2, Gary VanSickle, “The secret Masters,”; 3, Dan Jenkins, Jerry Tarde, Guy Yocom, Mark Frost, “The GOAT Invitational,” Golf Digest.

Honorable mention — Josh Berhow, “Meet Augusta’s women,”; Joel Beall, Mike Stachura, Matthew Rudy, Brittany Romano, “Is CBD golf’s magic potion?” Golf Digest; Guy Yocom, “My shot with Lee Elder,” Golf Digest.