2024 Writing Contest Results

Bamberger, lead way in 2024 GWAA Writing Contest

ORLANDO, Florida (Feb. 28, 2024) – A memorable year in golf produced some memorable writing, with a variety of topics and styles converging in stories to celebrate as winners in the 2024 GWAA Writing Contest are announced.

Michael Bamberger, writing for The New York Times, captured his ninth first-place award, winning in Short Features for “The Open, real golf, is finally here.” Bamberger also earned a runner-up finish in Commentary for “Reflections on a Masters,” which appeared in April on picked up victories in both Long Features and Long Profiles, becoming the only publication to double-up with firsts in the 2024 contest. Dylan Dethier, who captured a pair of first-place awards in 2022, won Long Profiles with his in-depth late-year interview and story profiling Patrick Cantlay, a hot figure at the 2023 Ryder Cup in Italy.’s Josh Berhow won in Long Features, writing “Inside America’s Most Complex Municipal Course,” which took a deep look at Hiawatha Golf Course in Minnesota and the man who helped to create it, Solomon Hughes.

LIV Golf and its pending deal with the PGA Tour continued to be a topic of interest. Mark Schlabach of won first place in News/Game Stories for a story titled, “How LIV Golf deal went down.” It was Schlabach’s second consecutive victory in News/Game Stories.’s Beth Ann Nichols, former GWAA president, won first place in Short Profiles (“Jane Park thankful for her daughter”), with a touching story about Park and her daughter, Grace, that ran at Thanksgiving. It is the fifth time that Nichols has won in the GWAA contest.

Golf Digest’s team of Madeline MacClurg, Keely Levins, Luke Kerr-Dineen, Greg Gottfried, Derek Duncan and Sam Weinman joined forces to create a project (“College Golf”) that won first place in Enterprise (formerly Special Projects).

And Alex Miceli, a strong voice at, captured first place in Commentary for his opinion column titled “Monahan will have to answer for his mistakes.” It marked the first GWAA award of Miceli’s career.

There were 364 total entries across seven categories as the GWAA Contest Committee revamped the categories this year to freshen and modernize the competition. Short Profiles and News (66 apiece) drew the highest number or entries.

Gary Van Sickle, former GWAA president and past first-place winner, had a strong showing in the contest, earning three third-place finishes (Short Features; News/Game Stories; Short Profiles) in addition to earning a pair of honorable mentions.

The GWAA Writing Contest winners will be honored at the 50th annual ISPS Handa GWAA Dinner on Wednesday, April 10 alongside three players of the year (Jon Rahm, Lilia Vu, Steve Stricker) and other GWAA award winners in Augusta, Georgia, on the eve of the 88th Masters.

Judy Rankin will receive the PGA of America’s Lifetime Achievement in Journalism, and longtime Golf Digest photographer Dom Furore will be honored with the PGA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Photojournalism.

More information: Jeff Babineau, GWAA Secretary, (407) 496-4956 or



  1. Alex Miceli, “Monahan will have to answer for mistakes,”, June 7
  2. Michael Bamberger, “Reflections on a Masters,”, April 18
  3. Tom Coyne, “Noisy time, quiet place,” Golfer’s Journal, December

Honorable mention: Ryan Lavner, “Rory’s Ryder Cup redemption,”, Oct. 1; Dylan Dethier, “Rooting against Harman at Open?”, July 22; Ron Kroichick, “Time to move on from Tiger at Masters,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 4; Josh Berhow, “Golf fans are losing,”, Dec. 8

Judge’s comment: “One line, ‘Monahan is both fireman and arsonist’ is an indication of the crisp opinion and analysis on the initial PGA Tour-LIV Golf framework agreement and how it tied to all that came before.”


  1. Madeline MacClurg, Keely Levins, Luke Kerr-Dineen, Greg Gottfried, Derek Duncan, Sam Weinman, “College Golf,” Golf Digest, October-November
  2. John Steinbreder, “Arizona seeks lead in golf’s water wars,”, Feb. 6
  3. Guy Cipriano, “Maintenance mission critical,” Golf Course Industry, September-Dececember

Honorable mention: Ron Green, Jr., Jim Nugent, John Steinbreder, “USGA, R&A push back on distance,”, Dec. 4; Jeff Babineau, “Arnie stories live on at Bay Hill,”, Feb. 28; Dave Shedloski, “The greatest college team ever,” Memorial Tournament Magazine, June

Judge’s comment: “Enterprise reporting, to me, means interesting and informative. If you’re a junior player considering college-level golf, this is a must read.”


  1. Josh Berhow, “Inside America’s most complex municipal course,”, Dec. 20
  2. Oliver Horovitz, “A journey to Nepal,” Golf Digest, February
  3. Shane Ryan, “The grinders who saved a college team,”, May 26

Honorable mention: Joel Beall, “Augusta National’s expansion debate,”, March 28; Sean Zak, “What does growing the game look like?”, July 10; Nick Piastowski, “The search for Oak Hill’s ghost,”, May 17; Joel Beall, “How Scottsdale became pro golf’s underworld,”, Dec. 19

Judge’s comment: “In a field teeming with excellent long forms on golf courses/clubs, this narrative was deeply reported, thoroughly sourced, well-written and gained my respect and attention as a reader. It made me care.”


  1. Michael Bamberger, “The Open, real golf, is finally here,” New York Times, July 20
  2. Sean Zak, “Inside chaotic race to Phoenix 16th hole,”, Feb. 11
  3. Gary Van Sickle, “Arnie’s red cardigan is a coveted prize,, March 8

Honorable mention: Brentley Romine, “Masters dinner ‘way too spicy’,”, April 5; Gary Van Sickle, “17th at Sawgrass is better than most,”, March 3; Luke Kerr-Dineen, “The ingenious trick of the 12th hole,” Golf Digest, April; Josh Berhow, “Unraveling unwritten Masters tradition,”, April 5

Judge’s comment: “Forget all the sport’s sideshows, the writer paved a wonderful trail with tales of links golf that brought us back to what we most care about.”


  1. Mark Schlabach, “How LIV Golf deal went down,”, June 12
  2. Ryan Lavner, “Harman’s hard-earned validation,”, July 23
  3. Gary Van Sickle, “Magical Masters for Rahm,”, April 9

Honorable mention: Alan Shipnuck, “Koepka back with a vengeance,”, May 22Dave Shedloski, “Europeans fume over caddie’s hat waving,”, Sept. 30Joel Beall, “Jon Rahm’s Masters moment,”, April 9

Judge’s comment: “A comprehensive and brilliantly reported story with fascinating anecdotal material that gives the reader a great feel for the issues and principals involved in a complex subject.”


  1. Dylan Dethier, “Cantlay speaks,”, Dec. 31
  2. Judd Spicer, “The unbreakable spirit of Tracy Drake,” FORE Magazine, February
  3. Patrick Hand, “The legend of John Konsek,”, Aug. 31

Honorable mention: Ryan Lavner, “Bennett’s dark road to Augusta,”, April 3; Adam Schupak, “Scheffler returns to Masters as a star,”, Issue 1; Gary Van Sickle, “Larry Nelson, golf’s invisible man,” Memorial Tournament Magazine, June; Jack Hirsh, “Ruffels rebounds from Q-school blunder,”, July 6

Judge’s comment: “The reporter opened the door, a candid Patrick Cantlay walked through to make a rare appearance, and it resulted in a marvelous piece of writing and reading.”


  1. Beth Ann Nichols, “Jane Park thankful for her daughter,”, Nov. 23
  2. Joel Beall, “Polarizing Phil Mickelson,”, May 16
  3. Gary Van Sickle, “Saying goodbye to Madeleine,”, Aug. 16

Honorable mention: Joel Beall, “Tiger Woods doesn’t have much left,”, April 9; James Colgan, “Johnson wins in LIV vs. Tour,”, June 15; Alex Myers, “Iowa hoops star says golf helps her game,” Golf Digest, September

Judge’s comment: “This is a story about a mother’s love, no more or less, that the author caught right on the sweet spot!”