By Bill Fields
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- It has been a nice summer of well-deserved recognition for Dave Stockton, one of golf's all-time good guys, and his family.
In June the Stocktons won the Family of the Year award from the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association. On Wednesday night, Stockton was to receive the PGA Distinguished Service Award, the PGA of America's highest annual honor on the eve of the PGA Championship, which Stockton won twice (1970, 1976).
The Distinguished Service Award goes to "outstanding individuals who display leadership and humanitarian qualities, including integrity, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the game of golf."
Stockton working with Rory McIlroy at this year's Masters. (Photo: Getty Images)
It's hard to imagine a more appropriate recipient than Stockton, 70, long one of golf's ambassadors as well as being a tough competitor who got the most out of his skills. Stockton did scores of corporate outings annually for decades because he had a easy way with people, an expert at giving instructional clinics. He also has helped raise funds for many charities and in the past few years has been an advocate for Congressional Medal of Honor winners and other veteran causes.
"I never served in the military, but my dad served in World War II," Stockton said earlier this year. "I believe that you can thank them for what they have done for our country and giving back. I never would have met our Medal of Honor recipients if it had not been through golf."
In recent years Stockton and his golf-professional sons, Ron and Dave Jr., have become popular instructors with a focus on the short game, the part of golf at which Dave always excelled. Their pupils have included Phi Mickelson, Yani Tseng, Michelle Wie and Rory McIlroy.
"So what we have is a signature approach to teaching," Stockton said of his father-sons operation. "We're going basically worldwide and having success and we're doing it together. I can't tell you how excited I am to be doing it and be relevant at the age of 70. I've gone from being the best player in the family to being the third-best teacher, but I have no problem with it because the ride is a hoot, and I'm still on one, so it's good."