From The Inbox

The Bear facts about Beman and PGA Tour

Yes, Deane Beman played a key role in forming the sponsorship titan that is today’s PGA Tour, but little-known Art West had a hand in developing the vision, too, reader writes

I agree with John Hawkins’ assessment of Deane Beman (“PGA Tour’s greatest commissioner? It’s a gimme,” April 28).

I was the director of golf at RJR Nabisco Sports marketing during the Beman era, so I oversaw much of the funding for the sponsorships that Hawkins mentioned. There were so many innovative programs brought to golf tours then that still exist.

The man on whom Beman relied to develop these and others listed below gets little or no credit, other than a brief mention in Beman’s book (“Golf’s Driving Force,” by former Morning Read contributor Adam Schupak). Art West headed and actually created the marketing for the PGA Tour. Among the programs he either created from his own ideas or developed are:

* scoreboards
* logo
* statistics
* medical facility on Tour
* first season-long points system, the Nabisco Grand Prix, leading to the Tour Championship.

Sometime this very creative and savvy marketer should get some credit for his brilliance and perseverance.

Roger Bear
Bermuda Run, N.C.

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