Johnny Miller, Billy Casper, Olympians and Utah Athletes among those to be recognized

Salt Lake City, Utah – February 25, 2014 – The Utah Sports Commission is pleased to announce that golf legend, renowned course designer, global ambassador and philanthropist Jack Nicklaus will be a special guest at the 3rd annual Governor’s State of Sport Awards dinner to be held Tuesday, April 22 from 7:00-9:30 pm at EnergySolutions Arena.

Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert will provide remarks, and Jack Nicklaus will join honorees and good friends Johnny Miller and Billy Casper on stage for a Q&A to entertain those in attendance at the awards dinner.

“Sports are a major part of this state’s cultural identity and each year hundreds of thousands gather in Utah to witness exciting sporting events, to celebrate athleticism and individual excellence,” said Governor Herbert. “Golf is one of my favorite sports, not only to play, but also to watch. I am truly honored to welcome one of the game’s greatest, Jack Nicklaus, as he joins us for this event.”

Jack’s competitive career spanned five decades, and his legend has been built with 120 professional tournament victories worldwide and a record 18 professional major-championship titles (six Masters, five PGA Championships, four U.S. Opens, three British Opens). He is one of only five golfers?›ƒ?ªƒ?Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Tiger Woods the others?›ƒ?ªƒ?who have won all four of golf’s modern majors, an achievement often referred to as the career “Grand Slam.”

Golf legends Johnny Miller and Billy Casper will receive the Governor’s State of Sport Lifetime Achievement Award for their outstanding contributions to golf and sports in Utah. Miller was one of the top players in the world during the mid-1970s and the first to shoot a 63 in a major championship. He won 25 PGA Tour events, including two majors and currently is the lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. Billy was one of the winningest golfers in PGA Tour history during the period between 1950-70. His career included 51 PGA Tour victories, three of the wins being majors. He holds the distinction of being one of the game’s best putters.

?›ƒ?ª?Johnny and Billy are not only two of the greatest competitors our game has seen, they are two of the kindest, most charitable, and dedicated family men I have ever met and can proudly call my friends,?›ƒ?ª? Nicklaus said. ?›ƒ?ª?Billy?›ƒ?ªƒ?›s record speaks for itself. He was a tough competitor and as I have said many times, when I looked up at a leader board down the stretch of a tournament, I wasn?›ƒ?ªƒ?›t just looking to see where Arnold Palmer or Gary Player or Lee Trevino were. I was also checking to see where Billy Casper was. Johnny Miller has been a great friend and competitor for many years. There was a period when if Johnny Miller was at his best, no one was better than he. Johnny was as good as anyone in the game. He was a terrific striker of the golf ball and had a wonderful short game.

?›ƒ?ª?Just like Billy, Johnny is a great family man, with wonderful children and balance to his life. Golf was not the most important thing in his life?›ƒ?ªƒ?family was. There was and remains much more to these two gentlemen than golf.?›ƒ?ª?

The event will also pay special tribute to several Team USA Olympians, many who live and train in Utah, for their accomplishments at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

The Governor’s State of Sport Awards, hosted by the Utah Sports Commission and presented by Zions Bank, celebrate Utah’s sports community and honors excellence in high school, amateur, collegiate, Olympic and professional sports. Sports fans will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite athletes, coaches, players, plays and events. The event also recognizes key sports partners who have been instrumental in helping to build Utah’s sports industry.

“The Utah Sports Commission is excited to host the 3rd annual Utah ‘fan’s choice’ award event that will allow sports fans and citizens in Utah to have a voice in selecting and recognizing those who inspire, entertain and thrill them,” said Jeff Robbins, president & CEO of the Utah Sports Commission. “And we could not create this event without the help of our terrific partners including Zions Bank, Red Ledges, KUTV2, 1280 The Zone, ESPN 700, Layton Construction, Price Realty, Comcast and many others.”

The awards will be for the 2013 calendar year and will include High School Female Athlete, High School Male Athlete, Female Collegiate or Pro Athlete, Male Collegiate Athlete, Male Professional Athlete, Team of the Year, Play or Highlight of the Year, Game/Event of the Year and Coach of the Year. The nominees were selected by a committee comprised of members of the sports media and community at large. Nominees in each category are scheduled to be announced Sunday, March 16, 2014, at which time, fans can visit www.stateofsportawards.com and vote for their favorites. Voting will conclude on Wednesday, April 16th at midnight.

Utah is known as the ‘State of Sport’, and for good reason. From its hosting of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games to its world-class venues, professional teams, robust youth and high school sports and storied collegiate traditions, Utah has carved a distinct reputation as a key national and international sports destination. It is once again time for fans across the state to weigh in when it comes to athletes, coaches, and events. The Governor’s State of Sport Awards will honor sports excellence in the State of Utah as judged by you, the fans.

For tickets or sponsorship information call the Utah Sports Commission at 801-328-2372.


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