Induction Ceremony, October 6, 2016
The Western Pennsylvania Golf Association’s Hall of Fame Committee has selected four outstanding champions and contributors to the game from the region for induction into the Western Pennsylvania Golf Hall of Fame. The Class of 2016 includes John Birmingham, Bob Ford, Frank B. Fuhrer, III, and Marino Parascenzo. This year’s induction ceremony will be held at Oakmont Country Club on October 6.
John Birmingham, one of the area’s top amateurs for nearly two decades, won a total of twelve WPGA titles. A longtime member of Oakmont, Birmingham won three straight West Penn Amateurs from 1966-68, the 1964 and 1972 West Penn Open, and the Tri-State Open in 1966. He also won the Pennsylvania Amateur in 1961 and 1965. His record in WPGA partner events includes victories in the 1994 Father & Son, the Fred Brand Foursomes in 1968 and 1977, and the FourBall in 1965, 1971, 1977 and 1980. Birmingham qualified for 15 U.S. Amateurs, finishing tenth during its stroke play era, and one U.S. Open. Nationally, he won the 1970 Dixie Amateur, the United States Pro-Am and he was a part of a winning team in the John R. Williams at Oak Hill. In 1977, he won both the Fred Brand Foursomes and Four-Ball championships with fellow inductee, Frank Fuhrer III. This team also won the Anderson Memorial Four-Ball at Winged Foot and the Eastern Four-Ball. As a member of the Duke University men’s golf team, he won the ACC Championship in 1959 and 1961, and was runner-up in 1960. In 1970, he was ranked 8th nationally by Golf Digest. He finished runnerup six times in the West Penn Amateur, three times in the Pennsylvania Amateur, and in the 1962 Porter Cup. He served as president of the Pennsylvania Golf Association in 1990. The West Penn Mid-Amateur trophy is named in his honor.
Bob Ford, the Director of Golf at Oakmont, was the club’s head golf professional from 1979-2015. He qualified for three U.S. Opens, finishing T-26 in the 1983 U.S. Open at Oakmont, and ten PGA Championships. Ford has won every major event locally, including the 1979 West Penn Open, the Tri-State Section PGA Section Championship and the Tri-State Open eight times each, the Frank B. Fuhrer, Jr. Invitational (formerly the Pittsburgh Open) four times, and the Tri-State Section PGA Senior Section Championship twice. He won the McKay Trophy for best scoring average seven times from the Tri-State PGA Section, and was the section’s Player of the Year on ten occasions. A winner of the PGA of America’s National Stroke Play Championship in 1988 and 1993, Ford also won the Pennsylvania Open in 1977, 1981 and 1993. He was awarded the Professional of the Year in 1987, Player of the Year in 1988, and Merchandiser of the Year in 1985 and 1997 by the PGA of America. Ford also served as president of the Tri-State Section from 1996- 1998. He was elected into the PGA National Hall of Fame and the Tri-State Section PGA Hall of Fame in 2005. The Tri-State Open Championship Trophy is named in his honor.
Frank Fuhrer III won his first WPGA title at the WPGA Boys Championship in 1973, and went on to win six different WPGA championships and eleven total. In 1976, he won the West Penn Junior and also reached the quarter-finals in the U.S. Junior. He won the C.R. Miller Memorial Match Play Invitational in 1974, the West Penn Amateur in 1978 and 1979, the West Penn Open in 1986, the West Penn Mid-Am in 1993 and 1997. He and fellow 2016 inductee, John Birmingham, teamed up to win the West Penn Four-Ball and the West Penn Fred Brand Foursomes in 1977, and the team also won the Anderson Memorial Four-Ball at Winged Foot and the Eastern Four-Ball. He also won the Fred Brand in 1996. Fuhrer is the only player to win our regional grand slam in his career – the West Penn Amateur and Open, and the Pennsylvania Amateur (1977 and 1992) and the Pennsylvania Open (1986). A long-time member of Oakmont and the Pittsburgh Field Club, his amateur career was highlighted by the 1981 season when he was ranked as the country’s #2 amateur by Golf Digest. This season included winning the Western Amateur, the only area player to do so, and competing on the Walker Cup team. Fuhrer played professional golf for nearly a decade, including three seasons on the PGA Tour. He also reached the quarterfinals in the 1996 US Mid-Amateur. An All-ACC and All-American at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, the Association’s award for the region’s outstanding collegiate player is named in his honor.
Marino Parascenzo began covering golf for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1975 and continued for three decades. His numerous accolades include more than twenty national awards. Augusta National Golf Club presented Parascenzo with the 2015 Masters Major Achievement Award during the 2015 Masters Tournament. He also received the Tri-State PGA’s Distinguished Service Award in 1997. In addition to his tireless presence at local events, he covered all of golf’s major championships, and has covered the game in nearly a dozen countries. His writings include a history of Oakmont Country Club written for its 2003 centennial. He also wrote a major article for the WPGA’s “A Century of Golf in Western Pennsylvania” on Arnold Palmer. Parascenzo’s articles have appeared in publications such as Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, Sports Illustrated and the USGA’s Golf Journal.