Jim Dent and Vaughn Taylor, two Augustans who rose to success in golf, are this year’s honorees for the Mayor’s Masters Reception, Mayor Hardie Davis announced Friday.
Dent and Taylor each “have made significant contributions in the game of golf, whether it be starting playing here in the community,” Davis said, or “to the game of junior golf,” Davis said at a news conference.
Taylor is the namesake for the E-Z-Go Vaughn Taylor Championship, an annual junior golf tournament held at Jones Creek Golf Club, while Dent, named an Augusta “local legend” in 2013, grew up caddying at Augusta Country Club and Augusta National Golf Club and paved the way for black youngsters to play the game.
An inductee in the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, Dent played in 403 PGA Tour events. He found major success after joining the Champions Tour in 1989, winning 12 times and earning nearly $9 million.
Taylor, who lives in Evans, is a three-time PGA Tour champion and played on the 2006 Ryder Cub team.
The Mayor’s Masters Reception is a Masters Week tradition started by former Augusta Mayor Bob Young. From 2004 to 2013 honorees were Masters champions including Ben Crenshaw, Billy Casper, Tom Watson, Craig Stadler, Larry Mize and Fuzzy Zoeller.
Held the Monday of Masters Week, the reception has allowed the public to mingle with golfing greats.
The event shifted course at Davis’ first reception in 2015 by honoring longtime Crenshaw caddie Carl Jackson, then in 2016 Georgia female golf legend Nancy Lopez was the honoree.
Last year, Davis honored Georgia golf hall-of-famer Laura Coble, E-Z-Go founder Bev Dolan and Masters Tournament noncompeting marker Jeff Knox, all Augusta natives, at the reception.
Davis also named several new members of the reception committee who he said have been working since last year to ensure the event is a success. They included Rebecca Best of Emineo Marketing, Augusta University Athletic Director Clint Bryant, E-Z-Go’s Brandon Haddock and Katie English, Karen Gordon of Garden City Jazz and Par-Tee on the Green, Augusta Commissioner Bill Fennoy, De Pierce of Mercedes-Benz of Augusta and Doctors Hospital President and CEO Doug Welch.