David_FayDecember 27 - United States Golf Association (USGA) executive director David Fay, who was instrumental in helping the sport regain its place in the Olympics, will retire at the end of this week, he has announced.

Fay served as the head of the organisation for 21 years and helped mold the U.S. Open into one of the top events in sports. He was extremely instrumental in bringing the U.S. Open to public courses, such as Bethpage Black in 2002 and 2009, as well as Torrey Pines in 2008.

Fay also served since 1991 as joint secretary of the International Golf Federation (IGF) and played a role in helping golf return to the Olympics at Rio de Janeiro in 2016 after an absence of 112 years.

"David's passion for the game can be matched only by his passion for the people and the mission of the United States Golf Association," said Jim Hyler, President of the USGA.

"He has been a steadfast advocate for the game and our national championships and the USGA is thankful for his service."

Mike Butz, USGA deputy executive director since 1995, has been named interim acting executive director while a national search for a new executive director is conducted.

Fay, who turned 60 years old two months ago, began his career with the USGA in 1978, serving first as tournament relations manager and becoming director of program management in 1981.

He became assistant executive director in 1987 and was appointed as the sixth executive director of the USGA in 1989.

"While the strength of the USGA is not simply measured by its balance sheet, the year 2010 was, by far, the most financially successful year in the 116- year-old history of the USGA," said Fay, who will officially retire on Friday (December 31).

"Things are in good order.

"Our senior staff leaders, each of whom I have put into place, are highly talented and motivated.

"And looking ahead, there are a number of multi-year projects on the drawing board which could have long-term impact on the association.

"Which makes this, for me, a good time to move on.

"Leave on a high note, as Seinfeld would say."