Inducted Thursday, October 14, 2015 at Chartiers Country Club
A native of Crafton near Pittsburgh, Donald Giffin, whose nickname of Doc was already established, entered the University of Pittsburgh planning to study law. Things changed when he began writing for the Pitt News, first as sports editor, then as editor. Among his fellow Pitt reporters was Myron Kopelman, later known to the sports world as Myron Cope. Giffin's first press job was with United Press International as a stringer.
Giffin began his writing career as a sportswriter for the Pittsburgh Press in the 1950s after serving in the US Army during the Korean War. In addition to Cope, he worked at the Press with gifted writers and colorful personalities such as Beano Cook and Bob Drum. With Drum's urging (Drum threatened never to speak to him again is Doc turned down the job), Giffin accepted the job as Press Secretary for the PGA Tour in 1962, where he established a reputation for his knowledge of Tour statistics and his ability to relate to both players and the media.
Giffin left the Tour in 1966 to begin working for Arnold Palmer as his personal assistant. Some questioned this career move since Palmer, then 37, was nearing the end of his PGA Tour heyday. He recognized that Arnold Palmer would always need someone like him. Palmer often said, "Doc's title is personal assistant. It also is friend." Giffin has handled the human details behind his projects and activities integral to the Arnold Palmer brand. He has organized "things to do" for Palmer such as countless autograph requests and speaking engagements. They still hold a debriefing every afternoon.
In this year alone he has received the William D. Richardson Award from the Golf Writers Association of America presented annually at The Masters. He also received the Journalism Award during The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield GC in Dublin, Ohio, hosted by Jack Nicklaus. Giffin is also a member of the Tri-State PGA and the Westmoreland County Sports Halls of Fame.
About the WPGA
Founded in 1899, the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association is the steward of amateur golf in the region. Started by five Member Clubs, the association now has nearly 200 Member Clubs and 33,000 members. The WPGA conducts 14 individual competitions and 10 team events, and administers the WPGA Scholarship Fund.