Eventually, Nager joined the Chevy Chase Club as well, and he regularly played with O’Connor and Viet Dinh, another former O’Connor clerk who is now a professor at Georgetown Law School.
“She hits the ball disgustingly straight,” Nager said. “There was a reason she was the center of the court all those years.”
As he grew more interested in golf, Nager grew more interested in the rules. “I’m a lawyer,” he said, “and lawyers get sort of trained in rules and precision.” That interest became more intense when he served as the USGA’s general counsel.
“For people who are good with the rules of golf, it takes years and years to master them,” Davis said. “Glen was almost an exception to that. He has become truly one of the best in the world with the rules of golf.”
Now, Nager will have input not just in the rules, but into the entire future of the sport.
“He’s a consummate coalition builder,” Dinh said. “He makes everybody feel appreciated and nobody feels that they were overruled. But more importantly, he brings a very, very good sense of his love for the game and his respect for the game.”
Nager knows, too, this is a tenuous time for his sport. Participation rates in the United States, he said, are down almost 13 percent since 2003. Studies by the PGA of America indicate players are finding golf takes too long, that it’s too expensive, that they, as Nager said, “find it not welcoming.”
“The challenge for those of us involved in the governance of the game is to maintain the great traditions of the game – promote the values of honesty, integrity, sportsmanship,” Nager said, “and at the same time evolve the game to make it more open, more enjoyable.”