Had the good fortune to play at LaPurisima with Mr. Johnson , it was a real treat to see a great player play a great golf course, a well deserved honor…CGG…
SCGA Hall of Fame Welcomes 12th Class of Prestigious Inductees
October 30, 2018
The SCGA Hall of Fame inducted its 12th class Tuesday at Brookside GC in Pasadena in front of more than 200 guests. Charles Seaver, a legendary Southern California amateur who once held all three major California amateur titles at once, and Mark Johnson, a blue-collar workhorse who parlayed his day job of driving a Anheuser-Busch truck into an extensive Champions Tour career, were honored and inducted into the prestigious hall of fame.
Charles Seaver took his first golf lesson at age nine from his father and 1920 SCGA Amateur Champion, E.H. Seaver. With the game in his DNA and an elite golfer as a role model, young Charles grew up rubbing shoulders with the greats, such as Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen and Bobby Jones.
Only six years after learning the game, he captured the 1926 Southern California Junior Amateur Championship and The Los Angeles Country Club Invitational. Charles later reached the semifinals of the 1930 U.S. Amateur, all before the start of his college career.
It was not until 1932 when Charles truly became a household name. While a member of the Stanford University golf team, Seaver earned a spot on the U.S. Walker Cup team, winning the biennial competition, 8 to 1. Charles went undefeated in both his singles and foursomes matches.
His run from 1933-34 cemented him as one of the greatest amateur golfers to ever grace California’s fairways. In 1933, Charles picked up victories at the California Amateur as well as the Northern California Golf Association Amateur Championship. In 1934, he won the SCGA Amateur, joining George Von Elm as one of only two players to hold all three major California amateur titles.
"It's a shame he couldn't earn a living playing golf," said Stephen Griffith, nephew to Charles. "He would have made a wonderful professional."
Father to Baseball Hall-of-Famer Tom Seaver, Charles had success off the golf course as well. He worked in the food industry after moving to Fresno, where he introduced raisins into breakfast cereal. His lucrative career allowed him to play in what is now the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am 39 times, winning in 1964 with Mike Fetchick.
The Seaver Cup, named after Charles, was created in 1998 by the NCGA and SCGA to bring together the best players in the Golden State to compete against each other. This biennial competition continues to honor Charles’ accomplishments and passion for the game.
"He was a great believer in family and a wonderful uncle," said Griffith. "He was a very special part of my life. This is a wonderful celebration of him."
The architect of an unusual but remarkable resume, Mark Johnson enjoyed a unique career in amateur and professional golf, along with a casual 18 years of driving a beer truck.
In high school, Johnson won the CIF-SCGA Championship as an individual and immediately decided to turn professional in 1972. After two years of struggling on mini tours, he regained his amateur status while working as a delivery truck driver for Anheuser-Busch in the Mojave Desert – a job he would hold for nearly two decades.
Johnson’s early morning travels on the open road, combined with his newfound amateur status paved the way to great success throughout the 1990s. He would win three SCGA Mid-Amateur Championships, four SCGA Tournament of Club Champions titles and the 1996 California Amateur – all after the age of 35.
In 1994, he battled with a young and emerging Tiger Woods, going head-to-head in the SCGA Amateur Championship, where Johnson finished runner-up. However, he would not let Tiger steal the entire spotlight, going on to win the Pacific Coast Amateur Championship just two weeks after his run-in with Woods. Johnson continued his torrid run later in the year as he was crowned the SCGA Mid-Amateur Champion.
At 45-years-old, he tested his professional skills once again. He earned his PGA TOUR Champions card in 2004, won Q-school and proceeded to spend the next five years on tour sponsored by his old employer, Anheuser-Busch. Mark Johnson would become a fan favorite, known as the “Beer Man.”
"My first thought coming here today was 'how are we going to get an ambulance in here after everyone sees Mark in a suit?'" joked Jeff Christensen, a long-time friend. "He got married in shorts and sandals!"
After 14 professional starts, Johnson earned his first professional victory in 2005 – dramatically holing out for eagle on the par-5 18th to win the Toshiba Senior Classic in front of a home crowd at Newport Beach CC. Johnson’s only official victory earned him nearly a quarter million dollars – becoming an instant hero for the working class.
"My support system is enormous and I was so glad to win the Toshiba to finally give back," said an emotional Johnson. "I never could have done it on my own. Thanks to everyone for all the love and support."