2016 Judges


2016_Helen Ross

Helen Ross spent 18 years as a sportswriter at the News & Record of Greensboro, N.C., where she covered Atlantic Coast Conference football and basketball, as well as golf. While there, she won multiple awards given by the North Carolina Press Association and one of those, for a four-part series she worked on about athletes and drugs, also received honorable mention in the APSE and Penney-Missouri competition. One of the two stories she wrote for that series, "For John and Debbie Lucas, The Demons Never Far Away," was included in Ron Rapoport's book, "A Kind of Grace: A Treasury of Sportswriting by Women." She also served on the board of the the Atlantic Coast Sports Writers Association during the early 1980s when the league was tasked with finding a way to provide equal locker room access to all reporters, male and female, print, radio and television.

Helen left the newspaper business in 1996 to help launch PGATOUR.COM. Now a senior writer for the Emmy-winning website, she has won multiple national writing awards from the Golf Writers Association of America, including first place in Features last year for a story on Jarrod Lyle's two-time battle with leukemia entitled "Reclaiming his Life." She also served nine years on the GWAA's board of directors and was First Vice President when she left to work for the PGA TOUR and had to resign her post. She will cover her 35th Masters Tournament in April. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Helen is a native of Greensboro, N.C., where she still lives.

"I was thrilled to be asked to work on this project. I was fortunate to get to meet Mr. Murray and spend some time with him at major championships around the globe. He was always open to questions from inquisitive young sportswriters like myself and having this opportunity to help extend his legacy means so much."  ~  Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM


2016_Jay Hovdey_mug shotJay Hovdey, a member of the turf writers' wing of the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame, is the executive columnist for Daily Racing Form, the industry's publication of record. During his career his racing coverage has appeared in such publications as Reader's Digest, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of four books on horse racing, including biographies of Hall of Fame trainer Charlie Whittingham and two-time Horse of the Year Cigar, as well as a collection of his work in "Long Rein: Tales from the World of Horse Racing." Hovdey has been honored with four Eclipse Awards, Canada's Sovereign Award, the Joe Hirsch Breeders' Cup Award, the David F. Woods Award for coverage of the Preakness, and the Walter Haight Award for career excellence from the National Turf Writers Association. He lives near Del Mar with his wife, retired Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone, and their daughter, Lorelei.

"There never will be another Jim Murray, but that does not mean the young writers of today shouldn't try. I'm excited to be part of such a worthwhile process, and just think of all the good stuff I get to read for free."  - Jay Hovdey, Daily Racing Form


2016_KEN DAVIDOFF_Essay JudgeKen Davidoff joined the New York Post on 2012 as a baseball columnist after writing for Newsday from 2001- 2012. From 1994 to 2001, he wrote for The Record of Northern New Jersey. Ken is a regular contributor to the Major League Baseball Network, the YES Network and Fox 5 in New York.  His work has been honored twice by the Associated Press Sports Editors. Ken grew up in Edison, New Jersey, lives in NYC, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

"I am honored to take part in this endeavor. In this age of "branding," you won't find a superior brand with which to align yourself than the name and legacy of Jim Murray."
                      ~ Ken Davidoff, New York Post


AVT_Juliet-Macur_1950Juliet Macur, a Sports of the Times columnist for The New York Times, has been at the Times since 2004. Prior to becoming a columnist, she wrote news and features, and became one of the world's leading media experts on doping in sports. Her book, "Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong" was a best seller. Juliet came to the Times from the Dallas Morning News, where she was a projects reporter and had the unenviable job of spending one entire season writing exclusively about then Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells. Before that, she covered the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Olympics and motorsports for the Orlando Sentinel.

Juliet's work has received honors from the National Press Club, the Associated Press Sports Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists and the New York Press Club. Her work has twice been anthologized in the Best American Sports Writing series.
Juliet grew up in Bridgewater, N.J., was the captain of the Columbia University rowing team while at Barnard College and received her bachelor's degree in 1992. After college, she was a competitive rower for the New York Athletic Club. In 1997, she graduated with honors from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

"Jim Murray was a master of words and turns of phrase. His columns forced you to think and think some more - and also could make you laugh or cry, or sometimes both, in the very same sentence. A rare talent that forever will be missed, but his legacy lives on in his words and also in his scholarships. I'm honored to be a part of this year's essay contest. What fun it will be to read the work of the next great sportswriter."  - Juliet Macur, New York Times Sports


2016 Essay Judge Mark PurdyMark Purdy has been a sports columnist at the San Jose Mercury News since 1984. He previously worked at the Cincinnati Enquirer, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. Mark has been honored by the Wall Street Journal for writing one of America's Top 10 sports columns. On multiple occasions, he has been named to the Associated Press Sports Editors annual list of America's Top 10 Sports Columnists. He has been a contributing columnist to the Sporting News and has made broadcast appearances on ABC's Nightline, Court TV and ESPN "Outside the Lines." He is also a regular guest on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's television shows. A native of Celina, Ohio, Purdy is a 1974 graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. He has covered 13 Olympic Games, more than 33 Super Bowls and World Series and many other high-profile sports events. In the Bay Area, he is known as the columnist who gave the name "McCovey Cove" to the body of water behind right field at AT&T Park as a tribute to former Giants' slugger Willie McCovey. In 1989, Mark was a member of the Mercury News staff that received the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the "World Series earthquake" that struck the area just before Game 3 at Candlestick Park.

"One of my great career achievements, in my own mind, was simply being able to sit next to Jim Murray in press boxes during my two years at the Los Angeles Times. He gave me great advice when I left the paper to become a columnist elsewhere. Judging this contest is just a small way of paying him back and continuing to honor his memory."  ~ Mark Purdy, San Jose Mercury News