Joseph C. Dey, Jr. began his long and illustrious career as a golf administrator in 1934 when appointed Executive Secretary, and later Executive Director, of the United States Golf Association. During his 35 years at the head of the USGA, he helped launch five new national championships and four international team competitions. Widely respected as an authority on the Rules of Golf, he was deeply involved in the negotiations between the USGA and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews that produced the first universal code of play in 1951.
Over the course of his long career, Joe Dey won almost every honor and tribute the world of golf has to offer, including: in 1961, the William D. Richardson Trophy, awarded for distinguished service by the Golf Writers Association of America; and in 1977 the Bob Jones Award, awarded for sportsmanship by the USGA. In 1975, he became the 205th Captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, an honor accorded only one other American before him, and in that same year was inducted into the PGA/World Golf Hall of Fame.