Monthly Archives: May 2020

Catch Up With PGA WORKS Collegiate Golfers Abigail Willcoxon & Ziggy Nathu

By Charles Dillahunt

 

PGA WORKS recently had virtual chats with a pair student-athletes from the Collegiate Championship who have had success at the event to discuss what separates the championship from your average college golf tournament.
PGA WORKS is a strategic initiative, designed to diversify the golf industry’s workforce. It’s signature event, the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship, annually hosts diverse student-athletes attending HBCU’s and other minority serving institutions for championship play at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fl.
Ziggy Nathu of The University of British Columbia was the 2019 Men’s Individual Division champion. He won the event by making a forty foot eagle putt on the first playoff hole. Now a professional on the Vancouver Golf Tour, hear how the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship prepared him to become a professional golfer.
Abigail Willcoxon is a senior golfer at the University of Texas A&M Kingsville, the 2019 runner up in Women’s Team Division. Hear what her thoughts are on the event, and what it takes to have success in this Championship.
For more on the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship, visit PGAWORKSCollegiate.org.

“My Golf Journey: A Celebration of PGA Professionals” to air Saturday, May 9

By PGA

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (May 6, 2020) – Fourteen PGA Members and one PGA Section—reflecting the best of the PGA of America as innovators, leaders and achievers— will be featured in a nationwide one-hour CBS special, “My Golf Journey: A Celebration of PGA Professionals,” which airs on Saturday, May 9, at 2 p.m. ET.
Narrated by CBS Sports golf anchor Jim Nantz, the program showcases the PGA Members, along with the South Florida PGA Section, that were honored during the 2019 season. Headlining the list are: PGA Golf Professional of the Year Eric Eshleman, PGA, Director of Golf at the Country Club of Birmingham (Alabama); and PGA Teacher of the Year Kevin Kirk, PGA, Director of Golf Instruction at The Woodlands (Texas) Country Club.
“As the game of golf reopens across the country, we are proud to highlight the impact our national award winners make on a daily basis,” said PGA President Suzy Whaley. “It is a point of pride to work with CBS Sports to showcase how they make a difference in the lives of people both on and off the course, from top Tour players to everyday golfers to our nation’s heroes.”
Eshleman, a 24-year PGA Member, earned the highest annual honor given to a PGA of America Professional. A former president of the Alabama-NW Florida PGA Section, Eshleman has both mentored and set benchmarks as a coach at the Country Club of Birmingham. He oversees one of the largest junior golf programs in the country. While he currently coaches former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and European Tour player Paul Dunne, his students over the years have also included Graeme McDowell and Patton Kizzire.
Kirk is a 26-year PGA Member and a PGA Master Professional, as well as a GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher in America. His student roster includes three-time United States Ryder Cup Team Member and 2018 Masters Champion Patrick Reed; LPGA TOUR star and Major Champion Lexi Thompson; and three-time PGA TOUR winner Jhonattan Vegas. Kirk has coached five OIympians and is an advocate for the PGA of America in the advancement of the American Development Model.
Among the national award honorees featured in the broadcast are the inspiring stories of Judy Alvarez, PGA/LPGA and Randy Jones, PGA.
Alvarez is PGA Teaching Professional at Monarch Country Club in Palm City, Florida, and PGA Head Professional at Sunken Meadow Golf Course at Kings Park, New York. The 2019 PGA Patriot Award recipient, she began her career coaching the physically challenged and later expanded her work to include military veterans through PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere). Alvarez is a member of the South Florida PGA Section, which in 2019 received its first Herb Graffis Award, recognizing a Section for extraordinary and exemplary contributions in Player Development.
Jones, the South Texas Territory Manager for Club Car in Richmond, Texas, was presented the 2019 Deacon Palmer Award for his courageous battle with Stage IV melanoma. Today, he is an inspirational spokesperson in creating public awareness for the dangers of skin cancer.
The 2019 Women’s PGA Professional Player of the Year presented by OMEGA Joanna Coe, PGA, of Baltimore Country Club, who played on the winning inaugural 2019 U.S. Women’s PGA Cup Team and won the 2019 PGA Women’s Stroke Play Championship is highlighted for her playing achievements.
Similarly, both 2019 PGA Professional Player of the Year presented by OMEGA Ryan Vermeer, PGA, of Happy Hollow Club, in Omaha, Nebraska, and 2019 Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year presented by OMEGA Bob Sowards, PGA, of Kinsale Golf and Fitness Club, in Powell, Ohio, are also featured for their playing accomplishments. Vermeer, the 2018 PGA Professional Champion; and Sowards, the 2018 PGA Senior Professional Champion, were both members of the victorious 2019 U.S. PGA Cup Team.
2019 PGA National Award recipients appearing in “My Golf Journey: A Celebration of PGA Professionals”:
PGA Golf Professional of the Year
Eric Eshleman, PGA, Country Club of Birmingham (Ala.)
PGA Teacher of the Year
Kevin Kirk, PGA, The Woodlands (Texas) Golf Performance Center
Bill Strausbaugh Award
David Reasoner, PGA, The Ridgewood Country Club – Paramus, N.J.
Horton Smith Award
Todd Sones, PGA, Todd Sones Impact Golf – Vernon Hills, Ill.
Deacon Palmer Award
Randy Jones, PGA, Club Car – Richmond, Texas
Patriot Award
Judy Alvarez, PGA/LPGA, Monarch Country Club – Palm City, Fla. and Sunken Meadow Golf Course – Kings Park, NY
PGA Player Development Award
Liz Cooper, PGA/LPGA, Senior Director of Membership & Events, LPGA Amateur Golf Association – LPGA Headquarters – Daytona Beach, Fla.
PGA Youth Player Development Award
Scott Wilson, PGA, Bay Meadows Family Golf Course – Traverse City, Mich.
Women’s PGA Professional Player of the Year
Joanna Coe, PGA, Baltimore Country Club
PGA Professional Player of the Year
Ryan Vermeer, PGA, Happy Hollow Club, Omaha, Neb.
Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year
Bob Sowards, PGA, Kinsale Golf and Fitness Club, Powell, Ohio
PGA Merchandiser of the Year-Resort Category
Sara Muldoon, PGA, Hershey (Pa.) Country Club
PGA Merchandiser of the Year-Public Category
Duncan Simms, PGA, Oak Creek G.C. – Irvine, Calif.
PGA Merchandiser of the Year-Private Category
Scott Kirkwood, PGA, Ocean Reef Club – Key Largo, Fla.
Herb Graffis Award
South Florida PGA Section

Digital Golf Collective Co-Founder Jess McAlister Bringing Out Golf’s Cool Side

By Carly Grenfell

Jess McAlister came out of the womb ready to work—so much so that she dragged her feet getting a college degree. Although she grew up on a golf course and has always played the sport, she didn’t necessarily have her eyes on working in the industry.
With a plethora of agency experience under her belt through college and beyond, she first launched McAlister Co. where she advises brands, talent, and agency partners alike. Her latest endeavor, Digital Golf Collective, combines her passion for golf, entertainment, lifestyle and sports marketing all in one. Jess McAlister spotted a gap in the market and has hit the ground running to bring it to life ever since.

Having now worked with companies like Mastercard, United, AT&T, Amazon, Adidas, Lexus and countless others, Jess McAlister is helping change the digital landscape in golf through Digital Golf Collective. Along with talent management, DGC is also capitalizing on social media management, brand strategy, public relations and media distribution.
Her experiences, not to mention creative prowess, have helped social media influencers like Tisha Alyn, Coach Rusty, Nikki B. the ever popular PGA Memes and many other golf personalities not only grow their following, but add value to their personal brands. DGC goes beyond golf tradition to position themselves as the forefront of influence.

No Club Necessary: Improve Your Impact & Feel with Henry Fall

by PGA

You can improve your game from the comfort of your home without ever taking your clubs out of the bag thanks to a couple tips sent to us by Henry Fall.
Fall, an Assistant Professional at Martindale Country Club in Auburn, Maine, and the head golf coach at Bates College, takes you through a couple simple motions to work on your impact position & feel in the video below.
Fall is a must follow on Instagram if you’re looking for fun & creative ways to improve your game. Check out some of his drills below & be sure to give him a follow.

2020 PGA Tour Champions schedule, results

by PGA

Below is the complete 2020 PGA Tour Champions schedule:
JANUARY
  • Jan. 16-18 — Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai (Hualalai GC, Ka’upulehu-Kona, HI); Winner: Miguel Ángel Jiménez
  • Jan. 30-Feb. 1 — Morocco Champions (Samanah GC, Marrakech, Morocco); Winner: Brett Quigley
FEBRUARY
  • Feb. 14-16 — Chubb Classic (The Classics CC at Lely Resort, Naples, FL); Winner: Scott Parel
  • Feb. 28-March 1 — Cologuard Classic (Omni Tucson National (Catalina Course), Tucson, AZ); Winner: Bernhard Langer
MARCH
  • March 6-8 — Hoag Classic (Newport Beach CC, Newport Beach, CA); Winner: Ernie Els
  • March 27-29 — Rapiscan System Classic (Fallen Oak, Biloxi, MS) (Canceled)
APRIL
  • April 17-19 — Mitsubishi Electric Classic (TPC Sugarloaf, Duluth, GA) (Canceled)
MAY
  • May 1-3 — Insperity Invitational (The Woodlands CC (Tournament Course), The Woodlands, TX) (Canceled)
  • May 21-24 — KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship (Harbor Shores Resort, Benton Harbor, MI) (Canceled)
JUNE
  • June 5-7 — American Family Insurance Championship (University Ridge GC, Madison, WI) (Canceled)
  • June 12-14 — Mastercard Japan Championship (Narita GC, Chiba, Japan) (Canceled)
  • June 25-28 — U.S. Senior Open (Newport CC, Newport, RI) (Canceled)
JULY
  • July 23-26 — Senior British Open (Sunningdale GC (Old), Berkshire, England) (Postponed)
  • July 31-Aug. 2 — The Ally Challenge (Warwick Hills Golf & CC, Grand Blanc, MI)
AUGUST
  • Aug. 13-16 — Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship (Firestone CC, Akron, OH)
  • Aug. 14-16 — DICK’S Sporting Goods Open (En-Joie GC, Endicott, NY) (Canceled)
  • Aug. 21-23 — Boeing Classic (The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge, Snoqualmie, WA)
  • Aug. 28-30 — Shaw Charity Classic (Canyon Meadows Golf & CC, Calgary, Alberta)
SEPTEMBER
  • Sept. 4-6 — Principal Charity Classic (Wakonda Club, Des Moines, IA)
  • Sept. 11-13 — Sanford International (Minnehaha CC, Sioux Falls, SD)
  • Sept. 18-20 — Pure Insurance Championship (Pebble Beach GL and Poppy Hills GC, Pebble Beach, CA)
  • Sept. 24-27 — Regions Tradition (Greystonee G&CC, Birmingham, AL)
OCTOBER
  • Oct. 2-4 — Ascension Charity Classic (Norwood Hills CC, St. Louis, MO)
  • Oct. 9-11 — SAS Championship (Prestonwood CC, Cary, NC)
  • Oct. 16-18 — Dominion Energy Charity Classic (The Country Club of Virginia (James River Course), Richmond, VA)
  • Oct. 30-Nov. 1 — Boca Raton Championship (The Old Course at Broken Sound Club, Boca Raton, FL)
NOVEMBER
  • Nov. 5-8 — Charles Schwab Cup Championship (Phoenix CC, Phoenix, AZ)
  • Nov. 17-20 — PGA Tour Champions Qualifying Tournament-Final Stage (TPC Tampa Bay, Lutz, FL)
DECEMBER
  • Dec. 19-20 — PNC Father-Son Challenge (Ritz-Carlton GC, Orlando, FL)

2020 Boys and Girls Junior PGA Championships Canceled

By PGA of America

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (May 6, 2020) – The PGA of America announced today that the 2020 Boys and Girls Junior PGA Championships have been canceled, due to ongoing concerns surrounding COVID-19 and the challenges of operating 41 Section Championship events starting in May and having to be completed by the end of June.
The Championships were scheduled to be contested at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida (Boys: July 13-16, 2020/Girls: July 28-31, 2020).
Despite the cancellation of the 2020 Boys and Girls Junior PGA Championships on the national level, the 41 PGA Sections still have an opportunity to conduct their own Section Boys and Girls Junior PGA Championships when it is responsible to do so, based on the guidance of applicable state and local authorities—and without concern of being tied to a qualification deadline.
As a result, each Section’s Junior PGA Championship can be scheduled for later in the year, if necessary.
“While we have great compassion for the outstanding junior golfers who wanted so much to compete in our national Boys and Girls Junior PGA Championships, this decision was made in the best interest and wellness of everyone involved,” said PGA President Suzy Whaley. “The opportunity to compete at a high level can still happen at the Section Junior PGA Championships throughout the year. For our national tournaments, we look forward to a fantastic return in 2021.”

McIlroy, Johnson Headline Charity Match for COVID-19 Relief

By Doug Ferguson, AP Golf Writer

 

Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson headline a $3 million charity match for COVID-19 relief that will mark the first live golf on television since the pandemic shut down sports worldwide.
The May 17 match will be played at Seminole Golf Club in South Florida, a fabled course along the ocean where Ben Hogan once prepared for the Masters. It is to be televised by NBC networks, including Golf Channel, Sky Sports and the PGA Tour’s global TV partners.
It will be the first golf event at Seminole shown on television.
McIlroy and Johnson, major champions who have reached No. 1 in the world, will be partners in a Skins match against Oklahoma State alumni Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff.
McIlroy and Johnson are playing for the American Nurses Foundation, while Fowler and Wolff are playing for the CDC Foundation. The match is titled, “TaylorMade Driving Relief.” All four players have endorsement deals with TaylorMade.
McIlroy, currently No. 1 and the reigning PGA Tour player of the year, announced the match on the “Today” show with Carson Daly, with whom McIlroy has a podcast.
He described it as a chance to “do a small part to raise some money and raise some awareness.”
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are to play an exhibition match with NFL greats Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, though details of when and where that match is to take place have not been disclosed.
Live golf was last seen on TV on March 12, the first round of The Players Championship. The tournament was canceled that night, and the earliest golf would return is June 11-14 at Colonial in Texas.
Golf courses in Palm Beach County, where all four players live, were closed until late last week. McIlroy said he had gone some seven weeks without playing until getting out to the range a few days ago.
Some details of the Seminole match were still being worked out as it relates to safe practices. Officials say spectators will not be allowed.
Along with the $3 million to the two groups, Farmers Insurance has pledged $1 million for a birdies and eagles pool that will benefit “Off Their Plate,” a charitable organization helping healthcare workers. The PGA Tour is setting up a “text-to-donate” plan online to allow viewers to make additional contributions.

Remembering PGA Hall of Famer Guy Wimberly – Mr. New Mexico Golf

By Bob Denney, PGA Historian

Guy Wimberly, a founding father of the Sun Country PGA Section, was nicknamed “Mr. New Mexico Golf,” and the endearment fit. For nearly 50 years, Wimberly was an inspirational PGA Professional who grew the game in his adopted state.
Wimberly, a 2011 inductee into the PGA of America Hall of Fame, died May 1, at age 81, in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he attended the University of New Mexico and turned professional in 1964. He was elected to PGA Membership in 1971, and went on to help found the Sun Country PGA Section in 1974. From there, Wimberly became a catalyst for programs that elevated PGA Professionals throughout the “Land of Enchantment.”
Perhaps Wimberly’s most prized accomplishment was delivering the PGA Professional Golf Management program to New Mexico State University in 1987. The third school to offer the curriculum in the country, Wimberly was joined by his older brother, Herb, now a PGA Life Member, in the initiative.
“Guy was the key individual who got New Mexico State University’s program running,” said PGA Professional Pat Gavin, 27-year director of the NMSU program. “It owes everything to Guy and Herb. Guy was a great mentor not only to me, but to everybody.”
In 1969, joined by PGA Professional Bob Meiering, Wimberly took over Arroyo del Oso Golf Course in Albuquerque and turned it into a popular municipal golf destination, earning recognition from Golf Digest as one of the “Top 50 Municipal Facilities to Play.”
In 1974, that facility became the basis of New Mexico Golf Ltd., a multi-million dollar entity that grew from one to four public facilities employing more than 100, including a dozen PGA Professionals and assistant professionals. Under his direction, Arroyo del Oso’s 27-hole facility serviced more than 140,000 annual rounds.
Among the leaders in advancing golf tourism in New Mexico, Wimberly also guided the formation of the Sun Country Amateur Golf Association and the Junior PGA Tour within the state. Wimberly was co-recipient with Meiering of the 1979 PGA Merchandiser of the Year for Public Facilities; and in 1988 earned the Horton Smith Award for contributions to PGA education.
Wimberly served from 1982-85 as District 12 director on the PGA Board of Directors; and from 1980-82 as president of the Sun Country PGA Section. He was the 2001 Sun Country PGA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. “Guy nominated me in 1997 for the Section board,” said Gavin, who continues to serve the Section. “He was always there for me.”
Wimberly spent his final 15 years in Elephant Butte, New Mexico, where he served from 2006-08 as PGA Director of Golf at Sierra del Rio Golf Club.
“The PGA of America is saddened by the passing of Guy Wimberly, ‘Mr. New Mexico Golf,’ one of our Association’s legends,” said PGA President Suzy Whaley. “Guy’s leadership in the Sun Country PGA Section galvanized golf tourism, advanced competitive opportunities for juniors and was a driving force for aspiring PGA Professionals. We mourn his passing and will keep his wife, Alice, and sons Guy Jr. and Brian, in our thoughts and prayers.”

In a Virus-Shortened Season, No One Loses a PGA Tour Card

By Doug Ferguson, AP Golf Writer

 

A shorter season brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic means no one will lose a PGA Tour card this year and the Korn Ferry Tour players will have to wait a year before fully joining the big leagues.
A memo sent to players Thursday to outline the changes was another step in the tour trying to figure out what’s equitable in a season that will be without 13 previously scheduled events.
The tour said players exempt for this season will keep the same status for the 2020-21 season that is scheduled to start in September unless they earn a higher ranking after this shortened season.
That could help someone like Harris English, who started the season with conditional status from finishing between Nos. 126 and 150 the previous season. He has posted five top 10s and is No. 24 in the FedEx Cup, making his a lock to have a full card for next season.
As for the developmental Korn Ferry Tour, no one will graduate to the PGA Tour after the season. The tour was working on rewarding the top 10 players, such as allowing them in opposite-field field events for next season.
All of this is contingent on golf resuming June 11-14 at Colonial, the restart of a season that would include only one major championship. The PGA Championship is tentatively set for Aug. 9-12 in San Francisco. The U.S. Open was pushed back to September, the Masters was moved to November and the British Open was canceled.
That means six majors will be played next season.
This season still offers a $15 million prize to the winner of the FedEx Cup. The two playoff events outside Boston and Chicago would award triple points instead of quadruple points.
In other changes:
  • The field for the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua will include everyone who wins a PGA Tour event in 2020, along with players who reach the Tour Championship. That means whoever finished in the top 30 in the FedEx Cup gets into at least three majors in 2021, along with a trip to Maui.
  • The tournament in the Dominican Republic originally was canceled and then moved to September, the same week as the Ryder Cup. Because it is not opposite a World Golf Championship, the winner will receive full FedEx Cup points and a trip to the 2021 Masters.
  • For the rest of this season, Monday qualifiers that can be held will only provide two spots instead of four.

World’s Biggest Golf Lesson Set for May 5th

by PGA

Golf professionals from around the world will come together on Tuesday, May 5 for the ‘World’s Biggest Golf Lesson’ to raise money for great causes — like the Golf Emergency Relief Fund.
The event will begin at 9 a.m. ET, and it will be hosted on Instagram Live accounts from around the world.
PGA of America President Suzy Whaley is set to join hundreds of PGA Professionals in this virtual coaching extravaganza, and coaches who are interested in participating in the event can sign up at worldsbiggestgolflesson.com.
It’s free for golfers— so don’t forget to tune in. The coaching promises to be amazing.