Monthly Archives: May 2024

John Wood Named Team Manager of the United States Ryder Cup Team

FRISCO, Texas – The PGA Ryder Cup Committee today named John Wood as Team Manager of the United States Ryder Cup Team.

Beginning with the 2025 Ryder Cup at Bethpage Black, Wood will work closely with the U.S. team captain, vice captains, team members and PGA of America senior management on all strategic and operational matters related to the U.S. Ryder Cup Team.

Wood possesses a wealth of Ryder Cup experience having served as a U.S. caddie for five players in six Ryder Cups: 2002 – Mark Calcavecchia, ‘04; Chris Riley, ‘08’,10, and ‘14 Hunter Mahan and ‘16; Matt Kuchar.

He also worked as a U.S. team assistant during the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Guyancourt, France.

Following his 20-plus career as a caddie on the PGA TOUR, Wood joined NBC Sports’ golf coverage as an on-course reporter in 2021. He covered the 2021 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome, Italy.

“We are thrilled to have John join our team as the new U.S. Ryder Cup Team Manager,” said PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh. “John is a passionate and dedicated individual. His years of experience in domestic and international team competitions as well as his deep understanding of match play dynamics will be a tremendous asset as we create a strategic plan that delivers success at all future Ryder Cups. I’m not sure that we could have invented a better fit for this role in terms of experience, enthusiasm and relevance.”

In this first-of-its-kind role, Wood will provide valuable guidance across a variety of team management areas including player selection, recruitment, motivational strategies, logistical coordination and fostering a positive team environment.

“There is nothing, and I mean nothing, in my professional career, that I have been more passionate about than the Ryder Cup,” said Wood. “I have been blessed to be a part of six Ryder Cup Teams as a caddie and two as an NBC Sports on-course reporter and I have treasured every single minute of those special, memorable experiences. I am honored to work alongside my friends from the PGA of America, the PGA Ryder Cup Committee, and future Ryder Cup Captains, Vice Captains and team members to help our Captains and teams get ready to compete in one of the greatest sporting events the world has ever seen. I am grateful to NBC Sports for making it possible for me to take on this role, truly a dream job.”

Local Students Look “Beyond the Green” at 84th KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

BENTON HARBOR, Michigan – The KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores is more than simply a showcase for some of the game’s most accomplished golfers. Championship week also displays the many different industries that work in and around the game. Just before the tournament started, a group of local high school students attended PGA WORKS Beyond the Green, a career-exploration event.

On Wednesday, nearly 80 students from local schools and programs—including the Michigan Hospitality Foundation, Bridge Academy of Southwest Michigan, the Benton Harbor Area Schools culinary program and the Boys & Girls Club—were given an exclusive opportunity aimed to educate and inspire people from historically underrepresented backgrounds about careers surrounding the $102 billion golf industry.

After a message from PGA of America President John Lindert, the day included tours of the Whirlpool Innovation Center and the Corewell Health Center for Wellness, as well as panel discussion led by hosts Doug Smith and Will Lowry on what it means to live a “Bold Life.” Students also had the opportunity to get hands-on experience with VR gaming, golf and, of course, cooking.

“Golf is not just about hitting a golf ball around a course, there are so many other roles and opportunities to be involved in,” Lindert, the PGA Director of Golf at the Country Club of Lansing, told the students. “Find something you’re truly passionate about and then find a mentor, someone who will guide you to opportunities. Hopefully today will open your eyes a little bit as to what the golf industry has to offer. But it’s really about looking yourself in the mirror and saying, ‘what do I love to do?’”

Students also heard from three-time Emmy-winning news reporter and 16 News Now Anchor Joshua Short; Realm Restaurant Group Executive Chef and Co-Owner Chris Covelli; PGA of America Director of Volunteers Rachel Wright; and Whirlpool Corporation Community Relations and Foundation Giving Leader Stefanie Harvey-Vandenberg.

“Be true to who you are,” Short advised. “I tried so hard to figure out who I can be like and what I can do to look like others I saw. Then I realized the most successful people are people who are just themselves. They have a talent, and they use that talent to continue to grow themselves, their brand and those around them. As soon as I did that, things for me started to change personally and professionally.”

The day introduced students to careers in the culinary, hospitality, medical, engineering and tech industries. They even had the opportunity to learn how to make pasta with their own hands.

“I learned a lot from the panels and the different places we toured today,” said Benton Harbor High School senior Jaidon Lacy. “I definitely see myself working in golf. Right now I’m playing golf in high school and my plan is to hopefully play in college and get into sports management.”

PGA WORKS is a strategic initiative, designed to diversify the golf industry’s workforce. Funded by PGA REACH, the 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the PGA of America, PGA WORKS leverages fellowships, scholarships, career-exploration events and the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship to inspire and engage talent from diverse backgrounds to pursue key employment positions across the golf industry.

The KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, golf’s most historic and prestigious senior Major Championship, will be contested May 23-26 and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC. The action can also be taken in through and by following @seniorpgachamp on FacebookInstagram and X.

USGA Announces 30 Additional Players Exempt for 124th U.S. Open Championship

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. – The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced that 30 additional golfers, including 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, have earned full exemptions into the 2024 U.S. Open Championship, to be contested June 13-16 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2, in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C. These exemptions bring the number of fully exempt players to 83.

Exemptions were awarded to 22 players who earned a place in the top 60 of the Official World Golf Ranking® (OWGR®) as of May 20, who were not otherwise exempt. Rose will compete in his 19th U.S. Open. He owns five top-10 finishes, including his two-stroke victory at Merion Golf Club. He moved up 12 places from the previous world ranking to No. 56 by tying for sixth in last week’s PGA Championship.

At No. 6, Ludvig Åberg is the highest-ranked player in the current OWGR who was not previously exempt into the U.S. Open. Åberg, who will play in his first U.S. Open, recorded his first victories on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour last fall. The 24-year-old from Sweden was the runner-up in this year’s Masters. Thomas Detry climbed 17 spots from last week’s ranking to No. 54 by tying for fourth in the PGA Championship, his best finish in a major. He will compete in his third U.S. Open.

The other players who earned full exemptions through the current Official World Golf Ranking are: Byeong Hun An, Christian Bezuidenhout, Akshay Bhatia, Eric Cole, Adam Hadwin, Tom Hoge, Nicolai Hojgaard, Stephan Jaeger, Chris Kirk, Kurt Kitayama, Jake Knapp, Denny McCarthy, Grayson Murray, Alex Noren, Matthieu Pavon, J.T. Poston, Sahith Theegala, Cameron Young and Will Zalatoris.

Zalatoris, who is ranked No. 32, will compete in his fifth U.S. Open but first since he was runner-up in 2022 at The Country Club, in Brookline, Mass. Bhatia (No. 37) and Knapp (No. 59) also earned entry through the OWGR and each will make his second U.S. Open start.

Eight other players earned exemptions based on their performances in three additional categories. The top five players in the current PGA Tour FedExCup standings, who were not otherwise exempt, are: Billy Horschel, Mackenzie Hughes, Peter Malnati, Taylor Pendrith and Erik van Rooyen. The top two players from the final 2023 DP World Tour Race to Dubai Rankings, who were not otherwise exempt, are: Adrian Meronk and Victor Perez. Rikuya Hoshino is the highest ranked player on the current Race to Dubai Rankings who is not otherwise exempt.

In addition, the winner of the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship (May 24-29) and any multiple winners of PGA Tour events that award a full-point allocation for the season-ending Tour Championship will also earn an exemption. The number of fully exempt golfers may increase with the addition of the top 60 players from the OWGR as of Monday, June 10.

Three of the 13 final qualifiers for the 2024 U.S. Open are being held today, May 20, in Dallas, Texas, England and Japan. Final qualifying results can be found at

Other 36-hole final qualifiers will take place at 10 additional sites on June 3: Cherry Hill Club, Ridgeway, Ontario, Canada; Lake Merced Golf Club, Daly City, Calif.; The Bear’s Club, Jupiter, Fla.; The Golf Club of Georgia, Alpharetta, Ga.; Woodmont Country Club (North Course), Rockville, Md.; Canoe Brook Country Club (North & South Courses), Summit, N.J.; Duke University Golf Club, Durham, N.C.; Ohio State University Golf Club (Scarlet Course) and Kinsale Golf & Fitness Club, Columbus, Ohio; Springfield (Ohio) Country Club; and Pronghorn Resort (Nicklaus Course), Bend, Ore.

The U.S. Open was previously hosted by Pinehurst No. 2 in 1999 (won by Payne Stewart), 2005 (won by Michael Campbell) and 2014 (won by Martin Kaymer). As an anchor site, Pinehurst will also host the U.S. Open in 2029, 2035, 2041 and 2047.

A list of the 83 golfers fully exempt into the 2024 U.S. Open as of May 20 (not including the final qualifiers from England, Texas and Japan) is below.

More information about the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, including local and final qualifying, is available at

The list of the 83 golfers who are fully exempt into the 2024 U.S. Open (as of Monday, May 20):

Ludvig Åberg 21 (Joohyung) Tom Kim 2, 11, 21
Byeong Hun An 21 Chris Kirk 21
Christian Bezuidenhout 21 Kurt Kitayama 21
Akshay Bhatia 21 Jake Knapp 21
Keegan Bradley 11, 21 Brooks Koepka 1, 7, 21
Sam Burns 11, 21 Ben Kohles 14
Patrick Cantlay 11, 21 a-Christo Lamprecht 17
Wyndham Clark 1, 2, 11, 21 Min Woo Lee 2, 21
Eric Cole 21 Shane Lowry 8, 21
Corey Conners 11, 21 Peter Malnati 13
Jason Day 11, 21 Hideki Matsuyama 6, 21
a-Santiago De la Fuente 20 Denny McCarthy 21
Bryson DeChambeau 1, 21 Rory McIlroy 2, 11, 12, 21
Thomas Detry 21 Adrian Meronk 15
Nick Dunlap 4 Phil Mickelson 7
Austin Eckroat 2, 21 Taylor Moore 11, 21
Harris English 2, 21 Collin Morikawa 7, 8, 11, 21
Tony Finau 11, 21 Grayson Murray 21
Matt Fitzpatrick 1, 11, 21 Alex Noren 21
Tommy Fleetwood 2, 11, 21 Matthieu Pavon 21
Ryan Fox 10 Taylor Pendrith 13
Rickie Fowler 2, 11, 21 Victor Perez 15
Lucas Glover 11, 12, 21 J.T. Poston 21
Emiliano Grillo 11, 21 Jon Rahm 1, 2, 6, 11, 21
Adam Hadwin 21 Justin Rose 21
a-Stewart Hagestad 5 a-Gordon Sargent 18
Brian Harman 8, 11, 21 Xander Schauffele 2, 7, 11, 21
Tyrrell Hatton 11, 21 Scottie Scheffler 2, 6, 9, 11, 12, 21
Russell Henley 11, 21 Adam Schenk 11, 21
Tom Hoge 21 a-Neal Shipley 5
Nicolai Hojgaard 21 Cameron Smith 2, 8, 9
Max Homa 11, 21 Jordan Spieth 1, 11, 21
Billy Horschel 13 Sepp Straka 11, 21
Rikuya Hoshino 16 Nick Taylor 11, 21
Viktor Hovland 11, 12, 21 Sahith Theegala 21
Mackenzie Hughes 13 Justin Thomas 7, 21
Sungjae Im 11, 21 Erik van Rooyen 13
Stephan Jaeger 21 Gary Woodland 1
Dustin Johnson 1, 2, 6 Tiger Woods 23
Martin Kaymer 1 Cameron Young 21
a-Bryan Kim 5 Will Zalatoris 21
Si Woo Kim 11, 21

Bold – U.S. Open champion      a – amateur

Key to Player Exemptions

  1. Winners of the U.S. Open Championship the last 10 years (2014-23)
  2. From the 2023 U.S. Open Championship, the 10 lowest scorers and anyone tying for 10th place
  3. Winner of the 2023 U.S. Senior Open Championship
  4. Winner of the 2023 U.S. Amateur Championship
  5. Winners of the 2023 U.S. Junior Amateur & U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships and the 2023 U.S. Amateur Championship runner-up (must be an amateur)
  6. Winners of the Masters Tournament (2020-24)
  7. Winners of the PGA of America Championship (2019-24)
  8. Winners of The Open Championship, conducted by The R&A (2019-23)
  9. Winners of The Players Championship (2022-24)
  10. Winner of the 2023 DP World Tour BMW PGA Championship
  11. Those players who qualified and were eligible for the season-ending 2023 Tour Championship
  12. Multiple winners of PGA Tour events that award a full-point allocation (June 2023-June 2024)
  13. The top five players in 2024 FedExCup standings as of May 20, 2024, who are not otherwise exempt
  14. The points leader from the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour season using combined points earned on the Official Korn Ferry Tour Regular-Season Points Standings and points earned in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals
  15. The top two players from the final 2023 Race to Dubai Rankings, who are not otherwise exempt as of May 20, 2024
  16. The top player on the 2024 Race to Dubai Rankings as of May 20, 2024, who is not otherwise exempt
  17. Winner of the 2023 Amateur Championship, conducted by The R&A (must be an amateur)
  18. Winner of the 2023 Mark H. McCormack Medal (top-ranked in WAGR & must be an amateur)
  19. Winner of the 2024 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship (must be an amateur)
  20. Winner of the 2024 Latin America Amateur Championship (must be an amateur)
  21. Top 60 point leaders and ties from the Official World Golf Ranking as of May 20, 2024
  22. Top 60 point leaders and ties from the Official World Golf Ranking as of June 10, 2024
  23. Special exemptions selected by the USGA

International Turfgrass Research Initiative Launched To Advance Worldwide Sustainability In Golf

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, ST. ANDREWS, Scotland and LIBERTY CORNER, N.J., USA – The Scandinavian Turfgrass and Environment Research Foundation (STERF), The R&A, the United States Golf Association (USGA) have launched the International Turfgrass Research Initiative to further the advancement of sustainable approaches to golf course and turfgrass management.

The International Turfgrass Research Initiative is a legacy of the 14th International Turfgrass Research Conference (ITRC) hosted by STERF in collaboration with the International Turfgrass Society (ITS) in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2022. Development and sustainability were the themes of the conference, and STERF and ITS agreed that investing in international turfgrass research would be the most appropriate legacy from ITRC2022.

Beginning later this year, multi-year research projects will be funded to develop practical solutions which can be adopted by those managing golf facilities and turfgrass areas, in response to the most pressing challenges facing the management of turfgrass and golf courses worldwide, including pest control, water conservation, preserving biodiversity and landscapes, and understanding the climate impact on turfgrass and golf landscapes.

A call for research proposals will be issued in May and submissions reviewed by a group of researchers, practitioners and experts working in the field of golf course and turfgrass management. The successful applicants will be announced at the 15th International Turfgrass Research Conference being held in Japan next year.

The International Turfgrass Research Initiative compliments existing support already provided by each organisation in using scientific research to inform practical solutions, such as Golf Course 2030, the Mike Davis Program for Advancing Golf Course Management and STERF Research Programmes.

Maria Strandberg – STERF Director and Past President of International Turfgrass Society said: “For golf and other turf sports that use land and nature as their sports arena, the challenges are many and diverse, and will strongly affect future operations. New research, competence and modification of standard approaches in the golf and turf sports sector are needed to conquer these challenges.

“We are convinced that the only viable strategy to meet current challenges and to create a sustainable future is international collaboration. Therefore, we look forward to, in close partnership with our colleagues at The USGA and The R&A, realizing this important initiative. We want to support and inspire scientists all over the world to collaborate and create and supply new knowledge and tools that are essential for modern and sustainable golf course and turfgrass management – knowledge that is of practical benefit and ready for use, for example directly in golf course and turfgrass management or in dialogue with the authorities and the public, and in a credible environmental protection work.

Daniel Lightfoot, Director – Sustainable Golf at The R&A, said, “The International Turfgrass Research Initiative is an important step towards developing practical solutions that can be used by golf facilities worldwide to address the challenges being experienced in golf course and turfgrass management.

“We are aiming to positively influence standards and practice in sustainable agronomy through providing guidance and support to golf facilities so that they are better equipped to manage the impact that climate change and change in legislation can have on the maintenance of courses.

“We look forward to working closely with our colleagues at the USGA and Scandinavian Turfgrass Research and Environment Foundation to deliver this research initiative on a global scale.”

Cole Thompson, Ph.D., Director, Green Section Research at the USGA, said, “The future of our game is dependent on the steps we take today. Alongside our colleagues at The R&A and STERF, we encourage an international cooperation among scientists to align on important turfgrass management research topics. As stewards of the environment, we have a responsibility to develop innovative solutions that promote future sustainability, while also tackling the current critical challenges the industry faces. We’re excited to continue pushing the boundaries, not just domestically via our extensive USGA Green Section initiatives, but now with The R&A and STERF, aiming to create lasting impacts for generations of golfers to come.”

More information can be found Select the International Turfgrass Research Initiative programme at the bottom of the page.

TGR Foundation appoints Gyla Bell senior executive director TGR Learning Lab Anaheim

TGR Foundation has announced the appointment of Gyla Bell as the senior executive director, TGR Learning Lab Anaheim. Bell, an experienced educational leader with a proven track record of delivering STEAM education programs to youth, will leverage her deep community relationships and expertise to drive impact at the flagship TGR Learning Lab in Anaheim, CA.  

This new leadership role is an important position for TGR Foundation as it continues to expand its impact on youth through the TGR Learning Lab. Since opening its doors in 2006, the flagship TGR Learning Lab Anaheim has served nearly 200,000 students, fostering educational impact, growth and personal development to youth from under-resourced communities. Over the next two years, the TGR Learning Lab will build on this impact, expanding its programs focused on STEAM educational enrichment, health and well-being, and career and college readiness through new facilities in Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

As Senior Executive Director, Bell will lead the daily operations, programs and overall impact delivered through the TGR Learning Lab Anaheim to the local community. In addition to leading the year-round programming and team members at the Anaheim campus, she will extend her reach by supporting the piloting and implementation of new program models that will be incorporated at new Learning Lab locations. She will leverage her years of program expertise in STEAM education by overseeing the TGR Learning Lab satellites currently operating in Philadelphia, South Florida and the Marine Corps Base in Quantico. Also, Bell will work across departments, driving outreach, partnerships and fundraising with the local community.  

Since joining TGR Foundation in 2005, Bell has played a pivotal role in developing the programs and curriculum used daily at the Learning Labs. She has been a constant and driving force of inspiration and impact on the students and communities served. A product of the Anaheim Union High School District, Bell began her career in education as a teacher at Betsy Ross Elementary in Anaheim and worked for the Anoka-Hennepin School District in Minnesota before undertaking various positions at the TGR Learning Lab Anaheim over the past 19 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree and teaching credential from the University of California, Riverside along with a master’s degree in education from California State University, Fullerton. 

United States Golf Association Officially Opens Golf House Pinehurst

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – The United States Golf Association (USGA) today officially opened Golf House Pinehurst, its seven-acre campus located footsteps from the Pinehurst Resort & Country Club main clubhouse. The new location includes the organization’s equipment-testing and research facility, the visitor-friendly USGA Experience, an outdoor educational landscape feature and the recently relocated World Golf Hall of Fame, as well as administrative offices.

Visual assets of Golf House Pinehurst are available here: PHOTOS

“When I joined the USGA, I shared with our internal teammates that while the USGA will always celebrate history, we’re not going to be afraid to make some. Today is proof positive that we’re just getting started,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA, during the Grand Opening Celebration that took place today. “In four years, we’ve gone from vision to reality, and achieving this important milestone is the action of more than a visitor, but a neighbor. Together, we’re going to do great things for the good of the game that will live on for another 20, 50 years and beyond.”

Following Friday’s ceremony with representatives from the State of North Carolina, Moore County and the Village of Pinehurst and other dignitaries, attendees were given a firsthand look at the campus and attractions, including:

  • The USGA Experience, an immersive view of golf and the USGA’s work to unify, showcase, govern and advance the game. Designed by Luci Creative, the Science of Golf and Championship galleries feature interactive multimedia displays that incorporate augmented reality, interactive touch screens, sculptures and trophies;
  • The World Golf Hall of Fame, where sports fans can discover and relive the legacies of those who made the game great;
  • USGA Golf Museum Special Exhibitions that highlight the USGA’s deep collection of golf artifacts – the most comprehensive collection in the world;
  • The USGA’s Research and Test Center, the only one of its kind in North America solely dedicated to testing golf balls and clubs for conformance to the Rules of Golf;
  • The Glade, the USGA’s outdoor learning landscape that will help to elevate awareness of the USGA’s ongoing work to help make golf more sustainable, with native plants and pollinator habitats;
  • The Grove, a restoration of the ancient longleaf pine forest native to the region, through a unique partnership with North Carolina State University;
  • The USGA Shop, where golfers can purchase various products with the USGA championship logo of their choice as well as exhibit-related specialty items.

Golf House Pinehurst was made possible by a comprehensive economic development effort involving representatives from the North Carolina General Assembly, the Office of the Governor, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Moore County, the Village of Pinehurst and economic development experts. The land on which it is situated was generously provided by Pinehurst Resort & Country Club for a 150-year term.

Independent studies estimate that the total economic impact of the USGA’s long-term presence in Pinehurst, combined with the USGA championships it will bring as a designated anchor site, will exceed $2 billion to the state of North Carolina. The USGA has announced 12 future championships at Pinehurst Resort, including the 2024 U.S. Open (June 13-16) and the return of the back-to-back U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Open in 2029, previously conducted at Pinehurst in 2014.

USGA staffers based in Pinehurst total 70 full-time employees representing Championship Operations, Equipment Standards, Player Development and Green Section teams, among others. They include some of the game’s foremost scientific and golf management experts. The campus is designed to complement, but not replicate, the association’s headquarters in Liberty Corner, N.J.

The USGA Experience and World Golf Hall of Fame will open to the public at 1 p.m. today, and operate from 10 a.m. ET to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. In honor of the Grand Opening, admission is free through the month of June.

William Hill Named Official Wine of the PGA of America and PGA Championship

William Hill Wine Lounge to feature numerous offerings at PGA Championships

FRISCO, Texas ー The PGA of America and William Hill Estate Winery today announced a multi-year partnership appointing William Hill the “Official Wine” and official supplier for both the PGA of America and the PGA Championship through 2026.

Hospitality areas throughout Valhalla Golf Club, site of the 106th PGA Championship, May 13-19, will offer numerous selections from William Hill’s wine offerings. Additionally, spectators can enjoy William Hill’s Estate California Chardonnay at general concession pouring bars.

“We are excited to partner with William Hill Estate Winery and bring their world-renowned wine selections to the PGA Championship,” said PGA of America Senior Director, Global Partnerships Luke Reissman. “The combination of William Hill’s diverse wine selection with Major Championship golf is the perfect pairing, while the William Hill Wine Lounge will undoubtedly be a popular destination for the countless wine consumers who love golf.”

The William Hill Wine Lounge, a branded pouring bar located in PGA Plaza along the fairway of the par-5 10th hole at Valhalla, is the perfect spot for spectators looking to enjoy a refreshing glass of wine without missing any of the golf.

Spectators can order from William Hill’s well-crafted portfolio of wines while relaxing in the lounge area and viewing all of the action taking place inside the ropes. William Hill’s California Chardonnay, California Cabernet Sauvignon and California Sauvignon Blanc will be available.

To further extend the partnership to those who may not be able to make it to Valhalla for this year’s PGA Championship, William Hill is sharing an experience of a lifetime for a lucky fan and a guest to win two tickets and travel to the 2025 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow. Fans can visit for more information and details how to enter.

“The partnership between William Hill Estate Winery and the PGA of America, including the esteemed PGA Championship, is a perfect match,” said GALLO Vice President of Brand Management, Beth Orozco. “William Hill has a long history in golf and is deeply cherished by our consumers, many of whom are avid golfers and enthusiasts of professional sports. As the sport continues to flourish, we’re excited to link our legacy with an organization known for its distinguished history and one of golf’s most prestigious events.”

For nearly 50 years, William Hill Estate Winery has crafted rich and expressive Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietal wines from select vineyards in Napa Valley and the California coast. The collection of wines is rooted in the character of the unique, rolling hills of the 200-acre estate in the heart of the Silverado Bench in Napa Valley.

USGA Partners with Carolinas Golf Community to Expand Greenkeeper Apprenticeship Program

PINEHURST, N.C. – Recognizing a critical need to expand both the workforce of golf course maintenance professionals and the training needed to advance a more sustainable game, the United States Golf Association, the Pinehurst golf community and industry collaborators have teamed to establish a major golf education hub in the Carolinas.

A combined $1 million commitment from the USGA and donors will fund the Greenkeeper Apprenticeship Program (GAP) for the next five years, with dedicated instructors and in-class/on-course education at Sandhills Community College in the Pinehurst area. In addition, a new program at Horry-Georgetown Technical College in the Myrtle Beach area, and a hybrid-learning opportunity will be established and funded. The extensive commitment will provide tuition-free learning for all students – no matter where they learn – for one year and paid on-the-job training positions at partner golf courses for up to 200 apprentices.

The expansion of the USGA initiative is made possible by long-term financial commitments from Ewing Outdoor Supply, the Dedman Foundation and Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, the Carolinas Golf Association and several private donors dedicated to golf and workforce development in the Carolinas.

The program, piloted in 2023 and currently in its second year at Sandhills Community College, offers flexible class times around on-course working hours, and pairs each student with an on-course mentor, intended to advance their professional development. As part of their classwork, apprentices learn valuable technical skills, while also gaining insight into why agronomic decisions are made. After successfully completing the course, students will receive college credentials, a progressive wage scale increase and a Journey worker card through the United States Department of Labor.

“As we look toward the next 25 to 50 years in golf, our Green Section teammates clearly heard the industry’s desire to further develop skill sets of golf course maintenance personnel and the professional training needed to advance a more sustainable sport,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA. “In short order, we’ve seen inspiring success stories from our inaugural GAP class, and couldn’t be more excited with the direction of the program. The overarching impact of all our community programs will be felt not only during U.S. Open week, but for years to come. We’re so thankful to our supporters for their endorsement in leading golf forward together.”

Of the 19 members in the inaugural GAP graduating class, 70 percent earned job promotions, and 18 graduates were assigned increased leadership responsibilities based on successful completion of their classwork. Members from the current cohort and last year’s apprentices will be assisting Pinehurst’s agronomy staff during the preparation and care of Course No. 2 for championship play at the 2024 U.S. Open.

Click here for Greenkeeper Apprenticeship Program pictures

The $1 million giveback project is a continuation of the USGA’s four-pronged U.S. Open Community Engagement commitment that also includes investments in diversity and inclusion, championship sustainability and advocacy related to key issues important to golf’s future.

Continuing its commitment to inclusion, the USGA will again immerse 24 college undergraduate and graduate students from communities underrepresented in golf in all facets of the USGA and the U.S. Open through its 10-day Pathways Internship Program. Created in 2022, the educational experience is supported by foundational sponsor Deloitte, among others, and provides interns with exposure to the many career pathways in golf. The interns’ schedule will include professional development, hands-on learning experiences and networking throughout U.S. Open Championship week.

The USGA will also continue to advance its commitment to a more sustainable future through a Reduce, Renew and Reinvest program throughout the U.S. Open.

Concession areas at Pinehurst will feature recyclable aluminum cups and beverage products, and food containers made from recyclable or recycled materials. Fans can also bring in their own personal reusable water bottles and refill them at any of eight water stations throughout championship week. The USGA and Pinehurst have teamed to install permanent power throughout the championship site, which will reduce use of diesel-powered generators not only in 2024, but in future championships at the historic venue.

The effort builds off the USGA’s ongoing commitment to lead by example in promoting sustainability, and to demonstrate progress as part of the UN Sports for Climate Action framework.  At the 2023 U.S. Open, the USGA quadrupled its recycling collection on-site, reached a near 100-percent reduction of single-use food and beverage plastics, and diverted 2,491 pounds of food to a nearby food kitchen, reducing its organic waste to nearby landfills.

Utilizing the U.S. Open’s international stage, the USGA will also draw attention to investment efforts that are leading golf forward, highlighted by the organization’s water resiliency efforts. Prominently on display on Course No. 2 at this year’s U.S. Open, Pinehurst Resort and Country Club has shown its commitment to reducing resources by eliminating overseeding, reducing the amount of irrigated turf and utilizing general best management practices.

The USGA’s water resilience efforts over a 15-year period are on display at the newly opened Golf House Pinehurst, which features The Glade, an outdoor landscape that will help to elevate awareness of the USGA’s ongoing work to help make golf more sustainable, with native plants and pollinator habitats. Golf House Pinehurst also features subsurface drip throughout the irrigated turf, providing further research opportunities for the emerging technique. The grounds also include two turfgrasses developed through USGA research grants, in addition to the restoration of a historic pine grove (The Grove), a living learning lab and a pollinator garden (The Glade).

These efforts will be accompanied by U.S. Open fan experiences that highlight the USGA’s continued campaign to unify, showcase, govern and advance the game of golf.

PGA of America Golf Professional Scooter Clark Returns to PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship as North Carolina A&T Head Coach

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida — The PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship, presented by Chase, Kohler and ADT, is considered the most culturally significant championship in collegiate golf, and PGA of America Golf Professional Scooter Clark has seen every side of the event’s evolution.

This year, he returns to the PWCC as the North Carolina A&T Men’s and Women’s head golf coach. But Clark’s history with the championship began as a Junior WORKS competitor in 1986, its first year.

What transpired between then and now, the 37th playing of the PWCC, includes being struck by lightning, finding a mentor in Fred Funk, winning 10 PWCC titles at Bethune-Cookman, being named the tournament director, returning as North Carolina A&T head coach and impacting countless lives along the way.

Formerly known as the National Minority College Championship, the event was founded in November 1986. The goal was to elevate the game at minority colleges and universities by providing student-athletes with the opportunity to compete on a championship stage during an era when they were excluded from playing in many collegiate golf events.

Clark’s journey in golf took off in the early ‘80s as a teenager at University of Maryland Golf Course, where his father would drop him off around 6 a.m. and pick him up around 6 p.m. during the summer.

Clark quickly became part of the family at the golf course, picking up life-time mentors in PGA of America Golf Professional Ronnie Scales and eight-time PGA TOUR winner Fred Funk, who was the assistant professional and head coach of the university’s golf team.

Clark learned the game, started playing in junior events and was given his first job in the golf industry at the course. As he got older, Clark learned the ins-and-outs of not only competing, but how to create a meaningful career in the industry, leading to a lifelong impact as a PGA of America Golf Professional.

“I got to sit down and talk with PGA Members and understand the business and all the opportunities that exist,” Clark said. “How to act, how to be professional and how to start a career in the industry.”

From the many mentors in Clark’s life, one was truly lifesaving.

At the age of 17, Clark was struck by lightning. Funk saw it happen through the pro shop window and immediately called an ambulance. Fortunately, the Maryland team physician was finishing on the 18th hole at the same time.

“Between the two of them, they administered CPR and got me somewhat stable to carry me to the golf shop,” Clark said.

Clark was in a coma for 36 hours and his parents were informed he’d have severe physical complications for the rest of his life.

Miraculously, six months later, Clark won his high school state championship—at the same course.

Clark would go on to play college golf, first for Southern University and then for the University of Maryland, competing in the PWCC for both schools. His results in each appearance may not have been memorable, but the championship became a mainstay for the rest of his career.

Clark started the process of becoming a PGA of America Golf Professional in 1996. While working at the University of Maryland Golf Course, Funk, playing on the PGA TOUR at the time, encouraged him to apply for an assistant professional opening at TPC Sawgrass, the location of this week’s PWCC.

From Sawgrass, Clark’s career began to snowball into more opportunities. He was lead to the Acushnet Company then the PGA TOUR, Kemper Sports and then accepted the role of Director of Golf at Bethune-Cookman University in 2010.

For the next six years, he led the men’s and women’s teams to a combined 10 PWCC titles.

In 2018, Clark became the PWCC tournament manager for the PGA of America and then the director of the championship in 2020.

“We are in year 37 of this championship,” Clark said. “Somehow, someway I’ve been a part of this championship for pretty much all of those years, whether it’s been playing in the first three, coming back shortly after to be onsite with Titliest, coming back as a coach, operating the event and now back to coaching again.”

Clark knew from a young age that golf would “be my life’s work.” This week, his legacy at the PWCC continues, back as a coach, a role he uses to make a difference for the student-athletes he leads, just as his mentors did for him.

“I’m able to look right now at the 12 individuals I coach and see the impact, feel their emotions every day,” Clark said. “I’m able to steer people to the same opportunities. I would say this current role fulfills a different part of me.”

In 2024, the mission of the PWCC remains the same, thanks in part to individuals like Scooter Clark, PGA.


Tiger Woods Accepts Special Exemption Into 124th U.S. Open Championship

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. – The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced that three-time U.S. Open champion Tiger Woods has accepted a special exemption into the 124th U.S. Open Championship, which will be contested June 13-16 on Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2, in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C.

Woods, 48, has won the 2000, 2002 and 2008 U.S. Open Championships in addition to 12 other major championships and 82 total PGA Tour victories in his Hall of Fame career. His nine USGA titles, matched only by Bob Jones, include three consecutive U.S. Junior Amateurs (1991-1993) followed by three straight U.S. Amateurs (1994-1996) and an overall USGA match play record of 42-3.

“The U.S. Open, our national championship, is a truly special event for our game and one that has helped define my career,” said Woods. “I’m honored to receive this exemption and could not be more excited for the opportunity to compete in this year’s U.S. Open, especially at Pinehurst, a venue that means so much to the game.”

One of golf’s five Grand Slam winners, Woods’ incredible 15 major championship victories are second all-time to only Jack Nicklaus (18) and include three wins at The Open, four at the PGA Championship and five at the Masters. Most recently, he triumphed at Augusta National in 2019 to bookend an 11-year stretch between major championships. This year will mark Woods’ 23rd U.S. Open appearance, third at Pinehurst and first since 2020 at Winged Foot Golf Club.

“The story of the U.S. Open could not be written without Tiger Woods,” said USGA Chief Championships Officer John Bodenhamer. “From his 15-stroke victory at Pebble Beach in 2000 to his inspiring win on a broken leg at Torrey Pines in 2008, this championship is simply better when Tiger is in the field, and his accomplishments in the game undoubtedly made this an easy decision for our special exemption committee.”

As an amateur, Woods was a member of the 1995 USA Walker Cup Team and 1994 USA World Amateur Team. A seven-time member of the USA Ryder Cup Team, he served as assistant captain for the 2016 Matches, and he has competed in nine Presidents Cups, including as a playing captain in 2019.