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PGA of America Golf Professionals Remember Dr. Charlie Sifford

FRISCO, Texas – Dr. Charlie Sifford will forever be known as the man who broke the color barrier in professional golf. In 1961, he became the first African American to earn membership on the PGA Tour (then run by the PGA of America). That was when the PGA of America also struck down its Caucasian-only clause.

Sifford also became the first Black golfer inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, in 2004, and his legacy influenced countless touring professionals, most notably Tiger Woods, who named his son Charlie in his honor. Sifford also influenced the PGA of America Golf Professional—on the lesson tee, in the pro shop and beyond.

The North Carolina native also received an honorary degree from the University of St Andrews as a Doctor of Laws in 2006 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014 by former president Barack Obama.

At the age of 92, Sifford passed away in 2015. Yet his impact on the game continues to be felt.

As the PGA of America celebrates and honors Black History Month, PGA of America Golf Professionals Renee Powell, Leonard Jones and Kennie Sims reflected on how Sifford’s career motivated their own.

Each has taken notes out of Sifford’s metaphorical yardage book for guidance on how to make golf more accessible.

PGA of America Golf Professional Renee Powell

While Sifford was the first African American member of the PGA Tour, Renee Powell was the first Black woman to become a Member of the PGA of America and the second Black professional to play on the LPGA Tour.

“Knowing the history of Charlie and what he went through in the ‘60s to play on the Tour, I think anyone when they are breaking barriers can always be a role model,” Powell said. “I went to the LPGA Tour in 1967, Charlie was playing on the PGA Tour in 1960, so he was an inspiration. I would talk to Charlie and some of the other African American golf pros and compare notes.”

Powell received the inaugural Charlie Sifford Award in 2022 from the World Golf Hall of Fame, which honors his groundbreaking achievements through perseverance, confidence, respect and adaptability.

PGA of America Golf Professional Leonard Jones

For PGA of America Lifetime Member Leondard Jones of Dallas, Texas, Sifford’s most important lesson was in perseverance.

“Charlie was the type of guy that wouldn’t take no for an answer,” said Jones, the longtime Head Professional at Cedar Crest Golf Course in Dallas. “What he had to go through, which I experienced some myself, I don’t think anybody but him could have done it. He was designated to be the one.”

Jones met Sifford while playing professionally for 12 years, mainly on the United Golf Association (UGA) Tour. In 1986, he became a PGA of America Golf Professional, working as Head Professional of L.B. Houston (now Luna Vista) and Cedar Crest Golf Courses in Dallas.

The Leonard Jones Minority Junior Golf Foundation, which he formed in 1997,  provided access to underprivileged youth to learn, play and work at the two golf courses. He was also instrumental in bringing the First Tee initiative to Dallas at the two facilities he operated.

PGA of America Golf Professional Kennie Sims

Currently the Senior Director of Impact for the PGA of America Reach Foundation, Kennie Sims, PGA, has long been inspired by Sifford’s career.

Sims, a PGA of America Golf Professional since 1998, works to open more doors to the game and the industry through programs such as PGA WORKS. One of the four pillars of the PGA of America REACH foundation, PGA WORKS provides Fellowships, Scholarships and Championships to inspire and engage talent from diverse backgrounds.

“I am honored to be continuing the legacy of Dr. Sifford by working for the PGA of America, the institution he integrated in 1961. I am committed to continuing the work he started by providing equal opportunities for all people, especially those who look like me,” Sims said. “I find great satisfaction in knowing that I am contributing to these programs that align with the challenges Dr. Sifford faced and the courage and bravery he showed. He would be proud of what we are doing.”

Terry Francona named honorary chair of 2024 U.S. Senior Open

Newport Country Club in Rhode Island will host the 44th U.S. Senior Open in June

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. (Feb. 5, 2024) – Terry Francona, who managed Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox to two World Series titles and guided the Cleveland Indians to an American League pennant, has been named honorary chair of the 44th U.S. Senior Open Championship. The United States Golf Association (USGA) will conduct the U.S. Senior Open at Newport (R.I.) Country Club from June 26-30.

“As an avid golfer myself, I am honored to be selected as the honorary chair of this year’s U.S. Senior Open,” said Francona. “When I retired from baseball, one of the things that excited me the most was the opportunity to get on the golf course as often as possible. I’ve been a fan of the sport my whole life and have been lucky enough to form relationships with some of the players on the [PGA] Champions Tour. It will be nice to see some familiar faces while participating in this prestigious event.

“Having spent many happy and successful years in Boston, I know how much the New England community is golf crazy, particularly in the summer. I appreciate the revered place Newport Country Club holds in the history of golf as well as the beauty of the city of Newport.”

Francona, a three-time American League Manager of the Year (2013, 2016, 2022), guided the Red Sox to World Series titles when they swept both the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies in four games in 2004 and 2007, respectively. In that first run to the championship, the Red Sox became the first team in MLB history to rally from an 0-3 deficit in a seven-game series, defeating the rival New York Yankees for the American League Championship. Boston made five playoff appearances in his eight seasons with the organization.

In his 11 seasons with Cleveland, Francona guided his teams to four AL Central Division titles, six playoff appearances and the 2016 World Series, losing a memorable seven-game series to the Chicago Cubs. His managing career began in the Gulf Coast League in the early 1990s, and he worked his way through Class A and AA at the minor-league level before being hired as the Detroit Tigers’ third-base coach. His first MLB managerial stop was with the Philadelphia Phillies from 1997-2000. During his time in Class AA, he led the Birmingham Barons to the 1993 Southern League title and was Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan’s manager the following year.

Francona, who recorded 1,950 victories in 23 seasons as an MLB manager, was selected by the Montreal Expos in the first round of the 1980 MLB Draft following an outstanding collegiate playing career at the University of Arizona, where he helped the Wildcats claim the 1980 College World Series title and was named that year’s Golden Spikes Award recipient for being the top collegiate player. Nicknamed “Tito,” he played for five big-league teams over a nine-year period as an outfielder and first baseman.

“Terry Francona is one of the most accomplished managers in Major League Baseball history and an avid golfer who is a regular participant in charity events,” said Hank Thompson, senior director, U.S. Senior Open Championship. “He will be an excellent ambassador for the U.S. Senior Open and help bring together Rhode Island and the New England region around this coveted national championship.”

In his role, Francona will support the fifth USGA championship to be held at Newport Country Club and the first since 2006. The club is one of the five founding members of the USGA, which was formed on Dec. 22, 1894, and was the site of the inaugural U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open championships in 1895.

Tickets for the 44th U.S. Senior  Open Championship at Newport Country Club are now on sale and available for purchase at this TICKET LINK.

The U.S. Senior Open Championship (ussenioropen.com) is for golfers 50 and older and is open to any professional and any amateur with a Handicap Index® not exceeding 2.4. Major champions Bernhard Langer (2023), Padraig Harrington (2022) and Jim Furyk (2021) have won the previous three championships.

PGA of America Golf Professional Brendan Locke Named To Wisconsin PGA Board of Directors

New At-Large Director is GOLFTEC Franchise Owner who serves on PGA LEAD

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin and FRISCO, Texas – The Wisconsin Section of the PGA of America has selected Brendan Locke, PGA, a Madison native residing in Jackson and owner of four Wisconsin GOLFTEC Instruction and Fitting Centers, to serve as an At-Large Member of the Wisconsin PGA Board of Directors.

Locke, a PGA of America Golf Professional since 2005, joins the Wisconsin PGA Board while serving on PGA LEAD, a PGA of America program committed to diversity in governance and volunteer leadership. Established in 2016, PGA LEAD is the Association’s leadership development program, created to identify, mentor and progress PGA of America Members from diverse backgrounds along a guided path to volunteer leadership roles at the Chapter, Section and National levels of the Association. PGA LEAD also helps Association Members who have a desire to serve and make an impact on nonprofit boards within the communities where they work and live.

“As a member of PGA LEAD and a decorated, accomplished PGA of America Golf Professional, Brendan is the perfect example of the PGA of America bringing a diverse cross section of talented PGA of America Members together as leaders in a host of important positions within the golf industry nationwide,” said Wisconsin PGA President Mark Voeller, PGA. “His role on the Board will help position the Wisconsin PGA for growth and success today and into the future.”

In addition to growing his GOLFTEC instruction and fitting business throughout the region, Locke has enjoyed a rewarding career as a PGA of America Golf Professional, while receiving numerous awards and accolades. Among his biggest accomplishments, Locke was named the 2021 Wisconsin PGA Professional Development Award Recipient, the 2018 Wisconsin PGA Bill Strausbaugh Recipient and the 2012 Wisconsin PGA Teacher of the Year. In addition, he was named to the Golf Digest Top Teachers in America list in  2013-14 and 2017-18.

As part of PGA LEAD, Locke took part in an 18-month leadership-development program that reinforces the PGA of America’s commitment to create a game, workforce and industry supply chain that better mirror America’s demographics. More specifically, the PGA of America is committed to inclusive governance, environments, systems and structures that create the opportunity for all PGA of America Golf Professionals to develop, grow and lead.

“I am honored and grateful to be named to the Wisconsin PGA Board of Directors,” said Locke. “Serving in PGA LEAD has provided me with important professional development experience that is needed to serve the Wisconsin PGA at the highest level and help the Section continue to give back to local communities throughout the state. I look forward to working alongside my fellow board members in helping drive the game and business of golf to new heights.”

 

PGA of America Selects 2nd Swing Golf as Official Equipment Trade-In Partner

FRISCO, Texas & ORLANDO, Fla. — The PGA of America announced 2nd Swing Golf as its Official Equipment Trade-In Partner today at the PGA Show in Orlando, Florida. As part of the collaboration, 2nd Swing will power the PGA of America Value Guide, the industry’s most comprehensive place to sell golf equipment, and offer a comprehensive platform that allows PGA of America Golf Professionals and consumers to maximize the value of their golf equipment.

2nd Swing also will provide opportunities for PGA of America Golf Professionals to earn financial contributions from equipment trade-ins via the PGA Golf Retirement Plus program or the 2nd Swing affiliate program. 2nd Swing’s advanced algorithm considers various factors such as brand, model, condition and demand to provide accurate valuations, ensuring fair transactions for both sellers and buyers.

PGA of America Section offices are also eligible to participate in a dedicated partnership program that offers benefits at the local level. Furthermore, PGA of America Golf Professionals and consumers alike may opt to have their equipment trade-in values go toward supporting PGA REACH, the 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the PGA of America.

“We are thrilled to welcome 2nd Swing to the PGA of America partnership family,” said PGA of America Chief Commercial Officer Jeff Price. “With 2nd Swing’s support, we are able to provide more value and add another tool for our more than 30,000 PGA of America Golf Professional’s efforts to make this game more enjoyable and accessible to the millions of individuals who play.”

At the Home of the PGA of America in Frisco, Texas, 2nd Swing will provide its award winning fitting and club services at the PGA of America Coaching Center powered by T-Mobile. 2nd Swing’s fitting process provides golfers a brand-agnostic, in-depth fitting experience similar to what professionals get each week on Tour. In addition, 2nd Swing will offer club services such as grip changes, lie/loft adjustments and more.

“We are excited to partner with 2nd Swing at the PGA of America Coaching Center at PGA Frisco,” said PGA Master Professional Tim Cusick, PGA of America Head Coach. “2nd Swing’s club fitting philosophy of identifying the equipment that performs best is perfect for golfers of all ages and stages in the golf journey.”

“We are proud to partner with the PGA of America and we thank them for their trust in our ability to operate the new PGA Value Guide,” said Simon Kallal, 2nd Swing CEO. “We feel fortunate and excited to work with one of the finest organizations in golf as we support their 30,000 Members and Associates.”

The PGA Value Guide offers a mobile-friendly website design and the fastest receiving payment times in the industry. “Through our partnership with the PGA of America, 2nd Swing will empower Golf Professionals by providing them additional revenue and income generation sources,” said 2nd Swing VP of Merchandising Ross Fuchs.

USGA’s Davis Grants Top $50 Million In Total Research Investment Since 1983

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. – The United States Golf Association’s Mike Davis Program for Advancing Golf Course Management has funded 15 new research projects to advance turfgrass science in 2024, taking the program’s total investment in golf course sustainability over $50 million since 1983.
Aligning with the USGA’s long-term $30 million commitment to reduce golf’s use of water, more than 50 percent of active Davis Grants are focused on projects intended to drive efficiency, effective measurement, innovation and conservation of water on golf courses. They include multi-year studies on optimizing irrigation techniques, improving drought resistance for common fairway, rough and green turfgrasses, and advancing methods of renovating out-of-play areas to conservation habitat, among others.
Scientists from leading universities across the country, including Rutgers, the University of Florida, Texas A&M, New Mexico State, North Carolina State, Washington State and Kansas State, are conducting the multi-year research, which is helping to provide the game of golf with data-driven tools to improve playing conditions and optimize resource use.
With more than 60 projects in progress, the Davis Program continues to be the largest private turfgrass and environmental research effort in golf, led by the USGA’s Green Section.
“Our Green Section team has some of the brightest minds in golf, and we’re proud to continue forging a sustainable path forward, led by our Davis Program research efforts,” said Matt Pringle, Ph.D., managing director of the USGA Green Section. “As a leader in advancing data-driven and research-based golf course management practices, we work side-by-side with the top universities and institutions across the country.”
Other notable projects receiving funding this year include a pilot effort at Texas A&M University and the University of Tennessee to mine Google course review data to better understand what improves, and detracts from, the golfer experience.
The USGA is also continuing a longstanding collaboration with the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program and the National Turfgrass Federation to provide unbiased turfgrass performance data for end users and to advance federal and allied nonprofit organization funding of turfgrass research.
The resulting management practices born out of Davis Program research have contributed to a 29 percent decrease in golf’s water use since 2005.
In total, the USGA’s investment in course sustainability saves the golf industry an estimated $1.9 billion annually, including:
• $201 million from advancing irrigation with efficiencies in turfgrass water use;
• $529 million from advancing irrigation scheduling with soil-moisture meters;
• $469 million from advancing naturalized rough.
The USGA’s Green Section was formed in 1920 to lead the game’s efforts in improving golf course playing conditions and sustainability through research, education, course consulting, technology tools and championship agronomy. It includes consulting agronomists in each region of the country, providing localized and practical expertise to golf course owners and operators.
Formerly the Turfgrass Environmental Research Program, the initiative was renamed for Mike Davis in 2021 to highlight his continuous impact on the game during his 31 years of service to the USGA, including 10 as executive director/CEO.

PGA of America Announces Programming for Industry Stage Presented by CapTech at 2024 PGA Show

Presentations on growth of the game, coaching and PGA HOPE headline three-day schedule

FRISCO, Texas — The PGA of America Industry Stage presented by CapTech at the 71st PGA Show will offer a full schedule of programming from the PGA of America in collaboration with golf organizations, business leaders and top coaches Jan. 23-26, in Orlando, Fla.

The PGA Show, organized by the PGA of America and PGA Golf Exhibitions, will reunite the golf industry for the 71st edition of golf’s longest running and largest global business gathering. Thousands of PGA of America Golf Professionals, golf leaders, industry executives and retailers from around the world will come together to source new products from more than 1,000 golf and golf lifestyle brands, attend high-level industry presentations, participate in education and career workshops and connect in person with peers and golf leaders to drive continued growth of the sport and business of golf.

The PGA of America Industry Stage, formerly the PGA Forum Stage, was introduced in 2007 by the PGA of America to provide the game’s leaders with an unprecedented opportunity to reach thousands of attending industry professionals on key matters that impact the golf industry.

“The schedule this year for the PGA Industry Stage is filled with incredible individuals who are leading our industry in topics that PGA of America Golf Professionals and other industry professionals will greatly benefit from,” said PGA of America President John Lindert, PGA Director of Golf at the Country Club of Lansing in Lansing, Michigan. “The PGA Show is the perfect place every year to not only network with others, but learn from industry leaders in their respective field. We hope that by making these individuals accessible for discussion you will come away with greater knowledge that will help you improve the game and your business.”

The PGA Industry Stage presented by CapTech is located front and center on the Show Floor within the PGA of America Hub. The Hub will additionally feature several Association program and partner resources, including the Omni PGA Frisco Resort, PGA Coach and PGA REACH, the 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the PGA of America.

2024 PGA of America Industry Stage presented by CapTech Schedule:
*Program details are subject to change.

Wednesday, January 24

Grow the Game the Player

10-11 a.m.

Moderated by Roger Steele – Kemper Sports Community Advisor, #MakeGolfCool & Youth Golf Advocate

Joe Smith, PGA – KemperSports, PGA General Manager, Swenson Park Golf Course

Cameron Dinkins – PGA WORKS Leader

Abby Liebenthal – President & Founder, Fore the Ladies, Inc.

Recruitment & Retention

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

John Easterbrook Jr., PGA – Chief Membership Officer, PGA of America

Dr. Rich Ballinger, PGA – Director, Sam Houston State University PGA Golf Management

Todd Sammons, PGA – Director, Member Education Programming, PGA of America

Kyle Helms, PGA – Director, Accreditation & University Programming, PGA of America

TGL – Technology Driven Team Golf

12-1 p.m.

Andrew Macaulay – CTO, TMRW Sports

Scott Armstrong – VP Competition Technology, TMRW Sports

Roberto Castro – Director, CapTech

Growing Junior Golf – Engaging Customers of Today and Tomorrow

1-1:45 p.m.

Ryan Dailey, PGA – Operation 36 – Co-Founder, GM

Ryan Graff – First Tee – Vice President, Programs

Adam Heieck – Youth on Course – Executive Officer

Steve Tanner – PGA of America – Sr. Director, Player Engagement

Tom Watson – Watson Links – Founder

Moderated by Lauren Thompson – NBC Sports Next Media Personality

GameChanger & Player Engagement Awards

1:45-2:30 p.m.

Moderated by Lauren Thompson – NBC Sports Next Media Personality

We Love this Game, PGA of America Brand Campaign Conversation

3 – 4 p.m.

John Lindert, PGA – PGA of America President, Director of Golf at the Country Club of Lansing

Fahad Zahid – Senior Director, Brand and Digital Marketing, PGA of America

Kristen Herlihy – Head of Marketing, Omaha Productions

Eric Lohman, PGA – General Manager, Monarch Beach Golf Links

David Martin – Founder & President, Catalyst Branding

Moderated by Jeff Price – Chief Commercial Officer, PGA of America

2024 PGA of America National Award Winners

4-4:30 p.m.

Moderated by Brian Crowell, PGA – General Manager, Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point

PGA of America Golf Professional Happy Hour

4:30-5:30 p.m.

U.S. Kids Awards Ceremony

6-7 p.m

Moderated by Brian Crowell, PGA – General Manager, Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point

Thursday, January 25

CapTech Kick-Off

8:45-9 a.m.

Share Your Story

9-9:30 a.m.

Moderated by Kennie Sims, PGA – Senior Director, PGA REACH Impact, PGA of America

Jim Beatty – President, Jim Beatty Golf Ventures, LLC

R. Shawn Summerville- Founder, CEO Ebony Greens, LLC

Stacey Stewart – Founder/Creative Director, aCouture, LLC

Make Golf Your Thing

9:30-10:30 a.m.

Michael Williams

Laura Diaz

2024 Golf Business Trends, Questions & Outlook

10:30-11 a.m.

David Lorentz – Chief Research Officer, National Golf Foundation

Coaching for Success

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Moderated by Will Robins,PGA – CEO, RGX

Joey Anders, PGA – Head Teaching Professional, Brookhaven Country Club

Eric Thielsen, PGA – PGA Director of Instruction, X-Golf Columbus

Jake Hutt, PGA – Co-founder, Chief Golf Officer, Dryvebox

New Golfer Engagement

12-1 p.m.

Adeel Yang – Co-Founder and CEO, Dryvebox

Ryan Engle – Founder and CEO, Golf+ VR

Damian Cosby, PGA – Executive Director, National Links Trust

Roberto Castro – Director, CapTech

PGA HOPE

1-2 p.m.

Kennie Sims, PGA – Senior Director, PGA REACH Impact, PGA of America

Judy Alvarez, PGA, – Director of Instruction, Monarch Country Club

Chris Nowak – PGA HOPE Ambassador

SIRIUS XM Coaches Town Hall

2-3 p.m.

Michael Breed, PGA – Host, A New Breed of Golf

David Leadbetter, PGA – David Leadbetter Golf Academy

Trish Holt, PGA – Head Professional, Fields Ranch at PGA Frisco

Tim Cusick, PGA – Head Coach, PGA of America Coaching Center

Moderated by Debbie Doniger – Director of Instruction, GlenArbor Golf Club & SIRIUSXM PGATOUR Radio Co-Host

Poster Signing

3:-3:30 p.m.

PGA Show Poster Signing with Lee Wybranski, President of Lee Wybranski Art & Design

Pitch Tank

3:30-4:30 p.m.

David Leadbetter, PGA – Founder of Leadbetter Swing Aids and Leadbetter Golf Academies

Kevin Herrington – CEO and Founder of Harrington Enterprises

Mike Locker – Co-founder of Locker Innovations

Derek Locker – Co-founder of Locker Innovations

Carolin Pinegger – Social Media Personality & Golf Entrepreneur

Santiago Mari – Product engineer & business development expert

Jay Adya – Managing Partner, Elysian Park Ventures

Moderated by Hally Leadbetter – Host, Commentator, Producer

Pitch Tank Happy Hour

4:30-5:30 p.m.

Friday, January 27

Leadbetter Coaching Presentation

9-10 a.m.

David Leadbetter, PGA – World renowned PGA Hall of Fame instructor

Santiago Mari – Senior Leadbetter Certified Instructor

Anthony Netto – Founder “Stand Up and Play Foundation”, Inventor of the “Paragolfer-Vertacat”

The PGA Show begins on Jan. 23 with the PGA Show Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Center and moves to the Orange County Convention Center, Jan. 24– 26, for exhibits and a full schedule of industry events. PGA Show details and industry professional registration are available at PGAShow.com.

U.S. National Development Program Launches Junior State Teams

PINEHURST, N.C. – The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced the creation of a state team pilot program that will expand the pipeline for elite junior golfers into the recently created U.S. National Development Program (USNDP). Seven states will participate in the initial phase with the goal of all states having a team by 2033.

The first seven participants are California (Southern), Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Ohio and Tennessee. The program will come to fruition through close collaboration between the USGA, its allied golf associations, the PGA of America and relevant state junior programs.

“This first of its kind state team program will serve as a critical part of the talent identification pathway for the USNDP and provide more opportunities for a diverse population of athletes to receive resources and guidance to compete at the highest levels of the game,” said Heather Daly-Donofrio, USGA managing director, Player Relations and Development. “Additionally, the opportunity to represent their home state will incentivize each region’s best junior golfers to play more in-state competitions, ultimately strengthening the junior golf programming across the country.”

The seven selected states participating in this initial pilot program will each establish a committee consisting of representatives from major golf organizations within the state, including any AGAs and PGA of America Sections. The state committees will oversee team selection criteria and the operation of the state program based on guidelines provided by the USGA. Team selection criteria will vary by state and may consist of a points structure, ranking or combination of other competitive factors. Selection criteria from all seven states will be published prior to the entry deadline of the first counting event of their 2024 championship season.

State team roster sizes will be calculated by elite junior participation in the state, ranging from a maximum of two boys/two girls to 20 boys/20 girls.

To be eligible to compete on a state team in 2024, a player must be a U.S. citizen. Each eligible player must be 13 years old by Jan. 1, 2025, have not reached their 19th birthday by July 19, 2025, and cannot be enrolled in college for the 2024-2025 school year. A Handicap Index® is also required.

State-specific team information can be found at usga.org/USNDP.

Announced in February of 2023, the USNDP is designed to ensure that American golf is the global leader in the game by focusing on six key pillars: talent identification, access to competition, national teams, athlete resources, player development, and relations and athlete financial support. The state team program will focus on creating a developmentally appropriate, aspirational pathway for athletes within each state to compete at higher levels of the game, including an opportunity to represent the United States as a member of the USNDP’s National Team led by former Pepperdine associate head coach Chris Zambri.

“The goal of the USNDP is to strengthen American golf by ensuring that the nation’s vast pool of junior golf talent has the resources necessary to progress in their development and a clear path to the highest levels of competition,” said Zambri, who became head coach of the U.S. National Development Program in November. “The state team program will allow us to leverage the expertise and local knowledge of the regional and state junior golf programs to ensure that all golfers with the appropriate skill have an equitable opportunity to pursue their dreams.”

In his role, Zambri, a former standout at the University of Southern California who qualified for a pair of U.S. Opens, oversees and leads the day-to-day coaching operation, including playing a key role in developing a network of qualified coaches at the regional and state levels to support the USNDP’s mission of identifying and developing American golf talent. Zambri works closely with Senior Player Development Advisor Dr. Beth Brown to create an elite golf program designed to expose athletes to the physical, technical and mental loads required to compete successfully at national and international levels.

The U.S. National Development Program is supported by philanthropic giving and secured resources to fulfill the USGA’s commitment to providing pathways to elite levels of the game, regardless of financial situations. For more, visit usga.org/give_usndp.

 

Judy Rankin Named Recipient of 2024 PGA of America Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism

Rankin to be honored at the ISPS Handa GWAA Dinner in April

FRISCO, Texas ー The PGA of America today named Judy Rankin as the 2024 recipient of the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism. Rankin and her outstanding career will be celebrated in April during the 50th annual ISPS Handa GWAA Dinner in Augusta, Ga.

The PGA of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism recognizes members of the media for their steadfast promotion of golf. Rankin, whose broadcasting career began in 1984, is the 33rd recipient and first woman to receive the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism.

“Judy Rankin is truly an icon in the game of golf,” said PGA of America President John Lindert, Director of Golf at The Country Club of Lansing. “Following a remarkable playing career, Judy has delivered insightful commentary as a broadcaster for nearly four decades. She has made an everlasting impact on the broadcast industry as she paved the way for countless women to follow in her footsteps. On behalf of the PGA of America, I congratulate Judy for an unrivaled broadcasting career and this well deserved recognition.”

Rankin turned professional at 17 years old in 1962 and claimed the first of 26 career LPGA victories at the Corpus Christi Open in 1968. She topped the LPGA Tour’s money list in 1976 and ‘77 while finishing in the top ten on the money list 11 times between 1965-79. Rankin captured LPGA Player of the Year honors in 1976 and ‘77 and the Vare Trophy on three occasions (1973, ‘76, ‘77) for lowest scoring average in a season.

She retired from competition in 1983, and later captained the U.S. Solheim Cup teams to victories in 1996 and ‘98. Rankin’s legendary playing career culminated in her induction into the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame and the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2000.

The Texas native, who splits her time between Midland and Lubbock, embarked on her second career in the game in 1984 when she joined ABC Sports as an on-course commentator. She remains grateful to the network for taking a chance on her.

“I was kind of timid in the beginning and they had patience,” said Rankin. “On-course commentating was very different than it is today. I had the benefit of as on-course commentating found its niche and when the rules changed for how it works, I was there to learn as it grew and I grew.”

Rankin’s rise was unprecedented at the time, as she was the first woman to work full-time on broadcasts of men’s events. This groundbreaking role opened doors for women in the golf broadcasting industry.

“I do take a certain satisfaction that so many women are accepted in golf and men’s golf today and how good they are,” said Rankin. “Karen Stupples, Kay Cockerill, all these people are just really good. Morgan Pressel is doing a nice job in the role that I had. Last but not least, I took Dottie Pepper to work for the first time with ESPN for a U.S. Women’s Amateur because I thought she could do it. It’s nice to know after the fact that you were right.”

Rankin continued to hone her craft as an analyst for ABC and ESPN, learning from numerous colleagues who provided guidance, encouragement and developed into close friends. Longtime ABC commentator Bob Rosburg, a Stanford product who “really knew the English language,” was often a sounding board for Rankin. Meanwhile, Jack Whitaker provided valuable guidance surrounding player interviews.

“Jack was really the person who finally made me a decent interviewer,” said Rankin. “He helped me so much because I got to where I enjoyed interviewing people. I could see the rhyme or reason where you go with your interviews.”

Rankin recalls Whitaker’s reminders to have a first question prepared and then base a follow-up question off the player’s answer.

“It was very good for me to get those little lessons here and there,” said Rankin. “I know over time it made a difference.”

Rankin joined GOLF CHANNEL as the lead analyst for its LPGA Tour live tournament coverage in 2010, a position she held until 2022 when she retired from full-time broadcasting.

Reflecting on her career, Rankin cherishes numerous memories from her time behind the microphone.

She called Annika Sorenstam’s historic 59 from the booth during the 2001 Standard Register PING at Moon Valley Country Club in Phoenix, Ariz. Witnessing players win at Mission Hills was always special due to her history at the famed Rancho Mirage, California Club. Rankin won the Colgate Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle there in 1976.

Experiencing and covering golf in Britain, Scotland and Northern Ireland was an “amazing thing” for Rankin. She had the lead on-course role and followed Tiger Woods for the majority of his first Open Championship win, at St. Andrews in 2000. Rankin also called Jack Nicklaus’s final round at St. Andrews in 2005.

“That was an amazing experience because I knew how much he was respected, but now on that particular day you saw how he was really loved,” said Rankin. “There was a standing ovation at every single hole.”

Rankin expressed appreciation for the talented colleagues she worked with over the years, including Curtis Strange, Andy North, Mike Tirico, Terry Gannon and Grant Boone, as well as past work with Roger Twibell and Jim McKay.

“When you have somebody as good as Mike Tirico and as good as Terry Gannon, they are not just good in their own right, they make you better,” said Rankin. “Whoever is sitting next to me, they make you better. They know what might draw an audience in.

“So many of those people are my great friends. That’s the hard part about retiring is you miss them. There are a lot of laughs in what you do in television also. If you’re with a group where there is a lot of camaraderie, clearly it’s one of the greatest jobs ever.”

Rankin, now 78, worked four events during 2023, including the Solheim Cup, where she reunited with Gannon and longtime friend Juli Inkster. The PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism is her latest accolade following a decorated playing career and an equally impressive tenure in television. For the Hall of Famer, an award in journalism is especially gratifying.

“Quite honestly I am a little overwhelmed that it’s for journalism,” said Rankin. “It really makes me feel good as though I did something slightly more meaningful than just playing a game. I am really honored that they think there was some journalistic value to what I’ve done all these years.”

For information on the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award and to view past winners, visit https://www.pga.org/history/pga-annual-awards

Dom Furore Named Recipient of 2024 PGA of America Lifetime Achievement Award in Photojournalism

FRISCO, Texas (Jan. 9, 2024) ー The PGA of America today named Dom Furore as the fourth recipient of the PGA of America Lifetime Achievement Award in Photojournalism. Furore and his distinguished career will be recognized in April during the 50th annual ISPS Handa GWAA Dinner in Augusta, Ga.

The PGA of America established the Lifetime Achievement Award in Photojournalism to recognize the vital role that photography plays in documenting the rich history of golf and to celebrate the individuals who have promoted the game at the highest level.

“Dom Furore has served as one of our game’s elite photojournalists for over three decades,” said PGA of America President John Lindert, Director of Golf at The Country Club of Lansing. “Dom has demonstrated a spectacular ability to document countless memorable moments inside the ropes and highlight many of golf’s iconic figures off the course. On behalf of the PGA of America, I proudly congratulate Dom on this well-deserved recognition.”

Furore, 64, grew up in Mishawaka, IN, a factory town near South Bend. His journey towards a career in golf photography began in a department store while shopping with his mom, Mary. As Furore’s 12th birthday quickly approached, she asked her son what he’d like as his gift.

In perhaps a stroke of destiny, the two happened to be walking down the photo equipment aisle when a GAF Developing Kit caught Furore’s eye. Already a big fan of chemistry and a self-proclaimed “mad scientist,” Furore asked for the developing set for his birthday, thus beginning his passion for photography.

“I was really fascinated by the whole chemical process and the magic of seeing a print come up in a tray,” said Furore. “I really only started taking pictures so I had film to develop. But after a while I realized, it’s kind of fun to take pictures too.”

Furore’s interest in photography continued to evolve throughout his teen years. He worked for his high school newspaper and yearbook before deciding he wanted to become a magazine photographer. He attended Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, CA where he majored in industrial and scientific photography, specializing in high-speed imaging.

“I really loved it because I grew up around and worked in factories,” said Furore. “I loved all of that mechanical stuff and I liked taking pictures of it.”

Following graduation, Furore embarked on a career in editorial photography and moved to Connecticut and New York to begin freelancing. An employee at a local photography lab encouraged him to pursue an open position with Golf Digest. Furore went through the interview process, which included a discussion with 2023 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Photojournalism recipient, Stephen Szurlej. He officially began his tenure with Golf Digest in 1986.

In addition to covering golf’s major championships, tournaments and golf courses for Golf Digest and its sister weekly publication, Golf World Magazine, Furore was often tasked with shooting many of the game’s stars away from the course. These assignments took him across the world from Russia on a fishing trip with Jack Nicklaus and his sons, a 10-day trip to Thailand with Tida Woods and to Rwanda with Betsy King, who sponsored villages in need.

“I’ve been to so many places,” said Furore. “The career I imagined has grown into an amazing adventure.”

Furore soon took an interest in shooting golf courses at night, an uncommon task at the time. Inspired by renowned photographer O. Winston Link, who shot night photos of steam trains with giant flash bulbs, Furore decided to shoot Cypress Point as his homage to Link.

He talked longtime golf journalist Jim Moriarty into helping him, and the two went to Cypress during the evening while covering a major championship at nearby Pebble Beach.

The two communicated via walkie talkies with Furore instructing Moriarty, who was stationed on a hill, when to push the button to make the camera open.

“You open the shutter and walk around with a flash and keep popping it off,” said Furore. “I think I had over 1,000 flashes popped off to get that one picture. I’d be lighting up trees and I’d ask Jim ‘what do you think?’ It took us a couple of nights to get it right. It was literally one camera, one piece of film.”

Furore eventually captured an iconic photo, which later won Life Magazine’s prestigious Alfred Eisenstaedt Award.

Those nights at Cypress Point were just one instance when Furore embraced the challenge of a complicated shoot. These types of assignments fueled his deep passion for photography.

“I enjoy taking technically challenging photographs that my photographer friends know are really difficult to do,” said Furore. “It’s satisfying when they ask “How did you do that?” Photographic problem solving has always been fun for me.”

Furore’s career will forever be tied to one of golf’s greatest legends, Tiger Woods. He started working with Woods in 1992 when the young star was 16 years old. Former Golf Digest design director Nick Didio requested that Furore travel to California to photograph Woods. Furore was tasked with shooting a swing sequence using a Hulcher high-speed film camera as well as some casual pictures. That swing sequence turned out to be the first sequence of Woods ever published in Golf Digest and it has appeared in the magazine several times since.

Furore originally planned to shoot Woods running, but back discomfort caused the two to change their plans. Furore pivoted to shoot pictures of Woods with his dog in front of the family home and a portrait of Tiger and his father, Earl.

“Those are two of my favorite photos of Tiger,” said Furore. “When I returned to the Golf Digest office I said “he hits it a mile, but he’s already got back problems. I don’t think he’s going to last.”

Over the next several decades, Furore worked closely with Woods on countless instruction articles for Golf Digest. He also photographed Woods for his instruction book and spent time with Tiger and Earl at inner city outings for his foundation. Furore traveled to Vietnam to photograph the family of Tiger’s namesake, Col. Tiger Phong. Additional assignments with Woods over the years included his official portrait with his major trophies, his wedding, and his family portrait when son, Charlie, was born.

For Furore, it’s been an incredible ride following a generational talent on and off the course.

“It all went way too fast, his dominance was incredible with no end in sight,” said Furore. “It ended way too soon. Looking back on it I probably took it for granted, but I’ve always remembered and seen him as that teenager I knew before all the fame.”

Furore joins past winners Stephen Szurlej (2023), David Cannon (2022) and Leonard Kamsler (2020) as recipients of the PGA of America’s Lifetime Achievement in Photojournalism Award.

Kamsler was a mentor to Furore, which makes this recognition extra meaningful.

“I loved the guy,” said Furore. “Leonard was like one of my cool uncles. He was like that to a lot of fellow golf photographers. We all called him the dean of golf photographers. When the PGA of America decided to give him the first Lifetime Achievement Award in Photojournalism, we would have all been perfectly fine if he was the only one who ever received it, because we all felt it was created for him. This award will forever be tied to Leonard and his inspiring talent, enthusiasm and mentorship. That really means a lot to me.”

 

TGR FOUNDATION CEO SHARES 2023 YEAR IN REVIEW

Foundation

As I reflect on my first six months as TGR Foundation’s CEO, I am energized by the incredible impact the organization made in 2023 and excited about our plans for 2024 and beyond. I’m especially thankful for our board of governors, executive leadership, team members and community of donors and partners whose dedication to empowering students to pursue their passions through education makes the important work we do possible. 

It was exciting to see the TGR Learning Lab Anahiem in action serving more than 5,000 students in 2023. Our school day, after-school and summer programs helped youth connect their passions to career interests. New multimedia courses facilitated in the Find Your Grind Multimedia Studio were especially popular. Our team also hosted numerous community activities including the Empowered Health Wellness Fair in partnership with Providence and Promise to Talk. 

Through an alliance with Providence, Anaheim Union High School District and the North Orange County Regional Occupation Program, we launched new career-connected learning opportunities for high school students this fall. The Community Health Academy and Healthcare Career Explorer Field Trip provided students with an interest in healthcare careers and unique educational experiences with Providence professionals. The success of the new opportunities was highlighted by student feedback in which 98% of participants gained a deeper understanding of healthcare careers and 91% felt the activities supported their career goals.  

Our partnership with the Department of Defense Stem continued providing collaborative opportunities to support students and educators through two exciting new initiatives. The first bi-annual Pathways to College and Careers Conference was held at the Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. The event brought military-connected students and families together with educational institutions and speakers to help them prepare for life after high school. Our inaugural Educator Symposium educators across Southern California in a day of free, interactive workshops, professional learning and resources.  

2023 also was an incredible year for TGR Live, which executed six amazing events, including the recently completed Hero World Challenge where our founder, Tiger Woods, returned to competitive golf. During the tournament, we were able to highlight several of our students on the national television broadcast, including Sammy Mohammed. 

In 5th grade, Sammy began attending programs at the TGR Learning Lab where he connected his passion for computer science to tangible skills and career opportunities. He was later accepted into our Earl Woods Scholar Program and continued to receive comprehensive support while earning his undergraduate degree from Stanford, including mentorship by Tiger himself. Sammy is now a software engineer at Google and is paying his experience forward as an Earl Woods Scholar Program mentor. 

The future of TGR Foundation is incredibly bright and 2024 is already shaping up to be another remarkable year. We will continue expanding our programs at the TGR Learning Lab Anaheim while also laying the groundwork for new TGR Learning Labs in Philadelphia, PA, and Los Angeles, CA, in 2025 and 2026, respectively. I am both excited and honored to be leading our mission-driven expansion efforts to provide more youth from under-resourced communities equitable access to educational opportunities and resources. 

Thank you for being a champion for youth!