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The Golf Channel will provide many hours of live coverage over the course of the PGA Professional National Championship. (Photo: The PGA of America)

President's Diary: Lot happened before tournament began

In the first edition of his diary from Twin Warriors, PGA of America President Jim Remy talks about everything that went on in advance of Sunday’s first round of play. He also explains why he's on hand as President and not as a competitor.

By Jim Remy, PGA of America President

SANTA ANA PUEBLO, N.M. -- I want to welcome everyone to the 42nd PGA Professional National Championship. This is one of the premier events in golf and one of the most important national championships that any golf professional could hope to win. We are looking forward to a tremendous week of competition, taking care of some association business and having a lot of fun enjoying New Mexico. I hope you stay with us all week to enjoy this exciting event.

We kicked things off on Friday night with the Welcome Reception we had for all the players and their families. There is a great sense of fraternity among these PGA Professionals and, though they are here to compete, to see them in that type of casual and relaxing setting, where camaraderie is so fully evident, it really makes me proud and honored to be a member and to represent this wonderful association.

Last night we had the Champions Dinner, hosted by 2008 Champion Scott Hebert and his wife Laurie. Not only can the man play some great golf, he hosts a great dinner. I hope this year’s winner takes some notes from the Heberts about the best way to plan an evening.

I’ve also had a chance to see a little bit of the Albuquerque area and played in the Pro-Sponsor event yesterday, where I got the opportunity to see the Twin Warriors Golf Club up close. This is my first visit to this part of the country and I could not be more impressed. Wow. And what a great test and a great setting for this championship.  The staff, the volunteers, the fans, everyone has just been so accommodating and helpful. We are very pleased with the venue and reception we’ve been given by everyone.

But today, it’s about getting this great championship started. I know it seems strange to start a championship on a Sunday rather than crowning a winner as is traditional, but our wonderful partners at The Golf Channel have agreed to broadcast 10 hours of this national championship this week (Sunday through Wednesday) on days where there will be no other golf on television.

That’s the kind of promotion and exposure that this championship deserves and it’s exciting to see this come to fruition. What a fantastic way to promote our members and showcase the talent they have for this great game.

And let’s not lose sight of the overall goal here. These are the 312 best PGA Club Professionals in the country and they are playing for 20 spots in the PGA Championship, as well as a $550,000 purse. It takes an enormous amount of talent just to get here, let’s give credit where it’s due.

But keep in mind, these guys are playing for an opportunity to play in a major championship -- the dream of any golfer. So yes, you see some white knuckles out here, at least early in the round, but with the talent these guys have -- they’ll settle down and play well no doubt. I love watching these guys play and wish them all the very best.

One final note. Someone asked me earlier today why I was here as President and not as a competitor. To be honest, when you stand here on the tee and introduce the players, you can’t help but wish it was you standing over the ball and trying to play your way into the PGA Championship. It’s the natural competitiveness in all of us and would certainly be at the top of my wish list. But at age 54, I’m realistic enough to think that might not happen.

But I can tell you this, I will try to qualify in my section’s Senior PGA Professional Championship in Vermont and maybe, just maybe, I’ll be lucky enough to qualify for the Senior PGA Professional National Championship. I don’t know if we’ve ever had an occasion where a sitting President had to award a trophy to himself … but I’d like to be the first.
 

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