The walking scorers are among the many volunteers who play such a crucial role in making the tournament such a success. (Photo: The PGA of America)
President's Diary: Moving Day on Tuesday? You bet!
In his Tuesday edition of his diary from Twin Warriors, PGA of America President Jim Remy marvels at the diversity of players in contention for the title, and offers his thank-yous to everyone involved in putting on the big event.
By Jim Remy, PGA of America President
SANTA ANA PUEBLO, N.M. -- It is an adjustment to call Tuesday “Moving Day,” but that’s exactly what we had today at this PGA Professional National Championship. But the decision to alter this championship’s schedule to move it to a more television-friendly slot has proven to be a great winner for the players, the fans, The Golf Channel and of course, for us, The PGA of America. I hope you’ve been following on television or here on PGA.com -- this has been one of the most impressive championships I can remember.
There’s a great mix of new names at the top, those who have not been in this position before perhaps and some very strong veteran players who seem to appear on the leaderboard year after year. I watched Mark Sheftic some today, and what a great player he is. He’s carrying a two-shot lead into tomorrow and it’s going to be tough to catch him if he keeps playing like he has been. Stephen Schneiter, a former champion of this event, is right in the mix, tied for second.
There’s just so many great players in contention. Lee Rinker, Chris Starkjohann and Ryan Benzel were all on the last PGA Cup team that won at Reynolds Plantation in 2007, so you know they know how to handle intense pressure. And I’d advise you to keep an eye on Mike Small -- he’s four shots back but he can make a real run at anytime. I can’t wait to watch the action tomorrow. The battle for first will be incredible, but that battle for the top 20 to play in Hazeltine will be a real nail-biter.
People ask me all the time if I root for any particular players. I have many friends out here and some of them play better than others at times, but I’m not inclined to root for -- and I won’t ever root against -- any player; but I will admit to loving a good story.
I saw that Grant Sturgeon, a PGA Professional who works at the famous Oakmont County Club with Head Professional Bob Ford, shot a 79 in the first round. It’s his first PGA Professional National Championship, he could have easily thrown in the towel and said, “I’ll get ‘em next year.”
But no, he comes back, and shoots a 65 in the second round, that included a hole-in-one and then a birdie on his final hole to make the cut on the number. Now he goes out and shoots a 67 today and is currently tied for 15th! What’s the Jimmy Valvano line? “Don’t ever give up!” That’s a great story.
And also today, I want to spend this time saying “thank you” to the people who make this championship possible. This is something that I try to do every championship, but I don’t think we can do it enough. And there’s no way I am going to get every person and group that I should remember, but I’d like to give it a try.
Thank you to:
1.) The Santa Ana Golf Corporation for all their hard work in helping to bring this championship here and the support they’ve provided.
2.) Roger Martinez, the PGA Director of Golf and the entire staff at Twin Warriors and Santa Ana Golf Clubs. They do a tremendous job which is being noticed and commended by virtually all the players.
3.) The Golf Channel. What great partners they have been -- helping us realize a long-time dream of The PGA to televise our national championship live to the country.
4.) The volunteers. We’ve had over 850 volunteers, taking time off and enduring some tough conditions to score groups, look for balls, put up signs, just everything. Without them, this championship can’t happen.
5.) The players. For the efforts and dedication and the way they represent the best of The PGA of America.
6.) The families. They’re support for the players and this championship makes this one of the most enjoyable weeks of the year.
7.) The Sun Country PGA Section. Their efforts for the association, and the way they grow the game in this area has been nothing short of phenomenal.
8.) Albuquerque and the surrounding regions. Everyone has been so friendly, helpful and
supportive. This is my first visit to this area of the country. I doubt it will be my last.
9.) The media who has come here to cover the event. Getting the great stories developing here out to the public is something we all appreciate tremendously.
10.) The staff, officers and directors of The PGA of America. Nobody does it better -- and we’re not done yet.
11.) The fans, who watch here in Santa Ana Pueblo or on TV. We appreciate and value you more than I can express.
I hope I didn’t leave anyone off the list, but I’m sure I did. Any omission is just an honest oversight, but everyone who has contributed to making this such a special week I greatly admire and we all owe a great debt of gratitude. Again, thank you to all.
Oh, and thank you for reading, I hope you’re all as excited about the final round as I am.