Saturday afternoon's Youth Clinic is one of the many events and activities that make Championship Week special for players and golf fans alike (Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)
President's Diary: Week is well worth the wait
PGA of America President Jim Remy has been counting down the days to this event since his first visit to French Lick Resort in 2008. But golf, he stresses, is only part of the reason why he believes this week will be so special.
By Jim Remy, PGA of America President
FRENCH LICK, Ind. -- For a year and half, after my initial visit to French Lick Resort, I have been anxious for this championship week. If you are a fan of a beautiful setting, two amazing championship golf courses, some of the finest staff and volunteers and oh by the way, 312 of the most talented golfers in the nation -- there is no better place to be.
This is my sixth PGA Professional National Championship and I can sincerely tell you that this is truly one of my favorite events in golf. On many levels, this looks very similar to all the other great PGA Championship events. You have the ropes, immaculately conditioned courses, a full staff and set of volunteers and media from all over the country including The Golf Channel, which will be televising all four rounds of the championship.
But a little closer look shows what makes this event so amazing and compelling. The stories that each of these competitors bring, hopefully many of which you’ll learn via The Golf Channel telecast and PGA.com, are some of the most powerful and awesome testimonials to grit, determination and sheer golf moxie.
But it’s more than just the golf. On Saturday morning, I played in the sponsor pro-am with former champion Ron Philo, Peter Broome from Titleist and Fred Palmer from Club Car. Anyone who plays golf understands the value of being on a beautiful golf course with good friends and business partners; this was no exception. It was a great feeling to hear how they, and everyone, have raved about the conditions and the people here at French Lick.
Saturday afternoon was our Youth Clinic with great PGA Professionals from the Indiana Section and two former champions, Scott Herbert and Tim Thelen. And then on Saturday night, we had our traditional Champions Dinner. So it’s not just about the golf that makes this so special, it’s the tradition, the relationships and camaraderie and the promotion of this great game that makes this week so amazing.
But let’s be sure to give the golf its due. These players are not just playing because it’s a great golf course. The winner will receive a nice winner’s check, an exemption into six PGA Tour events and will lead a contingent of 20 PGA Professionals into the PGA Championship, which will be held later this summer at Whistling Straits. In fact, the playoff that we invariably have every year for the final few spots of that 20 could arguably be the most intense and dramatic golf of the year in any event.
So by the end of the day Wednesday, when a champion is crowned and 20 PGA Professionals know they will be competing in the season’s final major championship, the PGA Championship, I know that we will be able to look back at one of the most successful and enjoyable weeks of the year. That’s more than just a goal, it’s a promise. I hope you’ll all stay tuned to the action all week. It’s going to be great.