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PGA President Jim Remy (left) and his fellow officers were pleased to pose with champion Mike Small for the third time. (Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)

President's Diary: National Championship excitement never gets old

As much as the competitors put into every swing of the club, our National Championship can't help but be thrilling, says PGA of America President Jim Remy. And this year's event in French Lick was obviously no exception.

By PGA of America President Jim Remy

I’ve long said that the PGA Professional National Championship is one of the most dramatic, intense and exciting golf tournaments of every year.  I predicted it for this week and once again, this championship proved me prophetic. Not that it’s tough to do, this tournament always has great storylines -- whether it’s the players who come here or the action on the course. But I have to say, the excitement never gets old. As much as the players put into every shot and every putt -- this is truly one of the great events to see in person or on television. This year was obviously no exception. 

So first of all, I want to congratulate our champion, Mike Small. Winning this national title one time is a phenomenal feat, to do it twice is really incredible. And now three times, including back-to-back? That’s almost ridiculous it’s so good.  And the way, Mike has worked to represent this championship, the PGA of America and even this country as he has played for three of our PGA Cup teams. But not only that, he’s done a superb job as the Head Coach of the University of Illinois Men’s Golf Team. He has won two Big 10 titles, he’s been a Coach of the Year, and he has Scott Langley, who won the NCAA individual title about amonth ago and who many consider the top collegiate player in the country. Mike is obviously a worthy and deserving champion. He’s also a valued and important part of the PGA family. Congratulations to Mike once again.

You know, not every golf tournament you watch changes lives. This however, is definitely one that does just that. Twenty players are now going to the PGA Championship, some for the first time. Consider the job of being a PGA Professional, these guys spend the vast majority of their time wearing so many hats that make golf dreams happen for others -- and now, they will be fulfilling a dream of their own. I can tell you, as a fellow PGA Professional, I am so happy -- thrilled really -- for all of these players and their families.  They’ve represented themselves and our Association in tremendous fashion. Tomorrow, most will be back at work, giving lessons, running tournaments, managing the shop -- but for the past four days, they proved themselves as world-class talents on the golf course.

And speaking of representing this great Association, I’ve had the pleasure of representing The PGA of America and its 28,000 men and women professionals for six years now, the last 19 months as its president. They truly are the backbone and leaders of golf and I do take a great deal of pride in representing people that I admire and enjoy so much. I think that the privilege of being president has reemphasized what I’ve known for a long time. It’s the people of golf, as wonderful as the courses and the venues and the tournaments can be, it’s the people that make this position and even more, this game, as great as it is.

One perk of being president is that at each event, I’m offered an opportunity to have a platform to talk to the staff, the players, the sponsors, the volunteers and the media. My message to each of them has been pretty consistent: “Thank You!”  We couldn’t do any of this without them, and their support of this championship has been tremendous beyond all hopes and expectations. We are grateful and excited to work more with them all in the future. Again, to everyone who attended, as a fan, volunteer, staff personnel, player, caddie, family member, sponsor or just watched on television or online -- thank you. We hoped you enjoyed this week as much as we did.

Next year, we will head to Hershey Resort in Hershey, Pa., for the 44th PGA Professional National Championship. Every one of these championships that I’ve attended has been spectacular, in virtually every way. I expect it to be the same next year as well. But this one, at this amazing place, was my final one as president of The PGA of America -- and it couldn’t have gone better. We had a great tournament, on a great golf course in a great community. How does it get better than that? I guess we’ll find out in Hershey. See you then!
 

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