PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The Professional Golfers' Association of America was born in New York City on April 10, 1916, but its showcase event -- the PGA Championship -- was launched on the world sports stage six months later and some 30 miles north, at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, N.Y.
The PGA of America will commemorate the inaugural PGA Championship, won by Jim Barnes, in a special "The PGA Championship 90 Years Later," media event at Siwanoy Country Club, Friday, Aug. 11.
PGA Vice President Brian Whitcomb will serve as master of ceremonies at a gathering that will feature four Metropolitan PGA Professionals who earned berths in next week's 88th PGA Championship field at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club. The foursome consists of reigning PGA Professional National Champion Ron Philo Jr. of Metropolis Country Club in White Plains, N.Y., Greg Bisconti of The St. Andrew's Golf Club in Hastings On Hudson, N.Y., Mark Brown of Tam O'Shanter Country Club in Brookville, N.Y., and Craig Thomas of The Muttontown Club in East Norwich, N.Y.
That foursome is among the 20 PGA Professionals who played their way into the 88th PGA Championship field, based on their performance in June at the 39th PGA Professional national Championship.
Siwanoy Country Club, a Donald Ross design that opened for play in 1901, played host to the inaugural PGA Championship, Oct. 9-14, 1916. Jim Barnes, a native of Cornwall, England, became the first to capture the Wanamaker Trophy, after a 1-up victory over native Scotsman Jock Hutchison on the 36th hole.
On his way to winning the major championship, Barnes defeated then-Siwanoy head professional Tom Kerrigan, 3 and 1, in the semifinals. Kerrigan, who served 50 years as Siwanoy's head professional, was a vice president of the Metropolitan PGA Section, which was one of The PGA's original Sections.
"The PGA of America takes great pride in commemorating the inaugural PGA Championship, the birth of a major that has truly become such a large part of this country's golf history," said PGA of America President Roger Warren. "As our member professionals compete in the PGA Championship at Medinah, we are reminded in our 90th anniversary year of the great tradition that began at Siwanoy Country Club when Jim Barnes marched to victory."
Celebrating its 90th anniversary, The PGA of America was founded in 1916, and is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the game of golf while continuing to enhance the standards of the profession. The Association is comprised of more than 28,000 men and women PGA Professionals who are dedicated to growing participation in the game of golf.
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