PGA President Jim Remy joins Jim Nantz of CBS Sports during the 2009 PGA Championship. (Photo: Pritchard/PGA of America)
PGA President Jim Remy recaps an incredible week
It was one of the most exciting and successful weeks in PGA Championship history, and not just because of the great golf action. PGA President Jim Remy explains why.
By Jim Remy, President of The PGA of America
certainly had some as we started the week and let me tell you, I set a pretty high bar for myself and for everything associated with this championship. And the truth is, we surpassed even the highest of hopes for this week.
Every PGA Championship actually starts years ahead of the first tee shot when a course is selected, business relationships are formed, volunteers are signed up, and committees are organized. What you saw this past week was the culmination of hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of man hours that were put in by an enormously dedicated and talented group.
My role for this week is to serve as the spokesman and biggest advocate for The PGA of America, its programs and initiatives, this championship and most of all, our wonderful 28,000 men and women professionals that make up our association. Things that mean so much might not even get the most media coverage, but are items I think you should know about. Things like the state-of-the-art Learning Centers we had here at Hazeltine that were sponsored by Mercedes-Benz and American Express. They are the first of their kind that I know of at any golf tournament and they were a huge hit. The PGA Professionals that staffed them were tremendous representatives for what the PGA is all about. I know the fans that took part in them would say the same.
There are three other events that happened this week that I want to make note of because it speaks to how fortunate we are in the golf business to work around some of the classiest and most impressive people you could ever hope to meet, and why we all need to work hard to keep golf so special.
On Tuesday night before the PGA Championship, we had our traditional Champions Dinner. It is a small intimate affair that isn't designed for public consumption, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention what a tremendous champion Padraig Harrington has been for the PGA over the last year.
Wednesday night was the Distinguished Service Award. Mr. William Powell is this year's recipient and there is not a more deserving winner and true gentlemen in this game. The PGA of America is very proud and honored to present him with this award.
Also, all week long, children who were accompanied by a paid adult were admitted into this championship for free. Think about the stories and memories the thousands of young kids who came here now have and the love of golf that we hope became a major part of their life. That is a great way to grow the game and it worked to perfection here at Hazeltine. I've never seen more smiles than I saw over the past several days.
And how about the golf? Our partners at TNT have the tagline that "We Know Drama", but I think we at The PGA can claim to know a thing or two about drama as well. That back-nine showdown between Y.E. Yang and Tiger Woods will be one of the most remembered as one of the greatest golf battles in the game. Have you ever seen a crowd of over tens of thousands collectively hold its breath? For two hours? That's what it was like - interrupted by wild cheers and applause after the great shots.
Y.E. Yang showed as much heart and talent today as you could ever hope to find. He will be a tremendous champion for The PGA of America. And that Tiger Woods fellow, I have a feeling we will see him holding the Wanamaker a few more times before it is all said and done. He has been and will be a great champion of the PGA.
Isn't that the beauty of sports? You just never know what's going to happen. You have the no. 1 player in the world playing against the no. 110 player in the world, a guy who has never lost going into the weekend or final round of a major with the lead, and yet, here we are.
And that is why we all do this. Being a part of this week, from the great ceremonies and the enthusiasm of fans to the incredible golf we all witnessed, this is why major championship golf is what it is. When you have 20,000 fans following Tiger Woods - on a Monday practice round!, 3600 volunteers giving of themselves for an entire week, the best staff in all of sports putting this behemoth operation together, well, this is what you get. The fans here, the course, the players and the television and online audience, everything just seemed to work in an ideal way. I hope you enjoyed this 91st PGA Championship. Talk about setting a high bar, what will the 92nd PGA be like? We'll find out next year at Whistling Straits. See you there!