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PGA of America President Brian Whitcomb (left) spent some of his Thursday talking with GOLF CHANNEL's David Marr III.(Photo: The PGA of America)

Whitcomb Blog: We're off to another great start

By Brian Whitcomb, President of The PGA of America

ROCHESTER, NY -- I have to admit, I get to do some pretty neat things as President of The PGA of America. This morning, I got to add one more great experience to my collection.

At 7:30 a.m., I stood on the first tee -- in the cold, wind, and drizzle -- at Oak Hill Country Club and welcomed players who were beginning their round and their tournament. And though that might not sound so great at first, if you could have seen the hope and excitement and anticipation in their eyes as they made their way to the tee box, you knew you were part of something special.

These are the greatest senior players in the world, the icons and legends of the game, and they were all just so eager to begin pursuit of the 69th Senior PGA Championship. There were smiles and handshakes, but also a sense of great pride and determination. There was no way that a little rain and wind could dampen the spirit I saw this morning as we started play.

Unfortunately, watching those first few groups tee off was the majority of my golf watching today. People ask me quite a bit, what did you think of the golf today? Well, I always love it, what little I get to see. Part of my job, and the job of The PGA of America, is to provide an arena for the greatest players in the world to be tested on the greatest golf courses in the world.

Also, we need to provide great access and entertainment to fans, here on site and watching around the world, and thank them for their support. And then, our job is to get out of the way. And we do. This championship is about celebrating the great players involved. So we have ancillary things that we do while the tournament is going on. Very important things, unfortunately, most not directly related to the play on the course.

For example, I spent considerable time today with our friends at the Japan PGA discussing a number of items, such as educational materials that could help their PGA Professionals. We just had our defending PGA Professional National Champion Chip Sullivan compete at the Japan PGA Championship and he did extremely well. You may have read his blog about the experience.

I also spent some time in the television booth with the GOLF CHANNEL, talking not only about this championship but about the wonderful 28,000 men and women that make up our incredible association. So I have meetings and other duties all morning and afternoon and that simply doesn't leave a lot of time for watching golf. But when I can sneak away for any time, I do; just to watch some of these great players hit a few shots or to lend support to some good friends who are here playing.

And speaking of, to me, some of the most fascinating story lines are the stories regarding our 38 PGA Club Professionals in the field this week. These guys often have to struggle to just find the time to play or practice golf, much less to excel like they do. If I could, I would follow and watch these great players all day.

It is ironic. When I'm a guest of the USGA, the R&A or Augusta National, I get to watch lots of golf. But at our own events, I have to find time to watch the action. But be assured I will, because no matter how often you see these icons of golf play, it never gets old watching the best in the world show off that skills.

The sun has come out, the weather is warming, there have been some incredible performances thus far, some very memorable shots hit -- and this is just day one! You'd better believe I'm happy with the start of this great championship and I know it's only going to get better. See you tomorrow for another great day on the course.

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