The battle for the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy began under dazzling blue skies on Thursday. (Pritchard/The PGA of America)
President's Diary: Play and conditions both outstanding
In the second edition of his diary from Canterbury, PGA of America President Jim Remy discusses his observations from Thursday's first round and looks ahead to the rounds that lie ahead.
By Jim Remy, PGA of America President
BEACHWOOD, Ohio -- The first day of official competition and I'm not sure that the 70th Senior PGA Championship could have gotten off to a better start. The conditions here are simply perfect. From the weather to the fairways and greens to the tremendous support of the fans and volunteers, we are extremely pleased with this championship's opening.
One of the things I always look for at these championships is to make sure that the fans are enjoying themselves. I had a slight concern that after last night's tough loss for the Cavaliers, some in the crowd would be less then cheery. But golf has a tendency to bring out the best in people, and this week at Canterbury certainly seems to be doing that. Watching golf enthusiasts of all ages angling to get a better look at Greg Norman or sharing a smile with Jay Haas, that's pretty special.
The play today was pretty much what I expected -- outstanding. I don't think the average golf fan realizes how challenging a major championship venue can be, but as someone who played this course earlier this week in the Pro-Am, I can tell you this is not a course that most golfers can relate to.
The fairways and greens are in as good a shape as you could ever hope for, but the rough is quite thick, the greens are really fast and the pressure, of course, is intense. It should be noted, the course is also very fair. If you're hitting it well, you can post a good number. (See Scott Hoch and Tom Purtzer at -4.) But it's also unforgiving to the smallest of mistakes. I saw a number of shots that I thought were "okay" that left the player in "less than okay" positions.
Additionally, I almost always make an effort to go watch some of our PGA Club Professionals in the field at these major championships. I really have to stress how impressive it is to see them play in such a venue -- and they didn't get here by luck, they earned their ticket here. For them to be able to play at the highest level of competition while also fulfilling their other duties at golf facilities around the country, it's really amazing and a testament to their dedication.
Believe me, I know what it's like to take care of a shop, serve the members, give lessons, all of the things that make being a PGA Professional one of the more demanding roles around. These guys are able to perform all of their tasks -- and play golf -- in a fashion that really stands out more than I can put into words.
So yes, I am excited about tomorrow and the golf that will be played. I hope the fans in the Cleveland area will continue their support and enthusiasm for this championship. I also hope I see huge galleries this weekend to watch what I am sure will be one of the great finishes in our history. If past performance is indicative of future results, then I'm right to be excited. It certainly was a great day one for us.
On a separate but very important note, I'd like to take a moment and express our heartfelt best wishes to Phil and Amy Mickelson as Amy undergoes her battle with breast cancer. Both Mickelsons are part of the extended PGA of America family. Phil is a PGA Champion (won the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol), has taken part in seven Ryder Cups and even created one of the most thrilling moments in the history of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf when he shot a 59 in 2004.
And every step of the way, Amy has been there as a supporter to her husband, a tireless advocate and partner in their many charitable endeavors and one of the most remarkable ambassadors for golf that we have encountered. On behalf of the 28,000 men and women professionals that make up The PGA of America, and the entire golf world, I want them to they know they are in our thoughts and prayers, as I'm sure they are in yours as well.