PGA of American President Jim Remy (left) took in part of Friday's action with Past PGA President Gary Schaal. (Pritchard/The PGA of America)
President's Diary: Add this to Cleveland's list of champs
In the third edition of his diary from Canterbury, PGA of America President Jim Remy adds his perspective on the Senior PGA Championship’s presence in Cleveland and looks ahead to the weekend.
By Jim Remy, PGA of America President
BEACHWOOD, Ohio -- What's the old Mark Twain quote?, "Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it." Well, here in Cleveland, we are talking a little bit about the weather and hoping no one does anything to change it. That, among a number of things this week, has been near perfect.
Our tournaments department, led by Kerry Haigh, has once again proven itself to be the best in the business. The course is a fair but challenging test to some of the best players in the world. It is exactly like a major championship should be. I think the scores reflect how a major championship should play. So "thank you" to a number of people who made this possible, and Mother Nature who has been incredible for us as well.
It's good to see Scott Hoch, Tom Purtzer and Ross Drummond among others, have such strong runs so far -- I hope their good play lasts through the weekend. But I want to make a special note about Chris Starkjohann. Chris has been a big part of many PGA of America events, including that incredible win at the PGA Cup in 2007. He's a great club professional, a distinguished teacher of the game. But when he comes to these events, he's a wonderful player.
He gets in as a last-minute alternate, he didn't even get the benefit of a full practice round, and yet he goes out and shoots 71-68. Chris is a great example of our membership that can wear different hats and still play this game at the highest level. Way to go, Chris. We'll all be rooting for you (and all the club professionals who made the cut) throughout the weekend.
One other note: There is obviously a good deal of buzz today in Cleveland -- and even on the golf course -- about tonight’s basketball game. I've read that Cleveland has not had a championship to celebrate since 1964, the last year that the Cleveland Browns won the NFL Championship. Well, that got me thinking, and not to disagree with my friends in the Cleveland area, but I disagree with that sentiment. Cleveland can -- and should -- celebrate this championship.
Just in sheer dollars, there is an enormous amount of money brought into the city via spectators, hotel rooms, restaurants, rental car services, etc. But even more, we provided 24 local charities with contributions through the PGA Foundation, we had a First Tee program this past Monday that had 150 children taking part in a golf clinic conducted by 30 PGA Professionals from the Northern Ohio section -- professionals who came out at their own expense to share this great game, and Dennis Walters -- who won our Distinguished Service Award -- who put on a great show for everyone that I know they will be talking about for a long time to come. So no, it may not count in the same way a Browns or Cavaliers championship might, but you can't just discount it, either. Besides, I feel good about the Cavs tonight.
I also feel good about this weekend here at Canterbury. I know golf is 18 holes, but I could just sit and watch the final three holes and feel pretty satisfied that I had a complete golf experience. They may be the three strongest finishing holes in golf. Imagine, a 600-yard par 5, followed by a 240-yard par 3 and then a finishing 440-yard, uphill par 4 -- with a small, well-protected green to boot. Show me the player who plays those holes the best this weekend, and I think you'll be able to point out your champion.
I hope that the fans who have tickets for this weekend, and the viewers from around the world on television, are ready for an exciting final two rounds. I know I am. Hope to see you here.