LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Several players have been forced to withdraw this week, which created an opportunity for PGA Club Professional Jerry Tucker to gain a spot in the 156-player field. Tucker, from Stuart, Fla., has enjoyed a distinguished playing career. He recently earned the unprecedented distinction of being both the 2010 Player of the Year and the 2010 Senior Player of the Year in the South Florida PGA Section, among the most competitive of the 41 geographical PGA Sections.
Tucker, a PGA Master Professional and teaching professional at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., is now one of the eight members of the South Florida PGA Section in the field here at Valhalla. The others: Mitch Carr, Chris Campbell, Gene Fieger, Ken Martin, Lee Rinker, Ed Sabo and Mike San Filippo.
Before moving to South Florida, Tucker was the longtime PGA head professional at Bellerive Country Club outside St. Louis. Bellerive is the site of the 2013 Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid and the 2018 PGA Championship.
Tucker is no stranger to awards, having been elected to the Gateway PGA Section Hall of Fame. He was named Gateway PGA Teacher of the Year in 1988, Gateway Player of the Year in 1993, Gateway Professional of the Year in 1994 and South Florida PGA Teacher of the Year in 2007.
Tucker has made 11 holes-in-one and set 21 course records, including 10 in South Florida.
HE SAID IT: "There's two main reasons and one of them I have to admit is a little bit being selfish. I want to play golf ... I can't tell you how bad I want to play one good tournament. And what I mean by that is if I were to finish in the top 20 in any Champions Tour event, I could walk away and smile and just be ecstatic and there's just something that's keeping telling me to do that. And the other reason is to try to do whatever I can for anybody who may be feeling down." -- Ken Green, who had his lower right leg amputated after an RV accident in Mississippi in June 2009 that cost the lives of Green's girlfriend, brother and dog, when asked Wednesday why he continues to compete with the use of a prosthetic limb.
Riding in a golf cart, Green will begin play at 2:20 p.m. Thursday on the first tee.
LOOKING BACK AT 2004: Some quick notes about the 2004 Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, the only other time the Championship has been contested at Valhalla Golf Club:
--Winning score by Hale Irwin: 276 (12-under par)
--Low score for the week: 67 (5-under par, by eight players, including Irwin)
--36-hole cut: Fell at 149 (5-over par)
--Total rounds under par for the week: 65
--Total rounds over par for the week: 348
FEATURED PAIRINGS FOR FIRST TWO ROUNDS: Here are some of the notable pairings for the first two rounds of the 72nd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid:
Hal Sutton, Tom Watson, Mark Johnson
Thursday at 8:10 a.m., 1st Tee
Friday at 1:20 p.m, 10th Tee
Jay Haas, Peter Jacobsen, Larry Mize
Thursday at 8:20 a.m., 1st Tee
Friday at 1:30 p.m, 10th Tee
Tom Kite, John Cook, Dave Kendall
Thursday at 8:30 a.m., 1st Tee
Friday at 1:40 p.m, 10th Tee
Mark O'Meara, Sam Torrance, Corey Pavin
Thursday at 8:40 a.m., 1st Tee
Friday at 1:50 p.m, 10th Tee
Fuzzy Zoeller, Denis Watson, Keith Clearwater
Thursday at 9:10 a.m., 1st Tee
Friday at 2:20 p.m, 10th Tee
Tom Lehman, Fred Funk, Kenny Perry
Thursday at 1:10 p.m., 10th Tee
Friday at 8:00 a.m, 1st Tee
Mike Reid, Loren Roberts, Matt Seitz
Thursday at 1:20 p.m., 10th Tee
Friday at 8:10 a.m, 1st Tee
Mark Calcavecchia, Nick Price, David Frost
Thursday at 1:30 p.m., 10th Tee
Friday at 8:20 a.m, 1st Tee
Larry Nelson, John Jacobs, Jeff Sluman
Thursday at 1:40 p.m., 10th Tee
Friday at 8:30 a.m, 1st Tee
Sandy Lyle, Michael Allen, Hale Irwin
Thursday at 1:50 p.m., 10th Tee
Friday at 8:40 a.m, 1st Tee
KITCHENAID REALLY COOKING ON THURSDAY: KitchenAid, presenting sponsor of the Senior PGA Championship, has a busy set of events planned for spectators on Thursday at Valhalla Golf Club.
Spectators can visit the KitchenAid Fairway Club, located adjacent to the 13th green at Valhalla, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., to:
--have their picture taken with the Alfred S. Bourne Championship Trophy (as well as Chef Duff Goldman’s cake replica), and compete in a Closest-to-the-Pin Contest featuring Valhalla's signature 13th hole, on a golf swing simulator to benefit Cook for the Cure.
--see cooking demonstrations featuring chef Mark Mattern, from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
--see a cooking demonstration featuring chef Duff Goldman of "Ace of Cakes," from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
--see a live taping of "Secrets of Bluegrass Chefs" featuring local chef Rod Jones of Rodney's on Broadway
DID YOU KNOW: With The PGA of America celebrating its 95th anniversary in 2011, we are featuring a series of "Did You Know" items throughout the week related to The PGA of America and the Senior PGA Championship presented by Kitchen Aid.
Did You Know ...
--The Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid was played from 1940 to 2000 in the state of Florida, with PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, the venue from 1982 through 2000.
--Eleven golfers have won both the PGA Championship and the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid: Jock Hutchison, Gene Sarazen, Paul Runyan, Chandler Harper, Sam Snead, Julius Boros, Don January, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino and Raymond Floyd.
--Hale Irwin, who won the 2004 Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid at Valhalla Golf Club, holds the all-time Championship record for Most Rounds Shot in the 60s (19). He was also the oldest winner of the Senior PGA Championship since the Champions Tour began -- Irwin was 58 years, 11 months and 31 days when he won at Valhalla in 2004.
--The PGA of America conducts more than 30 tournaments for its members and apprentices.
--There have been 37 Presidents in the history of The PGA of America, from Robert White of the Metropolitan PGA Section (greater New York City area) in 1916-1919 to the current President, Allen Wronowski, PGA director of golf at Hillendale Country Club in Phoenix, Md. (Middle Atlantic PGA Section).