I am here at the 35th Junior PGA Championship at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind. From the drive into the clubhouse, it is easy to tell you are somewhere very special. I was able to ride all 18-holes yesterday afternoon and I can not tell you how impressed I was, not only with the Jack Nicklaus-designed layout, but the condition of the golf course.
Golf Course Superintendent Jeff Geller and his staff are to be highly complimented for the pristine condition under some very challenging weather conditions that Indiana has endured this year.
This Championship has the feel of one of our major championships, with flags from all the home states of the contestants along with PGA banners, lockers with players name tags, starting and scoring areas and rules officials that have covered the Ryder Cup, Senior PGA and PGA Championship, and other major events. I have already had numerous comments from contestants that this is the finest junior competition they have ever played in!!
Last night we kicked off the Championship with a very memorable event. PGA Professional Jack Barber MC'd the opening with both PGA Professional Tim Frazier and I both speaking. However, the highlight for everyone in attendance was our guest speaker, LPGA Hall of Famer, Annika Sorenstam. Her words were not only inspirational and motivational to our junior contestants, but to everyone in attendance.
I was able to greet the junior boys this morning on the first tee and I will greet the junior girls tomorrow morning. Justin Thomas just finished with 65 as I write this - great playing!
I am proud to not only serve as the Chairman of this Championship, but serve it as a PGA Member. More tomorrow, but now back to the course to watch some of the greatest juniors in the world!