PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – For more than 80 years, The Masters has helped define golf’s greatest champions, including many who wore the Green Jacket following the mentorship and guidance of a PGA Professional.
CBS Sports, in celebration of the PGA of America’s Centennial and in collaboration with Augusta National Golf Club, presents “The Masters: Building a Champion,” Saturday, April 9, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET.
Hosted by Bill Macatee, the program leads into third-round coverage of the 2016 Masters Tournament, blending archival footage and in-depth interviews about PGA Professionals’ dedication to their students, the game and the impact they hold in building golf’s next generation of players.
Among the Champions featured are Claude Harmon, patriarch of one of America’s most celebrated golf families and the last PGA Club Professional to win the Masters (1948).
Featured Masters Champions and their PGA Professional teachers include:
Arnold Palmer and Deacon Palmer. Four-time Masters Champion Arnold Palmer was introduced to golf by his father, Deacon, the PGA Head Professional and superintendent at Latrobe Country Club just outside of Pittsburgh. Palmer’s drive for excellence, fueled by a work ethic reflective of his father, would ultimately be showcased on a world stage at the Masters.
Jack Nicklaus and Jack Grout. Jack Nicklaus, a prodigy from Ohio, and his teacher, Jack Grout, forged the most successful partnership in golf history. As Nicklaus marched to six Masters titles, he maintained his contact with Grout, who had the skill to blend his star pupil’s power and finesse.
Jordan Spieth and Cameron McCormick. Australian Cameron McCormick, a former Texas Tech collegiate golfer, is the fourth internationally-born PGA Teacher of the Year. McCormick, the PGA Director of Instruction at Altus Performance Institute in Dallas, has been Jordan Spieth’s only coach since they first worked together when the now-defending Masters Champion was 12.
Ben Crenshaw and Harvey Penick. The bond between Ben Crenshaw and Harvey Penick, his legendary coach from Austin, Texas, resulted in one of the most memorable chapters in Masters history. In 1995, Crenshaw served as a pall bearer at Penick’s funeral, and days later turned in an emotional, inspirational finish at Augusta National Golf Club, by capturing his second Green Jacket.
Zach Johnson and Mike Bender. Separated by 20 years in age and born 47 miles apart in Iowa, Zach Johnson and his coach, Mike Bender, meshed as if they were brothers. The twosome began working together in 2000, with Johnson having mini-tour experience; and Bender, the PGA Director of Instruction at Mike Bender Golf Academy in Lake Mary, Florida, polishing his student’s game. Seven years later, Johnson donned the Green Jacket.
Angel Cabrera and Charlie Epps. Charlie Epps, the PGA Director of Golf at Longwood Golf Club in Houston, spent over a decade working in Argentina. During that time, he met Angel Cabrera, who was then an 18-year-old caddie. Later, they became playing partners in the Argentine Open. The relationship grew, culminating in 2007, when Cabrera asked for help with his putting. Two years later, Cabrera was a Masters Champion.
Justin Thomas and Mike Thomas. When Justin Thomas of Goshen, Kentucky, steps to the tee in this year’s Masters, he represents a third generation of PGA Professionals in his family. Justin, who beat out Spieth for College Player of the Year honors in 2012, learned the game from his father, Mike, and grandfather, Paul. Mike is the PGA Head Professional at Harmony Landing Country Club outside of Louisville. Paul Thomas served 26 years as the Head Professional at Zanesville (Ohio) Country Club.
“The Masters: Building a Champion” also focuses on the future of the game, highlighting the partnership between PGA Professionals, Augusta National Golf Club and the United States Golf Association in presenting the third annual Drive, Chip & Putt Championship. Boys and girl champions were crowned on Sunday, April 3, in the nationwide competition.