PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Henry Smokler, whose nearly 20 years of high-level legal service — 11 in the golf industry — is highlighted by guiding some of the game’s most groundbreaking broadcast and digital media partnerships, has been named General Counsel for the PGA of America.
Smokler, who begins service Oct. 5, will be based in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and will report to PGA Chief Executive Officer Pete Bevacqua. Smokler will be responsible for all legal affairs for one of the world’s largest working sports organizations, including all corporate, strategic, and tactical legal initiatives.
“Henry Smokler brings nearly two decades of legal and business acumen to the PGA of America, along with a passion for the game and a great appreciation for the role the PGA Professional serves as the tangible connection between the game and those who play it,” said Bevacqua. “His extensive experience aligns well with the PGA’s strategic plan to serve our members and grow the game of golf.”
From 2004, to his joining the PGA of America staff, Smokler served in several business and legal roles for the United States Golf Association. Most recently, he served as Managing Director, Broadcast and Digital Media, with responsibility for developing and managing the USGA’s relationships with its broadcast and digital media partners and overseeing the direction of the USGA’s digital platforms. His recent duties included overseeing the integration of FOX Sports as the USGA’s primary broadcast partner.
Prior to that role, Smokler served as the Associate General Counsel of the USGA from 2004 through 2012, with responsibility for corporate, governance, tax and regulatory matters. Smokler began his professional career in 1997 as an associate with Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York City, and later joined Davis & Gilbert, LLP, also of New York, in 2000.
“I’m thrilled to join the PGA of America and lead the legal function,” said Smokler. “The opportunity to put my experience in the golf industry and my love of the game of golf to work as part of the leadership team of this great organization that serves more than 28,000 dedicated PGA Professionals is a true honor.”
A native of Boulder, Colorado, Smokler earned his Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
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