FRENCH LICK, IN – The first woman ever elected to serve as an Officer of the PGA of America, PGA Vice President Suzy Whaley, has received a sponsor exemption to participate in the upcoming Senior LPGA Championship presented by Old National Bank.
Whaley will join the 81-player field, which includes five World Golf Hall of Fame members - Laura Davies, Patty Sheehan, Hollis Stacy, Betsy King and Pat Bradley - along with an additional 19 LPGA Tour major champions.
"It is an honor and privilege to receive an exemption into the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship," said Whaley. "This Championship celebrates many legends of the game and the contributions that they have made to the future of women's golf worldwide. It is with great pride that I represent PGA Members in what is anticipated to be a Championship that will build in the coming years."
Whaley served as a member of the PGA Board of Directors from 2011-2013 before serving two years as PGA Secretary. She then became the Association’s Vice President in 2016.
Prior to joining the PGA board, Whaley worked as one of the country’s top instructors learning under teaching legend Jim Flick, and was the Head Golf Professional at Blue Fox Run in Avon, Connecticut, in 2002. From 2004-06, she also worked as an LPGA golf commentator for ESPN.
In 2003, Whaley made history at the Greater Hartford Open, becoming the first woman since Babe Zaharias in 1945 to qualify for a PGA Tour event.
Great shoot today doing two things I love, photography and golf and got to meet Suzy Whaley, the first woman to qualify for a PGA Tour event pic.twitter.com/rmSncFU8Km— Robert Bruschini (@RobertBruschini) June 5, 2017
This occurred after Whaley became the first PGA of America woman professional to win the Connecticut PGA Section Championship.
In addition to Whaley, French Lick Resort has also extended a sponsor exemption to Lisa DePaulo, the winner of the 2007 Teaching and Club Professional Championship. Following 12 trips through Q school before playing on the LPGA Tour, Depaulo found her calling in sales by starting her own company, Tournament Treasures, which has served the golf industry as well as former President George W. Bush, with specialty golf items and event gifts.
The first major for former LPGA stars will take place next week on the Pete Dye Course at the French Lick Resort in French Lick, Indiana from Monday, July 10 through Wednesday, July 12. The total purse is $600,000 and all three rounds will be televised on Golf Channel. Proceeds from the Senior LPGA Championship will directly benefit the kids at Riley Hospital for Children through the Riley Children’s Foundation.