Taking a historic pivot by adapting to the global pandemic, the 104th PGA Annual Meeting was a virtual reality.
Jim Richerson, PGA was elected the 42nd President of the PGA of America at the Association’s 104th Annual Meeting, held online for the first time ever. Richerson, of Scottsdale, Arizona, is Senior Vice President of Operations for Troon®. He succeeds Suzy Whaley, who completed her two-year term as president and is now PGA Honorary President.
Succeeding Richerson as Vice President is John Lindert, PGA, of Grand Ledge, Michigan. Don Rea, PGA, of Gilbert, Arizona, who once umpired over 1,300 Minor League Baseball games, along with Major League Baseball Spring Training, was elected as the new PGA Secretary.
Four PGA Members were named as District Directors on the PGA Board of Directors - John Pillar, Ed Habjan, Greg Neujhar and Jared Barnes, while five Members fulfilled their service on the Board - Tom Henderson, Steve Aloi, David Schneider, Ron Rawls and the first-ever At-Large Director Renee Powell.
In addition, legendary former NBC/Golf Channel Reporter Tim Rosaforte was elected as the 12th PGA Honorary Member, joining an impressive list that includes three Presidents of the United States. Over the past 40 years, Rosaforte has covered 147 major championships and 17 Ryder Cups.
PGA President Jim Richerson is part of a team that is responsible for helping oversee the day-to-day management of Troon’s expanding portfolio, serving 35+ locations and 470+ golf courses, with properties located in more than 40 states and 30 countries.
“Together with the leadership from all 41 PGA Sections, we are committed to prioritizing and elevating the PGA Member, while enhancing our strategies to ensure all 29,000 PGA Professionals are afforded the best education and employment opportunities possible,” said Richerson. “This past year has presented us with many obstacles, but the resilience and leadership of PGA Members helped bring millions of people through this crisis by providing a respite, and an unmatched experience that only golf can deliver. As we head into a new year, our committed focus is to continue to engage our Members and Sections to ensure that our PGA Professionals and Associates have the tools and resources needed to continue leading this game to new heights...every day and everywhere.”
Previously, Richerson was elected as PGA Vice President in 2018. When Richerson was elected PGA Secretary as a member of the Wisconsin PGA Section in 2016, he became the first Wisconsin PGA Member to be elected as a National Officer of the Association.
A member of the PGA Board of Directors from 2013-15, representing District 6, Richerson also served on the Wisconsin PGA Section as an Officer and Board Member. In addition, he was chair of the Wisconsin Education Committee and a Board Member of the Wisconsin State Golf Association. During his term as District 6 Director, Richerson served as chair of the National Properties Committee, as a member of the National Budget and National Investment Committees, and continues as a PGA.com Advisory Board member. He was the recipient of the 2013 and 2016 Wisconsin PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award, the Section’s 2011 Professional Development Award* and the 2012 Bill Strausbaugh Award.
John Lindert, PGA, of Grand Ledge, Michigan, was elected to succeed Richerson as PGA Vice President. A PGA Member for more than 35 years and a 2019 Michigan PGA Section Hall of Fame Inductee, Lindert is the PGA Director of Golf/Chief Operating Officer at The Country Club of Lansing, Michigan. He served on the PGA Board of Directors as District 5 Director from 2016-2018. Lindert was president of the Michigan PGA Section from 2010-11 and has served on four national PGA committees: Governance Task Force chair (2017); Membership (2008-present); Board of Control (2018-20 Chair; 2009-13); and Special Awards (2006-07).
Lindert was honored as the 2009 Michigan PGA Section Golf Professional of the Year and was also the recipient of the Section’s Professional Development Award (2015)*; Player Development Award (2013); Merchandiser of the Year-Private Facilities Award (2010); and Bill Strausbaugh Award (2008).
He has competed five times in the PGA Professional Championship. In addition, Lindert was the Toledo Chapter Stroke Play Champion and competed on the University of Arizona Golf Team.
Don Rea Jr., PGA, was elected to replace Lindert as PGA Secretary. Rea is the Owner and General Manager of Augusta Ranch Golf Club, a public golf course, in Mesa, Arizona, which has been rated the “Best Executive Golf Course in Arizona” by the Arizona Republic and selected as “Host Club of the Year” by the Arizona Women's Golf Association.
A Member of the Southwest PGA Section, Rea served on the PGA of America’s national Board of Directors from 2016-’19. Elected as President of the Southwest PGA Section from 2013-’14, Rea also was a member of the Board of Directors for the Southwest PGA Section, National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) and the Arizona Tourism Alliance. While on the PGA Board of Directors, he chaired the Junior Golf Committee and worked with the Coaching and Player Development, and Community Golf Committees.
Since 2012, Rea has owned Your Course Consulting. In addition, he founded Community Course Rescue Services, LLC in 2017. Rea spent nine years as a Minor League Baseball umpire, ascending to Triple-A. In addition, he umpired several Spring Training Games for Major League Baseball.
Rea was awarded the 2012 Southwest PGA Section Bill Strausbaugh Award and the Section’s 2011 President’s Plaque. He resides with his wife, Karen, in Gilbert, Arizona, and has two children, Don III and Katie.
The PGA Board of Directors is composed of the Association’s President, Vice President and Secretary and 19 Directors. The Directors include representatives from each of the PGA’s 14 districts, three Independent Directors, an At-Large Director and a member of the PGA Tour. New District Directors are elected by their representative PGA Sections.
Four new members of the PGA Board of Directors were sworn in:
District 2: John Pillar, PGA - PGA Director of Golf, The County Club at Woodloch Springs - Hawley, Pennsylvania - (Metropolitan, New Jersey, Philadelphia PGA Sections)
District 4: Ed Habjan, PGA - Head Golf Professional, Green Oaks Country Club - Verona, Pennsylvania - (Central New York, Tri-State, Western New York PGA Sections)
District 8: Greg Neujahr, PGA - Director of Golf at Champions Run - Omaha, Nebraska -
(Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska PGA Sections)
District 9: Jared Barnes, PGA - Head Golf Professional at Cedar Ridge Golf Course - Cedar City, Utah - (Colorado, Rocky Mountain, Utah PGA Sections)
The PGA of America also honored five Outgoing Board of Directors:
District 2: Tom Henderson, PGA - Greenwich, Connecticut
District 4: Steve Aloi, PGA - Cortland, New York
District 8: David Schneider, PGA - Omaha, Nebraska
District 9: Ron Rawls, PGA - Boise, Idaho
At-Large: Renee Powell, PGA/LPGA - East Canton, Ohio
Tim Rosaforte, of Jupiter, Florida, also became the 12th person and first journalist elected as a PGA Honorary Member. The former print and Golf Channel/NBC Reporter was honored for his outstanding contributions to the game of golf. His award-winning coverage from print to television promoted the impact PGA Professionals make in growing the game. Rosaforte retired in December 2019, and has battled early onset Alzheimer’s Disease.
“Myself, my wife and my family were overwhelmed with the news,” said Rosaforte, whose daughter, Molly, is marrying Old Marsh Golf Club PGA Head Professional Mason Colling on Sunday. “We are flattered by the honor from the PGA of America. I have so much respect for the game of golf and the PGA. When I found out from PGA Honorary President Suzy Whaley, I was even more excited.”
Rosaforte was recipient of the 2014 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism. He has won more than 40 writing awards, including a Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA) “Grand Slam” for first-place magazine coverage in features, columns, event coverage and special projects. A former president of the GWAA, Rosaforte has written five books: “The PGA Tour” (1990); “Heartbreak Hill: Anatomy of a Ryder Cup” (1996); “Tiger Woods: The Makings of a Champion” (1997); “World Golf Hall of Fame Yearbook” (with Jaime Diaz, 1998); and “Raising the Bar: The Championship Years of Tiger Woods” (2000).
Rosaforte, who famously scooped the White House press corps in 2013, when then President Barack Obama played a round of golf with Tiger Woods, joins the likes of former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, and Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as Gary Player and Bob Hope as a PGA Honorary Member.
“I don’t see myself in the presence of presidents, which makes the honor even greater,” said Rosaforte. “To know I am the twelfth person in the 104-year history of the PGA of America to become a PGA Honorary Member is just amazing.”
Honorary PGA Members (Year of election)
Thomas Crane, 1962
Hon. Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1967
Gary Player, 1974
Hon. Gerald R. Ford, 1975
Bob Hope, 1982
Lloyd Lambert, 1986
Dennis Walters, 1992
John Jachym, 1994
Hon. George H.W. Bush, 2003
Joe Steranka, 2008
Joe Louis Barrow Sr., 2009
Tim Rosaforte, 2020